The “So You Want to Write a Cookbook” contest (#signmesal) was inspired by the March Madness basketball tournament, and was conceived and orchestrated by Literary Agent Sally Ekus. Participants were asked to pitch their best culinary non-fiction ideas to the agency via Twitter and the contest was judged by the entire agency staff. Literary agent Sally Ekus believes, “The Tweet is the new elevator pitch. As social media has changed the way companies, especially publishers, look to conduct business and identify new talent, it made perfect sense to identify potential new writers through this medium.”
Over 100 contestants were narrowed down to sixteen, then eight, four, and two, before choosing one winner who was signed by Sally Ekus at The Lisa Ekus Group on March 27, 2013 at 4 pm. “The Twitter contest was a huge success,” said Sally Ekus on Wednesday. “Not only did it challenge the participants to pitch quickly and effectively, it helped The Lisa Ekus Group take a fresh look at how we review projects. The conversations were lively and occasionally heated. In the end, we were all 100% in agreement on the winner. Publishers are already expressing interest in the project.” said Sally Ekus.
The winner, twenty-five year old Ashley Blom of Greenfield, Massachusetts, writes and manages the blog Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine, cooking and blogging after her day job as a Marketing Assistant at The Sandri Companies. She has been blogging on and off since age thirteen and her cookbook concept was “life advice for lost twenty-somethings with recipes designed to save your sanity while you're trying to figure it all out.” The book will discuss which recipes are best for breakups, layoffs, and zero bank account balances. Ashley’s ideas included recipes like crappy liquor upgrades (vodka infusions), bad lay mac’n'cheese, got-the-job chocolate cake, breakup nachos, and fancy-on-the-cheap party appetizers.
“We feel confident that in Ashley’s voice and vision we have found emerging talent. I am excited to see her concept develop, from tweet to proposal to published book. Ashley’s sense of humor and her self-awareness are a natural fit for our generation of cooks and writers,” said Sally Ekus.