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Which came first, the writer or the marketer?

May 2, 2013

We have a fabulous guest post today from seafoodie blogger and, now, columnist Maureen C. Berry. When I met Maureen at the conference a couple years ago, she was working on a blog about seafood–a passion of hers. Now she’s become a columnist. There are a lot of ways to make a living at our craft and this is just one of them. (Plus, she gets to eat food she really enjoys.) — Chris

Which came first, the writer or the marketer?

Big question these days.

What does a new-to-publishing food writer know about this dilemma?

Last week, I snagged my first paid food-writing column with a weekly newspaper. Then Chris Hamilton invited me to get out of my kitchen, away from my laptop and camera, and share my story.

I’d like to dissect the cause and consequence of my first question.

There are two possibilities. You can be a writer, and not a marketer, (probably not the smartest route to take,) and technically, you can be a marketer and not a writer (although a marketer needs the same skills as a writer, one word in front of the other).

Neither option is desirable without the other in today’s publishing world.

You see, just a few years ago, I knew little about writing a novel, a memoir, or a recipe. I knew less about publishing, and discipline. In 2009, my experience with writing was weekly seafood reports, monthly market recaps, and the old college thesis for the District Attorney’s office thirty years past. I was a burned-out sales and marketing rep and wanted to be a “writer.”

Then something happened. Insert three-chord organ riff. One night my husband, Elvis, Googled “Florida writing coach,” and I put down the NY Times, and minutes later, found Woodstream Writers and Jamie Morris.

Within weeks, I’d signed up for a one-on-one, and eventually joined Woodstream’s weekly writing workshops.

In 2010, I joined the Florida Writer’s Association. My goals were similar to yours perhaps: meet new friends, possibly a mentor, and attend cool conferences to listen to the sage advice of other writerly types.

During my first FWA pre-conference seminar on Social Media, I discovered I knew a little something. I had a social media presence, meaning, my blog ranked at the top of the Google page, and I contributed and shared marketing/Social Media tidbits with the conference instructor, Chris Hamilton.

Armed with a blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page, I was the poster child (in my mind) of a marketer turned writer. I tweeted, blogged, and told everyone who would listen, “I am a writer.” My projects included a cookbook, a food memoir, and then when there was a rash of break-ins in my neighborhood, I joined NaNoWriMo to begin a murder mystery, my first novel.

It didn’t matter my work sucked. I had marketing skills.

I got this, I remember thinking.

Except I didn’t.

Writing, like Social Media, takes time.

Both are a process. Both require patience. Both need scheduled. Blended together they become the recipe for success in the writing and publishing world.

Now I write, and I market. Both involve my kitchen timer.


Maureen C. Berry is a freelance food writer and blogger. She writes the weekly food column, “Around the Table with Maureen,” for Western Kentucky Review. She blogs Seafood Lady: fresh fish and other fishy business  and Cuisine by Maureen. She’s working on her food memoir, Hurricanes, Handcuffs, Pepper Spray, and Scrambled Eggs: an unexpected culinary adventure. Maureen lives in Western Kentucky with her husband and their wire fox terrier, Reagan. You can find out more about her at and @SeafoodLadyOrl.

  1. May 2, 2013 7:56 am

    body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;}Nice one!Tried to post a comment but for the second time recently got sideswiped by WordPress filter system and am stuck in Password Limbo.Later – Jack Owen

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