More Than Just A Cookbook: The Art of Telling Your Unique Story
Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves had a story to tell beyond those of the medieval feasts in their cookbook, “A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table.”
They just needed the media to listen to them.
Tricia, a gourmet cook and sous chef, and Lisa, a talented illustrator whose drawings fill their book, met while attending high school 40 miles south of Boston. They reconnected on Facebook 20-some years later and decided to work on the book that combines Tricia’s love of cooking and Lisa’s love of medieval history. The Skyhorse Publishing contract came in January 2015, just days before Lisa learned her father’s stage IV colon cancer had advanced and he had only months to live. Within days, Tricia’s father was placed in hospice for his stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
They put their book aside, but their friendship deepened as they sought each other’s support. Many times, said Tricia, “We’d just sit there and cry.” Then, Donald C. Graves and Walter Sandland died within 10 days of one another that April. To meet their publisher’s November deadline, the two women worked and mourned together – drawing upon lessons learned from their fathers, to whom they dedicated the book.
Huss Group agreed to help these talented authors boost their book sales on Amazon and in bookstores around the country through strategic public relations that included creating a viral video. We secured news features in newspapers, magazines and blogs, and TV show appearances and podcasts in three major national media markets, including New England, that provided them the opportunity to show audiences firsthand what they can do in a kitchen – with a little banter mixed in.
The result? With Huss Group’s assistance, the viral video telling the personal story behind the book got even more play as Huss successfully pitched the duo, booking four TV cooking segments. Tricia and Lisa marketed their talents in multiple ways, then shared their earned media and TV performances on their blog and social media pages. Readers give their book a five-star rating, and they’re working on a second cookbook, on colonial times. They’ve got big ideas to broaden their collaborative projects and, as they pitch these projects, the media attention received has increased their clout.
Key Huss Takeaways
“Nearly 700,000 books were self-published in 2015 alone. It’s a crowded market and in order to get these clients noticed, we had to dive into the story behind the story and communicate their passion for their families and hobbies. Their remarkable energy and joyful personalities comes across on camera, so we created a video for them – on a tight budget – to enhance our pitches. It worked.” – Sandra Tolliver, Huss Senior Associate