Thursday, 10 March 2011

Prepped Gets A Fabulous Trade Review



Writing a recipe book is one thing. Getting it published is another. Getting it into the public eye is something I had never considered when I set out to write Prepped. Of course I am still learning about how books get published.

For example it had never occurred to me that in order for the public to be able to go and buy a book in a book shop if first has to get into the book shop. It hadn’t occurred to me that this was a process in itself and not a fait accompli in being published. I suppose I just expected that books magic their way onto the shelves! Of course now I know that is not so, and behind every book is a team of sales people and PR to ensure that the book makes it’s way into the stores. Hugely important to this are the trade magazines and I was told that these are a where people look to decide what to stock. The way the trade responds to your book is seen as a good indicator of how the book is expected to do. After all these people see every book that hits the market. They know what is, and isn’t going to sell.

I can’t emphasize the credibility a trade magazines review can give to your book . These reviews are seriously important. I can tell you that Nikki, my publisher was reaching for tissues with as a tear or two was shed whilst she read me this review from the Bookseller. She was utterly delighted as Prepped singled out as Sue Baker’s chief delight. (I have to admit I am tickled pink too, but Nicky and Giles, my publishers did have to explain the importance of these reviews as I had no real idea of their significance – if course I do know now, which is why I am sharing the insider knowledge with you!)

In many ways small publishers have huge advantages. They are personnel, and flexible with the ability to negotiate a British Print deal for Prepped, which is largely down to their fantastic working relationships within the industry. On the other hand launching a recipe book next to the giants of publishing is hard. They have the resources of large publishers and their books are you only have to look at the chart below to see that only 2 of the 20 top selling books last year were not on TV.

I read in Philip Stone’s article in the Bookseller that aside from Yottam Ottolengi with Plenty with a 2010 revenue of £1.8 M (and bloody good on him he’s a top chap) and Tarek Maluf with the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook with a 2010 revenue of £1.3M, that all the top 20 recipe books last year were by TV chefs. Philip Stones’ article went on to rank the recipe books from the Nielsen book Scan TCM in order as follows:

Jamie’s 30 minute meals by Jamie Oliver

Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

James does by Jamie Oliver

Mum’s Know Best by the Hairy Bikers

River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnly- whittingstall

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Maluf

The Great British Book of Baking the BBC2 The Great British Bake-off official book

200 Slow cooker recipes by Hamlyn

Plenty by Yottam Ottolengi

Home cooking by Rachel Allen

Good Food 101 one pot dishes from the BBC

The I diet by Gino D’acampo

New complete Baby and Toddler by Annabel Karmel

Jamie’s Ministry of food By Jamie Oliver

The flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

The MasterChef cookbook That goes with the Masterchef TV series

Tender Vol II by Nigel Slater

Good Food 101 meals for 2 by the BBC

Complete cookery course by Delia Smith

He went on to say that for every £1 spent on food and drink cookery books last year 22p went to Jamie Oliver. Nigel Slater’s Tender II sold 44,408 copies and it is clear to see that the TV chefs dominate. But I love that Yottam Ottolenghi and Tarek Maluf are up there with the big boys based on pure fabulousness. It might be unrealistic to have fantasies that Prepped might make it to the level of these books. But I can see that it is not totally impossible. I hope to see Prepped ranked somewhere. ..and yes for any cynics that might be reading this I am aware that I am imagining the almost impossible but we all need a dream. I just happen to be following mine!



  1. Wow Vanessa...amazing to read & so happy for you, truly! I had a few tears welling & I don't even know you! I worked in a bookshop for a few years (in charge of food & drink section,thankfully) & I do know the power of the trade publications. This is fantastic. It will be a great year for you, I know. x Rachel

  2. A fabulous preview and very well deserved. I genuinely think you are bringing a new and inventive concept to the cookery book table and hope it will be as popular as it deserves to be. And who knows, you may end up on the telly anyway, radio is great start. (And I can't WAIT to be on your show next week) Xx

  3. Well done, so looking forward to seeing the whole book


  4. Congratulations Vanessa! It is going to be a huge success- you must be so excited! I am looking forward to opening it up for the first time! :)

  5. Well done you. I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to be part of your next project. I hope to hear from you soon. x

  6. Not just because of this review but because it reminded me, I have just got round to pre-ordering. I look forward to hearing how well it does, all the interest and reviews bode so well. It's an amazing achievement, you should be feeling very pleased with yourself!


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.