One of the seminars I attended at the Industry Invitational at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic was about cocktail books. Titled “Is There a Book Idea On Your Cocktail Menu,” the seminar was sponsored by Chatham Imports and moderated by Kara Newman. Brad Thomas Parsons, author of Bitters; Jim Meehan, author of the PDT Cocktail; Lori Narlock, a PR professional and book author; and Maks Pazuniak and Kirk Estopinal, bartenders and authors of the self-published Beta Cocktails book all gave their experiences on writing cocktail books.
(L-R) Brad Thomas Parsons, Jim Meehan, Kara Newman, Lori Narlock, Kirk Estopinal, Maks Pazuniak
Moderator Kara Newman asked Brad Thomas Parsons to begin. He described being a writer who wrote an article about bitters and then he thought it would also make a good book. He would then spend time writing the book proposal and looking for an agent who looked for a publisher. It took about a year and half of research and writing then almost another year before it was published.
On the other hand, bartenders Kirk Estopinal and Maks Pazuniak bypassed that process by writing the book and uploading it to a self-publishing website. I had a quick glance through the book and loved the photographs and recipes. But the writer in me cringed at some of the typos. It seemed to me though the book would serve as a good guide to some of the more creative cocktails modern bartenders are coming up with.
It seemed appropriate Jim Meehan was on this panel as his PDT Cocktail Book is nominated for Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book at Tales of the Cocktail. He’s edited two editions of Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide and frequently contributes writing to other publications and online sites. He cautioned the crowd and asked them to do their research before writing the book. He knew for his own book which was published through Sterling which is owned by Barnes and Noble, the store needed a book that was a beautiful and appropriate for display.
Jim Meehan also gave a little bit more background on being your own marketing team.You have to be good with social media- Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc. Who else is going to sell your book? Also networking is good.
Some other tips included:
The proposal should be 2 pages.
Name check – read who’s acknowledged in the books you like.
And the agent is not your mom.
© The Minty // LACocktails.com 2012