The Year in Food Blog-to-Book Deals [2009-orama]


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Food blogs have been around for a good decade, at least, and food books have been around, well, pretty much forever, but it seems that it's this year that the dead-tree guys finally started paying serious attention to the smart writers, great photographers, and charming home cooks who happily toiled away on their Typepad accounts, sans editor and art department. But the act of blog-to-book translation isn't always peaches and mascarpone — for every Steamy Kitchen Cookbook (Amazon), the pitch-perfect print translation of Jaden Hair's eponymous cooking blog, or Orangette blogger Molly Wizenberg's delightful A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table (Amazon), there was a Foodie Handbook (Amazon), Pim Techamuanvivit's haphazard collection of bloggy mini-chapters that could've benefited from a little more editorial oversight.

Of course, sometimes it's just a question of an unstoppable force: This is Why You're Fat launched as a blog February 1, had a proposal making the rounds by early March, a deal in hand a week and a half later, and a real, live book on shelves by October. But it doesn't always move so fast for everyone. Here are some of our favorite blog-to-book deals that were struck this year — some are out already, look for others in bookstores in 2010.

Gary Vaynerchuck of landed a seven-figure, seven-book deal with HarperStudio. Not all the books will be about wine — the first, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Amazon) is already out.

Danyelle Freeman may have been fired from her job reviewing restaurants for the New York Daily News — a gig she landed on the strengths (or at least, popularity) or her blog restaurant girl. But she stays in print with her Gourmet Glossary, bought by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. Not on Amazon US yet, but Amazon Canada gives us a release date of September 22, 2010.

The Bacon Explosion, a log of sausage wrapped in bacon wrapped in sausage wrapper in bacon, swept the nation thanks to a writeup in the New York Times. Thanks to that boost, the creators' blog BBQ Addicts will be converted to print thanks to a six-figure deal with Scribner. BBQ Makes Everything Better (Amazon) will be published in May 2010. (The book will not, however, contain their signature recipe. Yes it will! Co-creator Aaron Chronister emails us: "The original Bacon Explosion recipe will in fact be in the book." Yay!)

Depression Cooking with Clara, a series of YouTube videos in which a 93-year-old great-grandmother reminisced about Depression-era cookery while manning the stove, signed on with St. Martin's Press and published Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression (Amazon) this past October.

Amy McCoy of Poor Girl Gourmet got her lavishly photographed blog in the hands of of Andrews McMeel, who are publishing her Poor Girl Gourmet: Eat in Style on a Bare-Bones Budget (Amazon) for May of next year.

Fancy Fast Food came out of the gate running, with their blog making the rounds with lightning speed and an offer from HarperCollins almost immediately.

Mad scientist food bloggers Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot of Ideas in Food got a sweet deal with cookbook powerhouse Clarkson Potter. The manuscript's in (or at least, should be by now) and the book is scheduled for a Fall 2010 publication.

Hank Shaw of the Beard-nominated blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook surprised absolutely nobody with his book deal with Rodale. Honest Food: Finding the Forgotten Feast — which we suspect will be equal parts how-to and philosophical treatise — is slated for an early 2011 release.

New York-based blogger Luisa Weiss started with the adorably gimmicky Wednesday Chef (she made the recipes in the newspaper's food section, get it?) but shook off the Julie & Julia taint with a non-gimmicky book deal: Viking is paying her to move to Germany and write "about Berlin, about my life, about cooking and home and family and love, about being divided and finding a way back to being whole again, about a city and its recipes, and a girl who's learning how to find her way."

—Helen Rosner

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