Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 2

salad-210717_150You’ve been dining out ever since you were knee high to a Grasshopper pie. That experience accompanied by a generous serving of solid writing skills, and a side dish of smart market research, ensures that you can eat, drink and make money.

 

Getting restaurant reviews published in e-zines, blogs or sites such as http://www.tripadvisor.com/ is easier than getting your byline in traditional media, but it’s harder to find good pay, typically.

However, the ‘net is an all-u-can-eat buffet of facts to spice up your articles. One of my favorite food websites is http://www.epicurious.com. In addition to the ‘net and reference staples such as a thesaurus, the restaurant review writer’s larder should be stocked with ethnic, foreign, specialty and classic cookbooks.

A file folder stuffed with samples of other writers’ restaurant critiques is inspiring, especially after you’ve written several reviews and are starving for a fresh way to say “delicious.”

As always, you’ll ascertain the target publication’s preferences in word count, slant, attitude and so forth to avoid rejections. There are questions to sift out that are unique to writing restaurant critiques. My sumptuous article about a French restaurant was rejected because the magazine only accepted restaurant reviews of restaurants that had advertised in their
publication. Getting the mag’s submission guidelines would have spared me from disappointment.

Find out if reviewers are paid a standard fee. Are they reimbursed for meals? Who provides the photos? Are menu prices listed? Is dinner dinner or is dinner supper? Are restaurants rated on a five-fork scale? How are negative opinions expressed? (Most editors prefer to publish positive, yet honest critiques.)

Are readers likely to know what fricassee means? Is the chef’s or manager’s bio mentioned? Is the writing sensual or businesslike or technical? Are storytelling techniques used? Apart from all those permutations of policy and style, the prime objective of restaurant reviews is informing readers what to expect if they dine at the reviewed restaurant. The second objective is entertaining readers, regardless.

Before zeroing in on a specific restaurant to review, look for gaps in the target publication’s coverage. Have previous articles covered downtown cafes, but skimped on bistros and diners in the ‘burbs and hinterlands? What about vegetarian restaurants? Kosher restaurants? How about an article that focuses on restaurants serving wild game? When a new restaurant pops up, be the first to pop your piece de resistance in the mail to an editor.

****

It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan. Bento, moshi and udan replace lunch box, rice and spaghetti. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC. Please like the brand new site https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.

article by Beth Fowler

article by Beth Fowler

Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 1

by Beth Fowler

If you like to dine out and you like to write, then earning money writing restaurant reviews might be your cup of tea. Cracking into this market requires the usual strategies and some specialized tactics for writers ready to dig into the smorgasbord of opportunities.

Look for restaurant reviews in the pages of newspapers, magazines and websites that have already published your work. Editors are more inclined to consider work from writers they know than from unknowns. The newspaper features editor, who knew that his boss had accepted my travel articles, bought my first restaurant article. (Since then I’ve sold a baker’s dozen of restaurant reviews.) If the editors of publications (hard copy and online) in which your byline has appeared haven’t published restaurant reviews, maybe they’d be open to the idea if it’s pitched right.

Let’s say that “The Town Times” doesn’t publish restaurant reviews. The editor might be amenable to publishing a restaurant column if he or she feels confident that you can deliver. Approach the editor with a mouth-watering proposal, samples of your work, that is, a buffet of two or three restaurant reviews with quality photos from eateries within the geographical area the newspapers’ readers live, work and dine. The length of each restaurant review should be about the same length as the newspaper’s other lifestyle pieces, such as those covering gardening, music, art and literature. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – be clear about how often you’re expected to eat out and write a column. Weekly? Monthly?

If a newspaper or magazine currently publishes restaurant reviews, check if the same person always writes the articles. Unless the authors are big names with their own TV shows on the foodie channel and cookbooks to their credit, you could, without stepping on the steady writers’ tacos, offer to be a “guest contributor.” A magazine I frequently wrote business articles for published batches of restaurant reviews in each issue  – all written by the editor, so I continued happily submitting business articles.

If the reviews are under various bylines, this is an indication that freelance submissions are accepted and chances are better for gaining entrée into that publication. Some publications publish reviews without bylines. Compare the
style and tone of the reviews, and you can probably tell if the same person or several people wrote them.

In-flight magazines feature restaurant reviews and travel articles that include verbiage about restaurants. As always, study “house style” and take note of the photos. In-flight magazines tend to publish high-quality photos. The slicker the magazine, the higher the odds that the editor requires professionally shot images and might even assign a photographer. In-flight magazines need articles about the destinations and popular tourist sites close to the airlines’ normal routes. Articles highlighting restaurants serving regional cuisine are popular with in-flights. You don’t have to live in an exotic locale to write for in-flight magazines – every place is someplace else to someone else.

“Follow” to receive Eat, Drink, Make Money: Part 2 as soon as it’s out of the oven.

***

(C) Beth Fowler 2014It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan.  Bento, moshi and udan replace lunch box, rice and spaghetti. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC. Please like the brand new site https://www.facebook.com/kenswar