Your Voice Matters

TruthAboutGoodbye.png

As we celebrate Pride Month this June, we asked Wise Ink author Russell Ricard to share his personal journey in finding his writing voice as it relates to Pride, being a gay author, and publishing his debut novel, The Truth About Goodbye

He did not disappoint. 

He wrote this letter to his younger self, and we hope it inspires you as it inspires us!

Dear One,

At five, you will not know exactly why other boys and some girls call you “flower boy” or “fag.” You will not know why you can’t stand being away from your best friend, another boy, but some day you will understand why. And it will be for a wonderful reason.

At ten, you will sing and dance through your body. From your heart you will create prose and poetry and plays on scraps of paper. And while you still will be taunted by other boys and some girls for expressing your creative spirit, something inside will remind you that you are okay just the way you are.

At sixteen, your voice will be violated. A parent will read your private mail, and also your diary. They will discover that you love another boy. They will condemn you based on their religious beliefs, yell in your face that you will burn in hell. But you will find a counterpart to your birth family. This logical family, as you will later discover is a term coined by one of your favorite authors, Armistead Maupin, will lift you up, celebrate your uniqueness, and love you unconditionally. And you will slowly begin to reclaim your voice.

At 18, after the boy you assumed was “the one” breaks your heart into a zillion pieces you will suffer a mental breakdown that will keep you in bed for an entire week. But your voice will once again rise. You will eventually clock this grief as part of your growing pains. You will channel this dance of lost and found into extended creativity—more writing.

At 21, you will take the red eye from Los Angeles to New York in pursuit of your artistic dreams. You will meet success in the theater world, continuing to tell stories through song and dance and acting. And the voice that was violated at sixteen will drive you safely toward storytelling through prose, poetry, and plays.

At 23, you will fall in love with “the one,” your soul mate. This will further help you gain access to your voice.

And at 44, after 21 years together, you and your soul mate will finally hear the words “By the state of New York…I now pronounce you husband and husband” from the officiate. You will be in awe of the sight: witnesses that include your birth and logical family finally there for you. And the wedding cake will be incredible—it will taste like true love. During the celebration you will profess gratitude that you and your soul mate have moved from friend to partner to husband, the semantics of such words not lost on you.

At 50, you will finally take all you’ve learned from your younger selves and channel their spirit into your first novel. You will not censor your voice, your pride, or your bravery for being out and open in both heart and soul. Because you know what true love is for both your self and another man.

You will hear Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s voice say that there shouldn’t be two kinds of marriages. She will say that gays and lesbians should be afforded full marriage not “skim milk marriage.” And further, you will have celebrated that Ginsburg and her colleagues on the Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of Marriage Equality across all 50 states. And even though you know full well that the fight for LGBTQ rights is not over, you will trust that your 5 and 10 and 16 and 18 and so-and-so year self whom you’ve taken care of for decades will find the pride and guts to rise up for love and your rights; and the rights of others.

With the publication of your debut novel The Truth About Goodbye you will take deep pride in telling a story with a universal message about love, loss, renewal; and the celebration that love is love.

You will continue from there, one day at a time.

And so, dear one, have heart and guts and pride. Keep creating. Keep writing. Your voice matters.

Love,

Russell, your 51 year old self

Pinterest Russell Pride Letter (2).png

Writing a Book With a Partner? Read This First.

Is it hard to write a book? Yep. But writing a book WITH someone else? That seems infinitely harder. 

We talked with Wise Ink authors Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss about how they pulled this off for their hysterical first novel, B.S. Incorporated, and what they've learned writing the second installment!

What makes a great writing partnership?

Mike: Respect for the other person's talent and perspective is critically important. As is trust. Your partner will see things in your prose that you can't see, so it's really important to give each other the freedom to build on an idea, take it in a different direction, or possibly even nix it altogether. When you trust that your partner has the story's best interest at heart, it's much easier to make those trade-offs. In our current manuscript, Jennifer wrote a scene in which one of our protagonists struggles to make sense of her father's passing. I saw some opportunities to give it more emotional wallop and Jennifer happily let me take another pass at it. She read my edits and spotted a few lines that came across as heavy-handed. She dialed those back a touch, and now we feel like we really deepened that character's POV in all the right ways.

BS-Inc-cover.jpeg

Jennifer: I read someplace there's one important rule in finding a writing or business partner: Choose someone you wouldn't mind being stuck with in an airport for four hours. And for me -- wow, that's a very short list :). There's something to be said for building a partnership with someone who has similar interests, work styles and temperament -- because you're going to spend an extraordinary amount of time together, inventing characters and rehashing plotlines and creating unwritten backstories. You better make sure your writing partner is someone who can happily go as deep in the details as you can. And find a partner who is willing to learn and listen, and can build on all the things you say and think, and invites you to do the same with their ideas. Or you will strangle each other before the first chapter is written. 

Lots of people SAY they want to write a book together, but when it comes down to getting the words on the page they struggle. How do you suggest authors handle the "back and forth" of actually writing the book?

Mike: This is probably the most common question we get in media interviews and at book signings. It took us a while to refine our process, but we now feel as if we have it down. We start by mapping out the entire story arc for the book, including the arcs of individual characters and sub-plots. From there we break the story into three acts, and determine which elements of each arc fit into each act (e.g., in Act I we meet "Joe" and learn about his background, in Act II we'll learn that Joe is hiding a big secret, and in Act III that secret will be revealed and resolved). Then we split the first act into chapters and determine the sequence for planting all the seeds that will grow throughout the subsequent chapters/acts. When we know what needs to happen in a set of chapters, we'll divvy up the first-draft assignments: Jennifer takes chapters 1 and 3, Mike writes 2 and 4. 

Jennifer: When we finish our first drafts, we flip it to the other person to make edits (tracking every change). Then we review the edited version together and make any final decisions before considering it final and adding it to the working manuscript. We continue that process to the end. That way, we both touch every word. People often ask if I write all the female perspectives and Mike writes for the male characters, but I think our characters are much better, stronger and more real because we both write for all of them. It's funny -- sometimes I'll pull a quote out of the first book and say "that's hilarious!" -- and Mike will remind me that I wrote that part. We can't honestly tell who wrote what anymore. That was a long journey to go from having Mike's style and my style to creating "our" writing style. 

We can't imagine it's always been an easy journey.... would you be willing to share any of your partnership struggles? How did you overcome them?

Mike: We've definitely had some struggles along the way. Our very first manuscript was 167,000 words - or twice as long as it needed to be. That happened in part because we were not disciplined enough to make the hard choices we should have made early on. Stripping out 70,000 words - and one major character - forced some uncomfortable conversations. It's really difficult to hear your partner say that something you wrote is not strong enough to make the cut, or that readers won't find it funny, or that it's just poorly written - and equally difficult to deliver that message to someone who has been working just as hard as you to achieve your shared dream. We tiptoed around that kind of honest feedback early on, and it resulted in a lot of painstaking manuscript surgery later. But over time we developed that trust we mentioned earlier and learned to make hard choices before getting too far down the road.

Image-1.png

Jennifer: Ooh boy. Yes, we had struggles. With the first book, before we had a good shared writing process, we'd argue over how I'd rip my way through the first draft of a few chapters, then twiddle my thumbs waiting for Mike to finish writing a few pages. We took 100 steps back and spent a lot of time talking about how we each approach writing. My first draft is like painting a room with a roller -- get the big spaces filled in and see what the color looks like in the daylight. Mike paints his first draft with a watercolor brush -- amazing attention to the finer details. Once we realized that, we figured out how to respect each other's thinking and approaches, and give each other space to do our best work. Honesty and communication. That's how you overcome any partnership struggles. 

You're actively drafting your second book now. How is that process going versus the first book?

Mike: Like a dream. :) We were learning as we wrote the first time around, so the process is much more efficient and enjoyable now. The biggest key, in my mind, is that we're so much clearer on what our shared voice sounds like. Our first drafts are much closer to what they need to be, and we have a better eye for making edits that punch up the prose, deepen a character's POV or strengthen the story. (Props to Laura Zats and our other editors for teaching us some of these tips.)

Jennifer: The first book took us six years! The second took us about nine months -- and that's even introducing a host of new characters and settings into the crazy little corporate world we created. We learned so much about planning and outlining. For the first book, we wrote our last chapter 10 or 11 times (including writing the last page while it was going to the printer!). On the second book, we always knew what the last page would be. I think that's the difference in process: It's like on the first book we had just a compass. This time, we created a map.

Look for B.S. Incorporated at rockandvossbooks.com! 

How to Write a Book with a Partner (1).png

Five Secrets for Throwing an Epic Book Launch Event

It’s a question we get all the time— do you really need to throw a launch party when your book is released?

YES!

For some authors, this is great news. For others, the thought of throwing a book launch party is daunting. We get it.

We’ve attended a whole lot of book launch parties, but one that stands out for us was one thrown by Wise Ink author, Tera Girardin. Her book, Faces of Autism, is a gorgeous coffee-table gift book celebrating the lives of autistic kids. We recently asked her to give us a few of her secrets for success, and being the awesome person she is, she agreed!

  1. “Make it a community event.” Tera’s event was held in an elementary school gym, which had stations for balloon art, a photo booth, a dance area, and a place to eat and sign books. “It was less about me and the book and more about the kids and the cause and celebrating.”

  2. “Have other things for sale related to the book, such as notecards and T-shirts.” Tera had her volunteer helpers all wear the shirts and add to the sense of community and celebration.

  3. “I put my ambassadors to work”. Because Tera’s book focused on kids and their families, she made it clear to them that they should be sharing and inviting people to the launch. “Let people help!”

  4. “We launched in a month that counted.” For Tera, this was Autism Awareness Month. This meant that there was interest in the media around her event, and she got lots of coverage and support.

  5. We did something exceptionally special”. Tera’s book launch was really about celebrating the kids IN the book. So while she did sign books herself, she also set up signing tables for each and every child featured in the book. This extra touch is something that people STILL talk about when they remember her launch.

Whatever you choose for your launch, be sure to take tons of pictures and soak it all in. You’ve worked hard- you deserve it!

faces.jpg
DSC_0270 M Photography.JPG
Seven Secrets Pinterest Graphic (1).png

Four Great Gift Books for Mom

Okay last-minute Mother’s Day shoppers: it’s crunch time!

Don’t worry, we understand. It’s hard to find the perfect way to say thank you. No gift can ever fully recognize how much we owe the moms in our lives. But at Wise Ink, we want to make sure moms at all stages of motherhood get the appreciation they deserve and the encouragement they need.

Do you still have to pick up a present for your own mom, or do you know a mom who could use some encouragement but don’t know what to get her? If you’re looking for something more than the cliché bouquet or generic greeting card, what better way to show your appreciation for the mothers in your life than to share your time reading a book with them? These Wise Ink books about mothers and motherhood that are great gift options for all of us looking for a way to say, “Thank you, Mom.”

My Favorite Job is You

An anthem for working mothers everywhere, My Favorite Job Is You takes you on a mother's journey in finding her balance between motherhood and a career. This light-hearted poem serves as encouragement to all mothers rocking their babies to sleep at night and waking up before the sun to do it all over again. Ashley Flynn writes the perfect story to communicate no matter what job Mom does when they’re away, being home is their favorite job!

Sparkle On

No one wants to talk about aging--especially aging women. We're not supposed to bring up the changes to our bodies or lifestyle. We're not supposed to mention the weird food grievances we develop, nor the fact that we can't help but to break wind in yoga. And we're definitely not supposed to be happy about growing older (as though we had a more appealing alternative).

As humorist Kim Kane entered into this strange new era of ''a certain age,'' she had a nagging feeling there was more to aging in our culture than colonoscopies and early bedtimes. She began hosting gatherings of women to discuss important questions about the psychological, social, and physiological changes in the aging experience. And with grace and humor, the truth about aging began to emerge: Aging really just means living. And for that, why should anyone feel anything but gratitude?

Sparkle On touches on everything from fashion choices, to relationships, to grief, and everything in between. There are moments of poignancy and plenty of laughs. And by the end, you'll feel like you've made a friend and joined the ranks of bold, honest women who are aging in gratitude.

Infinite Purpose

Am I on the right path? When your soul grows restless, you might find yourself asking this question, feeling eager to go deeper into the light of your life's purpose. But diving in blindly can lead to more unanswered questions . . .

* Is it crazy to think that my gifts and ideas could make a real difference?

* Am I missing the signs the universe is sending me?

* Why do I keep getting stuck when others seem to be soaring?

Infinite Purpose: Care Instructions for Your True Calling provides clear direction and divine inspiration to jumpstart your own spine-tingling journey to joy and fulfillment. The sacred teachings within, beautifully brought to life by intuitive Liv Lane and artist Lori Portka, reveal a profound eight-step path to purpose. This book will forever change the way you connect to your calling, experience abundance, and create light in the world.

Those Three Words

“You are pregnant.”

Those three words uttered together pack a powerful emotional punch. For many women, hearing them elicits tremendous joy and excitement. They are the start of a dream come true. But those same words said together also cause the opposite reaction—one of panic and despair.

The first time Chris Bauer heard those words, she was just 18 years old, a few weeks into her freshman year of college. She was devastated. She was not ready to be a mother, and she had an agonizing decision to make.

Those Three Words takes readers along on Chris’s emotional journey through the power and importance of choice and the deep bond of maternal love. It is a bittersweet book full of heartache and joy, and a powerful testament to love in all its forms.

Mother's Day.png

Three Tips for Balanced Social Media Use as a Writer

If you’re a writer, and especially if you’re a self-published writer, you really can’t afford to get by without a social media presence. It’s not just enough to sell your books; you have to sell yourself, and social media is by far the primary way of doing so.

Of course, just because all of us have to be using social media doesn’t mean all of us are good at using it, so a lot of you are probably wondering: how do I best present myself and my work through this platform? Does one have to come at the expense of the other?

We’re so happy you asked. Here are three tips for making sure your internet life is balanced with your writing and personal lives.

  • Don’t just be a marketing vehicle; be a person.

You’re an author publishing in a professional market—you want to sell your books. Wanting that isn’t remotely selfish or unfair; you’re an artist, but you’re also a businessperson attempting to earn a living from your work. That’s just the way the world works. So marketing your writing isn’t at all something you should be afraid to do.

That said—be careful not to let your social media account/s become nothing but a marketing vehicle.

People follow an author’s social media for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest of these reasons is that your readers want to able to see you as a person. They want to be able to take a look at what lies behind the curtain, to bring a certain humanity to the author that the author’s books alone can’t. In short, they want to be reminded that authors are people too!

If all you do on your social media accounts is market your books, that aspect of your readers’ desires won’t be met. Rather, they’ll see you as nothing but a vehicle for marketing your own work, which could come off as disappointing or, at worst, cold and corporate. Remember, the people who follow you online are most likely already fans of your work! You don’t need to sell it to them from scratch.

Rather, allow yourself space to be yourself online. Post about whatever awesome book you happen to be reading this week, interact with fans, upload the occasional picture of your pet cat. You can err too far in this direction, of course—you do want to be promoting your work a fair amount of the time, even to readers who are already familiar with it. But if you can balance self-promotion with self-expression, readers will have a much better perception of you.

You’re also more likely to snag a new audience—people may follow you despite being completely unfamiliar with your books, simply because they’re heard you’re a great social media presence. Then, when they see your marketing intermingled in other posts, they’ll get curious and decide to pick up one of your books. And the cycle continues . . .

  • Third-party posting services are your friend.

Maintaining steady, consistent social media activity is vital to your online presence. Post too little, and you’re less likely to get followers; post too much, and you’re more likely to find yourself unfollowed; vacillate between the two and you get the worst of both worlds. A moderate, regular posting schedule is the ideal.

The problem is, maintaining a regular social media schedule is also very distracting. It’s hard to concentrate on writing your next book when you’re also worrying about what to post next on Facebook or Twitter, especially if you have a deadline for that post coming up. Focus too much on marketing or fan interaction, and you’ll have nothing to market or to interact with fans about.

So what’s a busy author to do? Never fear—third-party posting services to the rescue.

Services like Buffer or TweetDeck are fantastic for maintaining a consistent posting rate while also setting aside plenty of time for writing. You can write a bunch of social media posts in one half-hour stretch early in the morning or late in the evening, enter all of them into your calendar, and set them to post at certain times throughout the day. You can schedule them days, weeks, or even months in advance, then just set the app aside and go on your merry way, assured in the fact that your social media will now be handled without your even having to touch a computer or smartphone. Have a summer-themed post that’s occurred to you just as September is hitting its stride? Just go to Buffer, enter your text in the slot for June 23 next year, and forget it.

Of course, you shouldn’t rely entirely on this sort of service to get things done for you—you want to interact with your followers rather than simply let an app run your pages, and there are some posts that will only work in a certain context, after which the window for uploading them will be forever closed. But for those of us who like social media and writing books, a robot managing our lives for a while is a very welcome idea.

  • Market subtly, market constantly.

Our first point aside, one of the chief purposes of social media is to market your work. Maintaining a wonderful internet presence is great, but it won’t matter a whole lot if you aren’t actually selling your art. The question is, how do you do it in a way that’s constant while still remaining tasteful?

The cover photo, a feature of both Facebook and Twitter, is one of the best possible inventions for this purpose. Its dimensions are just about that of a real-life billboard, making it the perfect spot to upload an advertisement for your current or forthcoming work. And while it’s the biggest thing on your page, it’s also hidden behind your profile picture, which lends it a paradoxically unobtrusive vibe. Readers won’t be focusing on your cover photo—they’re interested in your content, not your window dressing—but they can’t avoid looking at it, and a skillfully placed piece of marketing will stick with them even if it’s not the thing they care about when they open your page.

Another excellent way to market without looking like you’re constantly marketing is to take advantage of the “pinned post” option. If you choose to pin a post to the top of your social media feed, it will be the first post that shows up regardless of how many other, more recent posts you’ve made since then. If you pin a post that advertises one of your books, it’ll be the first thing that followers see when they visit your page, but it won’t come off as crass commercialism because it’s immediately followed by your recent posts on all manner of other topics. Like the cover photo, it will remain in the readers’ heads even though it isn’t what they were seeking when they clicked on your page.

Finally, keep a carefully balanced ratio of promotional posts to “real” posts. A good example ratio is one marketing post for every four posts related to other matters. If you maintain this percentage, your social media will still be strongly slanted toward you as a person, but you’ll also be constantly self-promoting without the appearance of constant self-promotion. Sneaky, right? This way, you and readers can interact as human beings, you can promote your books at a steady rate, and everyone is happy.

Any suggestions and/or questions regarding author social media presence? Let us know!

Balance Your Social Media.png

Five Free Apps To Help You Write Your Novel

5Free Apps.png

There’s an app for … well, just about everything, nowadays.

Modern conveniences fill nearly every aspect of our lives. Our jobs, hobbies, and entertainment are streamlined, and we have virtually limitless tools for digital productivity at our fingertips.  All it takes is a press of a button and a quick download to our smartphones, tablets, and computers. As writers, we have no excuse to not use these tools to our advantage.

From motivation to organization, research, and editing, there are a dozen and one apps to aid the writing process.  So how do you begin narrowing down which apps to use for yourself? Well, we’ve scoured the Internet and made your search process a no-brainer.

Here’s a list of the best writing apps you should download immediately, if you haven’t already. (Plus, they’re free. What do you have to lose?)

Evernote is the ultimate app to collect, organize, plan, and write. This is the place to keep track of all your latest story ideas, writing blips, character notes, inspirational pictures, audio clips, and even entire webpages of research. You can even take notes on a piece of paper and scan it to the app. You have access to the app from anywhere, any place, across all the devices you use. Plus, its flexibility allows you to set it up to fit your writing style and habits. Don’t let that stellar bit of dialogue that hit you on your lunch break slip away. Save a note and mull it over later.

Devices: iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry

Spice Mobile is no ordinary thesaurus. This is the ultimate app for the writer running low on creativity and looking for a way to “spice up” their language. Stuck on a boring adjective or cliché phrase? This app will pull up inspirational samples from literature from a database of 30,000 crafty keywords and phrases. You can even explore the literary history, trends, and popularity of those phrases. Spice Mobile may be the cure for writers block. (Note: A version of this app is free; though, to have full access to the feature, there is an option to upgrade with a subscription.)

Mode: iOS and Android

Hemingway is an editor’s dream app, designed to analyze text and highlight common writing slipups. This app helps you cut pesky adverbs, rephrase weak passive voice, simplify complicated language, and draws your attention sentences that are hard to read.

Mode: web browser

A Novel Idea is the essential app for the beginning novelist. Is the task of writing a full 300(+) page novel too daunting? No sweat. This app helps you organize your “novel” idea and break down the aspects of plotting. Develop your setting, theme, premise, scenes, character, conflict, motivations … the list goes on and on. Then bring them together, rearrange, and note down sparks of inspiration to create the plot of your story.

Mode: iOS

Self Control is an app for writers who are easily distracted and need a bit of extra motivation to write. If you tend to write a sentence or two, then skip over to your web browser to check your Facebook notifications every ten minutes, this app is perfect for you. It blocks your ability to access a list of websites of your choosing for a time period you specify. Say goodbye to your personal web distractions until the timer expires. There is no getting on those websites—regardless of how many times you restart your computer or delete the app—once you click “start.” So sit down and stay writing.

Mode: Mac OS X

So what are you waiting for? Get downloading, get your creative juices flowing, and get writing.

Does Your Business Need a Book?

You might think our answer to this question would be an emphatic YES, but you'd be wrong. The truth is not every business needs a book. However, we do think that if your business has you and your team speaking at events, if your business has a very clear message to deliver to a specific audience, and if your business is looking to expand it's reach and credibility, then you should absolutely consider it!

Here are some wise words from award-winning business book author and entrepreneur, John Wessinger. His book, Ride the Wave: How to Embrace Change and Create a Powerful New Relationship With Risk has won several awards and has opened up possibilities for him in all kinds of ways. He says, 
 

Does your Business Need a Book_ (1).png

“Becoming an author and writing a book has really helped my marketing and sales consulting business. The book has allowed me to market myself and my business in a way that goes beyond just offering basic products or services.  With a book you can go much deeper and really present your specific take on an aspect of business. It’s been a great way to communicate my business principles or my beliefs about business and do it in a way that allows potential clients or customers to connect with my ideas in a new or different way.  It’s also allowed me to offer a much wider variety of products and services. With the book, I’ve been able to offer workshops, keynote presentations and do events that I really wasn’t doing before.  I was somewhat limited to offering consulting services and monetizing my time, but now I can offer services that are connected to the book and it has helped to bring some variety to how I can support clients. And overall, I just think my book has really helped to build credibility within my professional network. Being recognized as an author has been a great way to introduce myself to new connections, but has also lead to new contacts reaching out to connect with me directly about my book or my business as well. I’ve noticed that to be the biggest change and one of the best parts about having a book.”

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 7.58.20 AM.png

Is Your Cooking Blog Ready for a Book?

Is Your Cooking Blog Ready for a Cookbook_.png

Shhh.... don't tell anyone... but we at Wise Ink LOVE publishing cookbooks. Why? Well, it's not just because we love to eat, though WE DO. It's because cookbooks are super easy to market.

Firstly, cookbooks are always among the highest selling book genres, consistently. Secondly, cookbook authors have an easy way to market their books for years beyond their launch-- all they need to do is host a cooking demo event! And thirdly, probably MOST importantly, cooking bloggers have a consistently engaged audience and large platform. Win, win, win.

Cookbooks are a great way to give a cooking blogger legitimacy and a way of taking a part time passion into a full time brand. Here we talk with Wise Ink author Tonja Engen, author of Tonja's Table (based on her awesome blog!) about how she made the leap from cooking blogger to cookbook author:

Q1: Tell us a little about your blogging journey. How long did you have your blog before publishing your cookbook?

I started my blog in 2012 in response to my friends and families recipe inquiries on what to make for various occasions and events.  I thought sending a recipe out once a week would be fun and a great way to connect. I maybe sent this out to 25 people at the time.  It started to grow organically so in 2014 I decided to get a “real website” (I think we were using constant contact at the time) and added some different features to my blog.  It was 2 years after that I started writing my cookbook which published in 2016.

Q2: Going from a blog to a book is a huge step. How did you know your blog was ready for a book?

I didn’t!  I just loved providing recipes and solutions to everyone's cooking dilemas (weeknight cooking, entertaining, potlucks, etc.) and thought it would be another great vehicle for sharing recipes and my passion for cooking.

Q3: You have been very vocal about the importance of organizing your cookbook in a way that makes sense for you. What are some tips you have for recipe bloggers who might be interested in developing a cookbook?

I feel that every cookbook author has a unique story to tell.  Finding your cookbook niche is the first step. What are you trying to accomplish with your book?  What solutions are you providing? Maybe it’s just to entertain your reader, but that is still a niche.  Ask those hard questions up front and the process with be much smoother. In my case, the recipes were very occasion-based and I wrote to my reader with their lifestyle in mind (cabin cooking in the summer, holidays, dinner parties, feeding the team, etc.).  So I organized the book by menus to make it easy to know what to make. My ultimate goal was to get people back in the kitchen again without fear.

Q4: Who are some of your cookbook author inspirations, and why?

Julia Child!  I have all her cookbooks and biographies. I studied in Nice where she had a summer home and I have such an affinity for French cooking.   Her culinary passion is matched by few and she was fearless. I really admire that about her.

Ina Garten transformed how a lot of us cook and entertain now.  She simplified things with exact details which is very hard to do. I have all of her books and have made almost all of her recipes.

Chrissy Tiegen came out with “Cravings” while I was writing my book (sort of like when your pregnancy follows a movie star).  She’s hilarious and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She also has really tasty food and I hate skimping on flavor so I really enjoy her book and think we would have fun in the kitchen together.

Q5: What’s been the best part about having a book to go along with your website and brand?

It opens doors and creates so many opportunities I could have never imagined.  I have done everything from book signings, holiday events, markets, cooking classes to Twin Cities Live cooking demos, and recently starting a Tonja’s Table Cooking Club.  

Screen-Shot-2018-04-03-at-1.49.47-PM.png

Do you have a cooking blog and are ready to take it to the next level? Drop us a line!