Cookery/wild food book

by Leanne Townsend
8th March 2021

Hi all,

I am a wild food specialist with a growing profile, running courses and doing food writing, creating content for others etc. My goal is to write a book on foraging and wild food, focusing on its use in the kitchen and home bar (sections on creating dishes, preserving wild food, and creating wild cocktails). I am trying to research how to go about this - some people/sources suggest I need to write a lot of the book, others suggest only a synopsis. I don't know how to find an agent or the right publisher. Wild food is seasonal so the content and photography needs to be put together over an entire year. I have a great deal of recipes already (on my website but mostly on my Instagram feed) but want to create original recipes for the book. Any pointers would be hugely appreciated. I think it's the genre (Food and Drink) that is making this so hard to research. 

Thanks,

Leanne

(instagram: @wildfoodstory / website: www.wildfoodstories.co.uk)

Areas of interest

Replies

Hi Leanne,

This sounds like a great project and we can definitely give you some advice that will hopefully steer you in the right direction.

As Food & Drink still falls under the non-fiction branch, your safest bet is to pull together a Chapter Outline, Covering Letter, and Sample chapters. This is usually what literary agents will request you send to them.

While there's nothing stopping you from writing the full book before submitting, please do know that this isn't always necessary. A lot of agents do actually sell their client's work to publishers on proposal alone; this is something that is very common within non-fiction.

You will need to produce a covering letter, introducing yourself and your project, and also the proposal, which should include the following info:

• What your book is about and why it needs to be written.
• Where it sits in the market, with reference to other similar or competing titles.
• Why you are well-placed to write the book, with reference to your background and any credentials or professional expertise you may have. For example, including your website and instagram page - showing the number of followers you have is so useful to show agents that you already have a keen audience for your work.
• A chapter outline, with a paragraph or two explaining what will be addressed in each chapter. We have advice here on what a chapter outline should look like: https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/editing-services/document-guides#se…

Agents will definitely want to see a sample of your writing and most agencies usually prefer for you to send the introductory chapter to your book (if you've written this)

In terms of finding an agent, look at some of your favourite Food & Drink books/cookbooks. Look in the acknowledgements and see who they are represented by. Agents are usually always mentioned in the Acknowledgements and this will give you an idea of the right agent for your work.

All agency websites do have clear guidelines on how to submit your non-fiction work to them, and most agents will also include a lengthy bio about themselves, what they're looking for, who they represent already etc.

For example, here are example profiles of agents who represent Food & Drink books. You can see that they mention they're looking for writers in this area, and you can also browse their client list to see who they already have on their books who you think your own project would sit nicely next to.
http://blakefriedmann.co.uk/juliet-pickering
https://www.davidhigham.co.uk/agents-dh/nicola-chang/

I hope this helps and best of luck!
Clare

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19/03/2021