Pip McCormac, Lifestyle Director at Red Magazine
Pip absolutely loves cookbooks and uses them all the time for inspiration. He particularly likes books you can actually cook from (easily) eg Lorraine Pascale. For Red Magazine big name authors are great eg Jamie, Lorraine, Gwyneth.
However, an extract from the Yeo Valley cookbook also worked well. There are three things Pip is looking for. Concept: a lifestyle that Red readers can buy into they want to create food that is delicious and impressive. Imagery: the sun always shines at Red so warmth, lustre and light a very visual magazine and finally – Execution: recipes must be straight forward and quick to create as readers are often short on time.
Red on-line has approx 500,000 hits a month and the biggest channel is cooking. They have direct feedback from the website and the top search terms are (somewhat surprisingly) as follows:
5) Sunday lunch
4) Red velvet
3) Cup cakes
He will of course always credit a book that is used.
Eleanor Maidment from Waitrose Kitchen (kindly sent through her notes)
I’m the food editor at Waitrose Kitchen and have been for the last 2 years.
We are a monthly lifestyle magazine available only in branches of Waitrose, either bought for £1.20 or available for free with a John Lewis card or a My Waitrose card and our circulation is around 350,000.
We are not part of Waitrose: I work for a contract publishing agency called JOHN BROWN MEDIA, who publish the magazine on behalf of Waitrose. There is an array of other WR publications such as Waitrose Weekend and the recipe cards all of which are published in house.
As Food Editor I am in charge of all the recipes that go into the magazine, about 40 a month some of which are written by me, most of which are commissioned out to chefs and food writer, and my job is bit like a jigsaw puzzle piecing it all the recipes together and making sure they fit nicely.
There are 4 other members of the editorial team and we work very closely together and share a lot of information. We all work closely with publishers and we do feature new food and drink titles throughout the magazine.
Just to give you a few ideas of how:
- We have a book of the month in every issue
- We run seasonal round ups of the best cookery books usually twice a year at Christmas and in summer
- We extract recipes from books in almost every issue
- And we also run interviews with chefs in conjunction with new books or television series.
We’re interested in a broad range of titles from:
- well-established chefs
- up and coming writers
- to those that focus on a particular cuisine
- or those with a focus on health or specific diets like gluten-free.
In recent issues of Waitrose Kitchen You’ll find:
Recipes extracted from Paul Hollywood’s new bread book
An interview with Rick Stein in conjunction with his new book and tv series
Recipes extracted from various baking books for a feature on cakes made with vegetables, like beetroot or courgette cake
We ran a feature written by Dale Pinnock on eating for wellbeing, which wasn’t extracted directly from his book, but came about because his new book ‘The Medicinal Chef’ was perfect for our audience.
We work about 3-4 months in advance and currently we are working across our August and September issues. Weâ€™ll be planning October issue in a couple of weeks in early June, so it’s vital that we know about things well in advance.
As we work so far in advance, I prefer press releases to be sent by email. It makes it easier to share amongst my colleagues and I can file it away. I’m afraid my desk is not always as tidy as it should be so pieces of paper and catalogues just feel like clutter and inevitably get lost. And my pet hate is A3 proofs of books which I find really unwieldy to look at. I’d much rather all the information on PDF.
I also quite like to meet up with publishers for coffee, maybe once a year to talk through their advance lists. Often I do this with another colleague so you can meet us both at once. I think it’s nice to put a name to a face and I think you get a better picture of what the author and the book. Often we walk away from meetings armed full of features ideas for upcoming months
I asked my colleagues for any other feedback for you and, Dan Tapper, our staff writer, asked me to say, don’t under-estimate how books influence our editorial decisions. Seeing advance lists alerts us to new faces and new trends, so they’re a vital source of information for us. So we really appreciate being kept informed.
Rebecca Seal – food, drink and lifestyle writer and TV presenter
Rebecca writes for numerous publications including ES Magazine, Zest, Grazia, Holland and Barratt, Yachting and also presents for Channel 4. She uses books and authors all the time so they are her lifeline – anything from Neils Yard cookbook to information on new young chefs. PDFs are great, not so keen on A3 proofs. Lead times vary enormously, Zest for instance works 4 months ahead, ES Magazine just a week. She doesn’t handle serial or extracts but sometimes helps out behind the scenes. Rebecca likes to meet Publicists for coffee to talk through ideas. Email is the best way to contact her and if she hasn’t replied feel free to send it through again. She also works for the Soho House Group who will feature chefs at events where they can sell books.
James Winter, Series Producer, Saturday Kitchen
Saturday Kitchen is a weekly live cookery show on BBC1 and deals with ‘serious’ chefs so recipe books are immensely useful but the author has to be a personality who presents well and can stand up and make a dish live. Always worth emailing James with an idea if you have a book you think may work on the show even though there is no chef to offer â€“ could be an ideology or diet. Lead times are long, currently booking for October, but can always make room for big name authors or interesting characters. Feel free to hound him if you really believe in an author/idea for the show. He finds launch parties really helpful as sometimes meets interesting characters for the show even if it’s not their launch! James is also happy to meet publicists to talk through ideas, looking for books which are accessible and inspirational and kids authors. Charlotte Johnstone deals with the celebrity side of things
Natalie Whittle at FT Magazine
The FT Magazine is a weekly colour supplement appearing in Saturday’s edition of the paper. 70% of readers don’t take the paper Monday to Friday. On a Saturday it is similar to The Guardian or Telegraph. Natalie edits the food pages which include wine and restaurants. There is also a quarterly food magazine which follows the seasons. She likes food memoir and food investigation in addition to straight recipe books. An extract from Michael Pollan’s book worked really well. All food content of the paper also appears in the international edition available in Europe and Asia. Natalie loves to look through catalogues and enjoys meeting publicists for coffee. Press Releases are great but not in a quirky format! Lead time for the weekly magazine is 5-6 weeks and the quarterly editions longer. She always tries to slot in book extracts. Tuesday is her busiest day and Wednesday mornings are not good either as going to press. She is able to pass on information to other departments if more relevant to them.