I will be the first to admit that it is difficult but also poses big rewards for those who can pull it off. The best place to start is locally by researching local cable and TV shows that use recipes or cooking as a part of their programming. Unlike a QVC whose sole purpose is to sell merchandise (including books) these local shows are for viewer entertainment; thus your approach must be different.
You should contact the local shows producer by sending a sample book, and a brief synopsis of why their viewers would want to be entertained with the information about the book including several different ideas for recipe demonstrations. Most local shows are looking for topics of local interest and enjoy being seen as friendly to local non-profits or companies.
Sheila Thomas, a publishing consultant with FRP (pictured in the photo below on the set of QVC's "In the Kitchen with Dave"), has gained valuable experience in both local TV media as well as national through on air appearances with QVC. Sheila has shared some relevant tips for anyone wanting to showcase your cookbook on television.
Tips for a Fun & Successful Cooking Demo
A local TV appearance is great for exposure for your cookbook and will hopefully lead to increased sales. Although a typical cooking demonstration is only 2 /12 to 4 minutes long,there are many things that can go wrong on live TV. It is worth your time to plan and prepare for each segment, this is a is a vital step to the success of the segment.
First, when you get a segment booked you will want to find out the following information right away.
- How long is the segment?
- Who is the host? Do your research and become familiar with the host. Know something about them; watch the show/host and how they engage with other guests.
- Is there a prep kitchen? Many local stations do not have prep areas
- Is there a permanent set? There maybe a stove on set, but it may not even work.
- Is the show live or taped?
- What is the show concept? The producers of the show are looking for you to provide their viewers with something interesting and fun, the viewers want to learn something new, something that will make their lives easier, better, tastier...
- What recipe will you demo? Choosing the right recipe for a demo is critical. You should always be on the lookout for a good demo recipe. A recipe that has an interesting ingredient, a technique that lends itself to allowing you to teach the viewer a quicker, better, easier way to do something like chopping an onion, or using a lovely bell pepper for a dip container. Make sure that you are offering good/correct information.
- Find 3 talking points that you want the viewer to remember – for a cookbook it could be the title, the author/organization, the projects benefiting from the sale of the cookbook, an event, that the recipes are triple tested, etc.
- Write down the flow of the demo recipe – break it out down so you can see where natural breaks are that will be perfect for interjecting a takeaway or demonstrating a technique
- Write down the ingredient breakdown
- Make your prep list
- Write down techniques/tips/ your message
- Think through the segment and make a list of what you will need for set décor (holiday, seasonal, event, theme of cookbook – the concept of the segment will help with this) List of equipment you will need.
- Practice, practice, practice
- Time yourself… how can you cut the time? How can you stretch it out?
- Provide a digital file of the recipe and information about the author/organization, your web address, facts about cookbook and where viewers can purchase your cookbook.
- Arrive 45 minutes to an hour before air-time.
- You should be completely set up 15 minutes prior to air time, walk in front of the set and look it over from the cameras angle.
- Bring all ingredients, tools for preparing, demonstrating, and a finished version of your recipe.
- Bring extra finished food for the crew – they love to eat and that is the quickest way to their hearts! I always take disposable plates, napkins and utensils, as most studios will not have this.
- Have fun!
After your segment, clean up quietly and go home, you may need to take your dishes home dirty if there is no prep kitchen.
Be yourself and have fun!
Favorite Recipes Press