Behind the scenes with a cookbook editor

Cookbooks

Have you ever come across a cookbook that made you think "wow, someone was brave to take a chance on this book"? Then you'll love reading about cookbook editor Rux Martin of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She specializes in cookbooks, narrative nonfiction on food, and diet books, and has worked with storied authors like Dorie Greenspan, Mollie Katzen, Jacques Pépin, and Ruth Reichl. Martin has edited several best-selling cookbooks including Hello, Cupcake! and Around My French Table  as well as quirky tomes like The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert. Food writer Dianne Jacob provides an enlightening interview with Martin, where she dishes about about the cookbook market and trends, the importance of great photography, and how food blogging has changed the industry.

In addition to discussing trends in cookbooks (one of which is eclectic artwork), Martin provides advice for would-be authors. Prospective authors should realize that "there is a hugely shrinking space at all of the major retailers, that independent booksellers are still going out of business, that more cookbooks are being sold every day, and that in big box stores, they give less and less space to cookbooks." This means fierce competition as publishers fight over shrinking shelf space in bookstores.

When asked about what was new in the realm of recipe writing, Martin responded with an interesting perspective: "The world of the bloggers has perhaps resulted in more borrowing of recipes. In the past they would be considered stolen. You're supposed to be doing genuinely original work, giving full attribution as to how your recipe came into being. If you used a crust from so and so and a filling from so and so and put them together, and you say so, that's honest."

Read the full article to find out more, including how food bloggers have changed the cookbook industry.

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