The Food Blogger’s Guide to Smartly Selling Books Through any Blog Post
If you are a food blogger who is already a part of a book affiliate program, or looking to market books through your content, this post gives you important tips on how to promote books without having to exclusively write book reviews. As a food blogger, you may blog about recipes, review different restaurants and more. So any book you recommend is supposed to take your reader’s culinary experience to the next level.
The books should either complement the dish you are focusing on, teach your readers how to whip up similar dishes or help them expand their knowledge on the general theme you are tackling. Take this article as your own glossary, where we walk you through the different titles you can recommend, and the different topics or article ideas that go with them.
This post is part of a wider series on How to Sell Books without Writing Book Reviews.
If you’re blogging about food, you can recommend:
Cookbooks are the most obvious genre of book you can link to any food-related content. From recipes by famous chefs like Jamie Oliver to cookbooks that based on a single ingredient, there are a myriad of which you can choose from. Your selection will depend on the topics you write about. For instance, as a blogger that specializes in desserts, you’re going to market cookbooks targeted towards sweet-tooths. For example, if you post a listicle (which is an article that takes the form of a list) of the top ten New York bakeries, you can easily link each bakery to its corresponding cookbook. So let’s say Milk Bar and Magnolia Bakery are a part of your list, you can connect your readers to their published recipe books: Momofuku Milk Bar and The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. On the other hand, a post highlighting innovative and quirky desserts can be paired with fun dessert cookbooks like Mug Cakes: Chocolate.
Cookbooks can be built around different central themes like type of cuisine, special ingredient, or even cooking technique. Naturally, as a food blogger you will be writing about these themes yourself. So why not pair these posts with the relevant cookbooks. Let’s say you’ve written a recipe on how to make an Indian Samosa. This can easily be linked to cookbooks about Indian cuisine, like The Dal Cookbook for example. Similarly, you can link any post that talks about French food to Julia Child’s everlasting classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. A seasonal example can be linking a post about meals to keep you warm this winter to cookbooks with recipes for soups and stews.
2. Coffee table books
If you are a food blogger who is interested in the aesthetics of plating and presentation and known for your mouthwatering photographs, consider coupling your content with coffee table books. Coffee table books can easily be linked to recipe posts, fun listicles and even restaurant reviews. Just make sure the books you choose compliment the article’s content. For instance, if you have posted a gallery of your favorite chocolate and coffee pairings, you can link it to: The World Atlas of Coffee, and The Book of Chocolate.
Let’s look at another example: travel food bloggers posts delicious articles about their culinary experience abroad. This content can be paired with beautiful photography books of the countries they have visited. So a post about a lunch in Thailand can be linked to Thailand Surprise: A Photographic Journey Through Thailand. Similarly, a post listing their top five favorite dishes from Tuscany can be paired with The Most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany.
You can also recommend coffee table books through your restaurant reviews. You can pair Where Chefs Eat, or Where Bartenders Drink with any restaurant, or bar review. Let’s dig a little deeper: let’s say you are a food critic based out of a particular city, like Seattle for example. Your reviews can be coupled with a Seattle picture book, like Seattle Then and Now, or even a coffee table book displaying beautiful photographs of the surrounding area’s cuisine like A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine.
3. Biographies of chefs & restaurateurs
Recommending biographies of chefs and restaurateurs can add value to any recipe, article, or review by adding context. For example, let’s say you wrote a feature on famed chef Julia Child’s cooking technique. You can definitely link to her cookbook, but you can also share her autobiography My Life in France. This will be sure to add value to your content, by shedding more light on who Julia Child was, including why she became a chef, where she learned to cook in France, her personal relationship to food, and tidbits about her personal life.
When it comes to recommending biographies, the possibilities are endless. You can recommend bios of longstanding chefs, or of current rising stars. For instance, any restaurant review can be coupled with its chef’s biography. Let's look at an example: a profile on New York’s Prune restaurant can be easily linked to its chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter. Alternatively, if you are a food blogger who reviews cooking shows, you can link to the host’s biographies. For instance, a critique of Anthony’s Bourdain’s new season of Parts Unknown can be paired with his autobiography: Kitchen Confidential.
4. Fiction that revolves around food
Let’s push the envelope even further. You do not have to limit yourselves to books that talk about food, chefs and their similar counterparts. There are a slew of fiction novels and comic books in which food plays an integral part: through protagonists who are chefs, or through delicious descriptions of meals. There are even books that use food as a tool to symbolize general themes present in their story. With that being said, when it comes to this genre of books, it’s important to choose the ones that are in line with your own positioning.
Let’s say you’ve written a series of recipes tailormade for banquets. You can easily connect this group of articles to the Harry Potter series, which has mouthwatering descriptions of the meals spread out during the Hogwarts banquets. Or, if you have written an article profiling Vietnamese food or Vietnamese chefs, you can link to the novel The Book of Salt, whose protagonist is a Vietnamese chef.
You might be a food blogger, who likes to discuss the meaning of food, of sharing meals, and people’s complicated relationship to both. If that’s the case there are a number of novels in which food serves a central role. For instance, you can pair a piece in which you detail your own relationship to food, with The School of Essential Ingredients, which is aptly described as “A ‘heartbreakingly delicious’ national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life.”
For more inspiration on these kinds of books, check out this Bookwitty Reading List.
If you are blogging about entertaining you can recommend:
1. Books about entertaining
People who like to cook often like to entertain as well. As such, there are a great number of books that will give your audience a lending hand when it comes to hosting anything from a fancy dinner party to a fun game night. For instance, a blog post entitled something like: How to host the perfect baby shower, can be easily coupled with a book that teaches your readers just that: Baby Shower Planning Like a Pro.
These books are particularly useful for food and lifestyle bloggers, who can customize their selection according to their own personality. For instance, let’s say your expertise lies in throwing extravagant parties. If you’re planning on writing an article explaining how to throw a themed party inspired by the MTV reality series The Hills, you can recommend its star Lauren Conrad’s book on how to throw a party Celebrate, or trendy handbooks like In Style Parties.
A final example: let’s say you are a blogger who specializes in sit-down dinners. There are books that are specialized in just that, like The Art of the Table, Veranda Entertaining and How to Set a Table just to name a few.
2. Themed Cookbooks
For every post you write about Halloween, Saint Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day, there’s a corresponding cookbook. Themed cooking is a source of joy for any kitchen enthusiasts, so don’t be afraid to take their reading experience to the next level.
So for example, if you are writing about 5 Recipes that will make your Superbowl Party Unforgettable to coincide with the event, link this article to the official NFL Gameday Cookbook. Alternatively, a post that is more along the lines of Healthy Snacks to Enjoy during the Super Bowl, can be linked to healthy snack cookbooks like Real Snacks.
As December rolls around, you can use your Christmas posts as a springboard to link to a variety of cookbooks like Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities, or Taste of Home Christmas.
If you’re blogging about eating right, you can recommend:
1. Healthy eating cookbooks
If you run a food blog whose main topic is eating right, recommending healthy cookbooks is a no-brainer. The possibilities are endless, and will vary according to the type of diet, or diets, you are specialized in. For instance, if you have written a series of recipes for your vegetarian audience, Ottolenghi’s Plenty is one of the many cookbooks you can link to. On the other hand, you can couple your gluten-free recipes with gluten-free cookbooks.
Let’s take a minute to direct our attention to more lifestyle posts. If you are writing a first-hand account of being lactose intolerant, there are a ton of cookbooks filled with dairy free recipes you can link to. On the other hand, in a post in which you compare vegan-free ice cream to normal ice cream, think about teaching your readers how to make vegan free ice cream at home with N’Ice Cream.
2. Self-help books
The decision to start eating healthy is not an easy one. Often times people who strive to lose weight, or to adopt a better lifestyle, need a small push in the right direction. As a healthy food blogger, you can give your readers that help by providing them with recommendations of key self-help titles.
Each self-help book has its own tone and purpose. So you will have to chose the ones that are in line with your positioning and philosophy. So as a blogger who believes that weight loss is all about breaking habits, you can pair any content with Making Habits, Breaking Habits, The Alternate-Day Diet or Better than Before. However, if you believe weight loss is all about improving self-esteem, you can recommend: The Power of Positive Thinking.
3. Fitness books
Eating right and staying fit go hand in hand. So as you continue writing posts filled with healthy recipes and tips on how to eat right, you can naturally link your content to fitness books. Some of the most popular fitness books include Fitness Confidential, and The 4 Hour Body.
On another note, even if you do not focus on healthy eating in your blog, you can still recommend fitness books. For example, if you recently posted a cheesecake recipe, you can easily market a fitness book, by saying something like: “Thanks to The One Minute Workout, you can have your cake and eat too, literally.” .
If you are blogging about international cuisines, you can recommend:
1. Cookbooks by countries
As we previously mentioned, if you are a food blogger who talks about cuisines from all around the world, recommending cookbooks from different countries is a natural fit. These cookbooks can be written by local or foreign chefs depending on how authentic you want your post to look. So for example, in articles similar to: A Food Guide to Italy, or How to Make the Perfect Pizza Napoletana, you can easily link to both Bread is Gold by Italian chef Massimo Bottura, or Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy.
2. Travel books
If your audience enjoys reading your international recipes, they might be interested in visiting the different countries you mention. With that in mind, pairing your content with travel books makes sense. These books can range from the classic Lonely Planet or Michelin Guides, to more niche travel books. Whatever travel book you choose should be in line with your positioning.
So let’s say, your content mainly focuses on street food from around the world, you can recommend: The Food Traveler’s Handbook. However, if you want to dive a little deeper, you can recommend street food travel books localized by country or city, like: Thailand's Best Street Food: The Complete Guide to Streetside Dining in Bangkok.
3. History books
Linking your content to history books is a great way to add value to your website. This genre provides context to whatever it is you are talking about, allowing your readers to deepen and expand their knowledge of the cuisine you are writing about. History books can range from the history of the cuisine itself, to the history of the country you are covering. For example, you can pair a Pasta Alfredo recipe to a history book about Italian cuisine, like Al Dente: A History of Food in Italy, or even to a book that details the history of pasta like The Geometry of Pasta. On the other hand, if you wrote a review about a restaurant you visited in Florence, you can link to a book that examines this city’s history, its art, and of course of Florentine cuisine.
No matter what type of food blogger you are, or what kind of content you create, the list of books you can market goes on and on. All you have to do is dig deeper into your subject and dissect it in order to pinpoint which books will optimize your content, and create value for your readers. This article is here to inspire you. Take it as a starting point, and the sky is your limit.
If you would like to learn more about how to market books through your content, check out this article, and the rest of the articles in our series including: The Travel Blogger’s Guide to Smartly Selling Books Through any Blog Post.