Thursday, March 15, 2012

Who's Writing Your Cookbook?

Who writes cookbooks?  Chefs ? Celebrities? Well yes, if you believe the cover however you can't judge a book even one about cooking by its' cover. There's a lucrative little business out there, all you freelance writers and foodies.It';s called ghostwriting  recipe books,

This was the subject of Julia Moskin's article in yesterday's New York Times Dining section. it seems all those celebrity and chef books were not really written by Gwyneth and Bobby.  They might have given the researcher the recipes but the rest of the book, including the research was done by a nondescript hack looking to make a few bucks.Most of the kitchen stars do give their "helpers" credit as did Daniel Bouulud , the great baker who credited his collaborator. Ms Moskin herself was a former ghost writer on many cookbooks. To be honest it is hard compiling a slew of recipes that include everything from appetizers to desserts. It also has to have anecdotes as well to make it salable.

Is cookbook ghostwriting for everyone?Like any ghostwriting it can be frustrating and demanding. Some chefs can be divas as the author will attest to, as in the case of the Mexican chef. he had wanted Ms. Moskin to write about poultry  - with out any details. Then there was the barbecue maven who just sent the Wikipedia link for chicken no other details either,Sadly enough ghostwriting pay is low for recipe books with most writers receiving a flat fee and no residuals. However if a writer is a foodie and vice versa it is a good entryway into the publishing world.

Everyone thinks that celebrities and chefs are homey by penning their own cookbooks. Think again. There's probably a ghost writer behind them , tweaking their recipes and making their forays into the publishing world palatable

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