Greetings, Gather writers, and welcome to this issue of Freelancing for Pleasure and Profit.
Do you have a signature dish or dessert that you serve your family and guests during certain times of the year? Did you know that combining this skill along with your writing skills may in fact result in publication?
Newspapers and many women's publications are frequently seeking healthy, easy to prepare, delicious options for short features. If your recipe is seasonal, you'll want to query the publication about ten weeks ahead of that particular season. If it is typically served for a holiday celebration, give it a couple of extra weeks as well.
Take notice of your local paper during the next few weekends. You'll likely see features on Memorial Day recipes, picnic ideas, and cookout options. Graduations have started, and most are followed by a reception, luncheon or dinner. Do you have something spectacular you plan to serve?
Follow these simple steps when querying a publication with your recipe idea:
1. Highlight what is unique about your particular version of the recipe. Is it lowfat? Sugarless? Perfect for serving outside?
2. Mention your proficiency at preparing your dish. Do you have any culinary training? Perhaps you've prepared the same dish flawlessly for 20 years?
3. Include a clear photo of the completed dish with your query.
4. Include a list of ingredients and a bit about any particular ingredients that make the dish special or may have significant seasonal value.
5. Offer to prepare the dish for a "preview." (obviously, this will only pertain to local publiations)
6. Add any reviews your guests have given your dish.
Don't assume that because your dish is somewhat "run of the mill" that it won't be a consideration for a story. Do you recall the number of stuffing recipes you've seen published prior to Thanksgiving? Sometimes just the addition of an interesting ingredient or tale to accompany the recipe is all that's needed to make it publication worthy!
So dig out the recipe box and start shuffling through the old, yellowed cards that are splattered with tiny remnants of who knows what, and be sure to keep a notebook handy. In addition to jotting down a few things you'll need from the store, you can also start constructing your query!
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from New Hampshire who has coached many new writers through her book and writing workshop titled "Freelancing Later in Life."