Foodie News and Views in Our Publishing World

The Foodie Bugle magazine is written by foodies for foodies, and we are all greedy consumers of cookery, gardening and lifestyle books. We got in contact with the “behind the scenes” publicity team at one of the world’s most successful publishing houses, Quadrille, so we could unashamedly snoop and pry within their bookshelves. We asked them when they started publishing those glossy, beautiful books, what new voices do they have lined up for us this year, which classic voices will they be revisiting, what do they think about food bloggers, and most importantly of all, what and where do they eat at lunchtime? Here are their answers to our questions.

At Quadrille, what would you say your areas of specialisation are in the cookery, food and drink writing, kitchen garden, grow your own, wild food etc genres? When did you start publishing in this area, historically, and what would you say is your unique selling point?

Quadrille began in 1994 with our first books appearing the following year. We are a non-fiction publisher with (we hope) a very good reputation in publishing food books. Our recent nominations in the Guild Food Writers awards showcases our diversity in what we publish with nominations in the following categories :  the Jeremy Round Award for Best First Book, the Kate Whiteman Award for Work on Food and Travel,  the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food and the Food Book of the Year Award. Our unique selling point is that we can turn a book idea into a book on the bookshelf in a very short space of time – given the opportunity!

Which books have you recently published in those genres and how have they been received by readers? How is 2011 going so far for Quadrille as the recession keeps many readers away from bookshops / and Amazon?

Since last Autumn, we’ve published ‘kitchen garden’ titles like “The Kitchen Garden Companion” and “A Taste of the Unexpected” as well as best-selling cookery books with Bill Granger and Anjum Anand. We’ve published highly regarded food writers such as Skye Gyngell and Mark Hix. Recently we published the hugely popular “Two Greedy Italians” which is the official television tie-in of the BBC series.

We’ve had a good start to the year, and our readers are very loyal to us. We generally publish most of our key titles in the Autumn, but with “Two Greedy Italians” we have a major bestseller for the Spring. We have also brought out successful non-food books with well known names such as Monty Don, which are all selling well. Our backlist in food is particularly strong, with names like Mark Hix, Skye Gyngell and Jason Atherton selling their core titles consistently well throughout the years.

What new voices and authors do you see coming through at this moment, and how does your office view the impact of social media and food bloggers on your industry?

Blogging is very important – in fact we’re publishing two well know bloggers in the New Voices in Food series, James Ramsden, author of “Small adventures in cooking” ( Twitter: @jteramsden) and Niamh Shields, author of “Comfort and Spice” ( Twitter: @eatlikeagirl). We are equally keen on social media with various Twitter accounts such as @QuadrilleFood @NewVoicesinFood @ClassicVoices. We also create one-off accounts for major titles like @ILoveCurry.

Having said all of this, we very much value the more traditional publicity avenues such as newspapers, magazines, television and radio. For example, Radio 4’s Food Programme recently had Mark Diacono ( Twitter: @MarkDoc) featured on the show, with Sheila Dillon, and the book has since risen very near to the top of the Amazon book chart which just shows the power of radio in driving book sales.

Who and what do you have your eye on as “up and coming” in terms of: new nationalities of cookery, new types of cookery, new areas of “grow your own”, drinks, foraging, or potential new authors who you would like to sign up? 

We think you will need to watch this space – we’d probably rather keep this to ourselves!

What advice might you give to very young food bloggers who would one day like to become fully fledged, published book authors. How would you guide them, if they have no experience?

We think it is very important to keep writing regular posts, and be consistent. There’s nothing worse than a blog that has regular entries, but then disappears for two months! It’s hard to be totally original with the overall volume of food blogs that now exist but we can’t get enough of a well written and visually exciting blog! We always look out for them and read them.

It is often said that unless a food or garden writer becomes a national T.V. celebrity, he/she cannot make a living out of just writing books. Would you agree, disagree, or do you have your own insight?

We would disagree! We think Mark Diacono is a very good example of this.

Are the staff in the Quadrille office foodie? Do you cook the books? Do you snack in the office? If so, what are the treats? Where do you eat your lunch? What is inside your lunch box?

The Quadrille staff are exceptionally foodie. We often try out recipes from the books especially any dessert books that we publish. We recently had a ‘Cake Week’ in aid of Shelter which went down a treat! We only have a small kitchen so many people eat lunch at their desks and the majority bring in their own salads, sandwiches and soups from home.

We love the local restaurants such as Terroirs, Bocca di Lupo, HIX, and the recently opened Cay Tre in Soho.

After all these years do the staff at Quadrille still get excited / enthusiastic / passionate about publishing a new book and why?

We still get very excited when a book we love and have worked hard on gets amazing coverage.  Knowing we have secured serialisations is a wonderful feeling! We also get very excited working with respected chefs and developing new series like ‘New Voices in Food’. We love publishing really great books!

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