For three years, I’ve taught Food Writing classes online. Last June, a student proposed that I write a Food Writing II class, and start a newsletter. He believed in my ability to publish a profitable e-zine.
He obviously didn’t know my disastrous history as a publisher. I started a community newspaper years ago, only to find the workload too heavy and my bank account too light.
Yet, I could not deny my excitement at his idea.
One weekend of researching how to write, promote and publish an online newsletter convinced me to open a website and plan several issues.
I published my first newsletter in August 2003. It was thrilling and I had hopes that I would break even on my expenses after the first year of publication, but as advertisers, writers and prospective students approached me, I realized that after only three bi-weekly issues I was already the happy publisher of a profitable online newsletter.
Beyond that, I was contacted by magazine editors and websites asking me to write either about food, or about food writing, for pay, based on my expert status as a publisher in my field.
In December, I made the decision to become a paying market and, although the pay is small ($10 per piece), the response has been generous. I’ve accepted, and am publishing, articles on why we write cookbooks, how food writers experience the world, ways to break into food writing, markets for food writers, interviews with food writers, photography tips for writers, book reviews and humor pieces about the writing, cooking and food writing lives we lead.
Since my student’s first suggestion has turned out so well, I am moving on his second suggestion: to write a second Food Writing Course for continuing students.
My publishing success has erased the bad memory of my past failure, and renewed both my writing career and my belief in myself.
Pamela White is the editor/publisher of Food Writing, an online newsletter for writers who love food and food lovers who write. Subscription information is on her website: http://www.food-writing.com. She is also the promotions director for Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine (http://www.fmam.biz) for whom she writes a food and mystery column.