Meet Dianne Jacob – the extra-special guest of Eat Drink Blog 3!

by Amanda McInerney on 30/10/2012

Well, my lovely readers, we are now counting the sleeps until the the third national Australian food bloggers conference, Eat Drink Blog 3, when 80 food bloggers will descend upon Adelaide to eat, drink, network and experience some of the very best of South Australian food and wine.  Myself and the rest of the organising committee have worked our little fingers to the bone to present an event which, I think, will go a long way towards changing the face of food blogging in Australia.

When I was approached with this opportunity back in June I was very confident that our hard-working South Australian food and wine producers would see this for the astonishing opportunity that it is – and they have.  The warmth and generosity with which they have embraced Eat Drink Blog 3 has meant that the event I had hoped South Australia would be able to present is now becoming a reality.

One ingredient which I knew would make our conference a seriously stand-out affair, but which initially seemed out of reach, was the presence of an internationally noted food writing coach with whom I happened to have had a few conversations over the last 12 months.  However, thanks to the support of the wonderful team at South Australian Tourism Commission, that goal suddenly became achievable and Dianne Jacob – author of Will Write For Food -  will be conducting a writing workshop here in Adelaide on Saturday and delivering the keynote address at Eat Drink Blog 3 on Sunday!

I know many will miss out on hearing Dianne speak, so here is a brief interview with our star attraction and a chance for you to get to know her just a little.

Q.  Dianne, you started your career as a journalist, editor and writer – what led you down the path of coaching – in particular food-writing coaching?

A.  As an editor, I had always worked with writers when assigning and editing their stories, so it seemed natural to continue when I chose self-employment more than a decade ago. Little did I know that I would also help people start blogs, write cookbook proposals, edit cookbooks, help new authors go through the publishing process, and edit manuscripts. There’s never a moment to get bored. About 15 years ago, I returned to writing about food and began teaching food writing classes, so concentrating on food writers was a natural extension of my business.

Q.  Your book “Will Write for Food” is pretty much the food bloggers bible these days.  What are your impressions on how food blogging has changed over the last five years – both for writers and readers?

A.  That’s the subject of my keynote, so I don’t want to give it all away! The most significant change is the power that food bloggers wield today. Those at the top have millions of subscribers, some have a way to make a living through advertising, and dozens have book deals. Some are sought after by food companies and restaurants. These developments weren’t possible five years ago, when food bloggers were still thought of as inferior to print writers.

Q.  Traditional book publishing is said to be in a precarious state, but still many food bloggers hope to have a book of their own recipes one day.  Could you share your thoughts on the merits of self-publishing traditional books and ebooks?

A.  With self-published books, you can control over every aspect, from the cover to the content to even the type of paper, if that’s your thing. And when you sell your own books, you get all the income.
Regarding e-books, they are inexpensive to produce and have a very short production cycle. If you have a big enough blog audience and know how to promote, decent income may result.

Q.   What would you say are the most pressing issues that food bloggers face at the moment, or that may become problems for them in the future?

A.  Most bloggers struggle with having enough time to post regularly. Food blogging can be a lot of work if you most of your posts involve creating a recipe, photographing the dish and process, and then writing about your experience. Then there are all the technical aspects to keep up with, the social media time commitment (or should I say interruptions and irresistible time sinks?), and the constant pressure to build visibility by getting the word out.

Q.  The popularity of food blogging continues to grow here in Australia and the US.  What do you think the future holds for this form of media?

A.  I hope blogger software will get easier for people. Right now it is still difficult to move RSS feeds and deal with technical issues that most of us have no idea how to resolve.

Q.  Which three skills do you see as most necessary for a blogger to be credible and successful?

A.  They need to be excellent storytellers, gorgeous photographers, and relentless marketers.

So – after that teaser, I’m off to help put the finishing touches to what is shaping up to be a great weekend folks!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer @ Delicieux October 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

What a great interview Amanda!! I’m so disappointed I’ll miss the conference, and in particular the chance to learn from Dianne. I have no doubt her workshop will be amazingly informative. Thanks for sharing this interview with her, and I can’t wait to read about everything after the conference.

Miss Piggy October 31, 2012 at 9:02 am

Really looking forward to hearing Dianne talk this weekend – what a great treat for all of us! Thanks.

Hotly Spiced October 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

I’m so looking forward to the weekend. Can’t wait to meet you. How fortunate to have such a wonderful key-note speaker xx

Ai-Ling@blueapocalypse.com October 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thanks for bringing Dianne over. She is one of the main reasons I am attending the conference and I can’t wait for her workshop.

Ai-Ling

Catherine Bedson October 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hi Amanda, thank you for this snippet of Diane. Looking forward to Dianne’s workshop and hearing her speak on Sunday.

InTolerant Chef October 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Oh I wish I could be there with you all! Thanks for this great interview, and I’m sure you’ll have a resoundingly successful weekend :)

Kirsten October 31, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for sharing that great interview Amanda! I’m so looking forward to meeting Diane and I am very excited about the writing workshop on Saturday – only 2 more sleeps to go :)

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 1, 2012 at 5:43 am

I am so eager to meet and learn from Dianne!

Mel @ The cook's notebook November 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Am going to have to dig out my copy of Will Write for Food and re-read bits of it before Saturday! Am getting SO EXCITED!

Simon Food Favourites November 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

looking forward to attending my first blogger conference. exciting!

Lizzy (Good Things) November 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I missed this session with Dianne, but was interested in hearing her talk during #EDB2012 on Sunday. Thank you to you and the team for organising such a professional event. Glad I took the time to travel over.

Eat,drink+beKerry November 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Thank you for a fabulous conference Amanda. You have set the bar very high. Diane Jacob was an inspiring speaker and I’m fired up with enough enthusiasm to last me until the next EDB!

Martine @ Chompchomp November 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Thank you so much for bringing Dianne for us for EDB3. Her workship was so energising and inspiring and has injected new committment to my writing.

Jamie November 15, 2012 at 1:50 am

Thanks for this interview and I was so sorry to have missed such an excellent, informative conference!

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