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Dianne Jacob dishes on everything from food blogs to making it as a writer

Dianne Jacob is the food writer all other food writers turn to for help.

By Rebekah Denn / September 28, 2010

Dianne Jacob writes a blog that "smartly dissects the burning issues of the day."

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Aspiring writers in most genres have countless comprehensive advice books to help them out. For food writers, there's really just one: Dianne Jacob's Will Write For Food.” Even established writers track Jacob for ongoing advice and for a blog that smartly dissects the burning (no pun intended) issues of the day: What editors are looking for in cookbook proposals, whether food writers should be paid for their recipes, common recipe-writing errors.

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In Jacob’s new edition of “Will Write for Food”, though, it’s clear that the menu for successful food writing has dramatically changed.

In the book's first edition in 2005, superstar Anthony Bourdain contributed a glowing cover blurb. In the new edition, blurbs from Bourdain and other prominent authors, chefs, and editors are inside. The cover spot went instead to blogger Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman,” who wrote that, “I wish I’d read Dianne’s book before I started a tiny little food blog on a whim years ago.”

Drummond’s “tiny little blog” now, of course, draws some 13 million page views for month, making her a major force by anyone’s measure. Still, picking her for the cover seemed such a change, fitting right into our “Julie and Julia” world. I had to ask Jacob about that, and get some of her other insights. Here’s our e-mail exchange, soup to nuts:

Q: Wait…Anthony Bourdain gave you a great blurb for the book, and you used it on the back cover? Why did you choose a blurb from The Pioneer Woman to grace the front cover? (Had her own cookbook hit the bestseller lists when that decision was made?)

A: You noticed that! I wanted it there because the emphasis on the new edition is a huge new chapter on food blogging, and Ree Drummond is the ultimate self-made success story in that area. She also has a cookbook that's a New York Times bestseller, a memoir coming out next year, a movie deal based on the book with Reese Witherspoon playing her, and she sometimes gets close to 1,000 comments on a blog post. That's pretty darn impressive.

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