We were bound to get a food-blogging edition of the endless "Dummies" series (we must not be getting any smarter) one of these days. With Food Blogging for Dummies, the days of "Branding Your Food Blog Through Consistency and Frequency" chapter headers has arrived.
The author is Kelly Senyei, an associate editor at Gourmet Live and the blogger behind JustaTaste.com. Most of her recent journalism work has centered on the online food world. She started the blog at her culinary school and later interned at the Food Network kitchens before joining Gourmet Live; even that journalism degree came at the right time. (Translation: Senyei is in her 20s, so class hours would have included social media lectures.) Yes, the author is qualified, which carries through to the content.
Whether you really need this book depends largely on two key factors beyond the author's merits: How you feel about the "Dummies" series of books, and how you define food blogging.
The book begins with the basics: Assessing the bacon blog competition, finding your niche, setting up a website, and finding your voice. There are plenty of Food Photography 101 lessons, as to be expected. Writing basics, too, from the recipe side of your online presentation to your "Crafting Your About Page" public relations plan. In the "About Page" section of the book, Senyei begins with this: "The million-dollar question: Who are you?"
It's a good question, as that million-dollar side of things is the dominant voice of this book. Food Blogging For Dummies is written for bloggers who are striving, despite those dismal 1% salary realities, to have a financially successful food blog. The final few chapters, every book's dénouement, in essence, include one on "(Super) Marketing" and another called "Bringing Home the Bacon."
Sure, if you're the type who is food blogging for good old-fashioned Dear Diary, recipe fun or resume-related reasons, you can still find a clever tip or two (like using that awful red-check dress you never wear but can't bear to give away as a dinner plate backdrop). But a few pages in, it's pretty clear you're not the Food Blogging For Dummies intended audience. Whether or not that's a good thing likely depends on how you feel about shelling out $350 for food blog conferences, logging in at exactly 6 p.m. for a wine tasting Tweet-up, and spending your weekend reading the 300+ suggested reader tweaks to those online chocolate chip cookie recipes.
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But if you're hoping to break the firewall profit odds with a new food blog, Food Blogging For Dummies is a solid, well-researched place to start. And besides, it's a heck of a lot less expensive than those food blog conferences.
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