In episode 305, Megan chats with Yvette Marque, passionate Latina behind Muy Bueno Cookbook, about channeling your passion so it becomes your work and enjoy what you do.
We cover information about how to turn your passion into an income, encouragement to treat your blog like a business and how to know if a cookbook is the right move for you.
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Bio Yvette Marquez is an Emmy-winning producer and writer, award-winning food blogger, and author of Muy Bueno and Latin Twist. She is a second-generation Mexican-American, born and raised in El Paso, Texas and currently lives in Colorado. She has been sharing cherished family Mexican recipes since 2010. Her blog is the perfect destination for anyone looking to embrace their culture through food, fiestas, and family life. Yvette has been featured in several prominent publications, websites, radio, and TV.
There’s other ways that you can pitch yourself to monetize until you can monetize with ads.
Pitch yourself to anything/anyone that you enjoy using in your life. Don’t strictly think food either. Sponsorships are a great opportunity.
Live video and cooking classes are fun ways to grow your skills and your business.
Help other bloggers with writing, graphic design, photography, recipe development.
Be a contributor to online publications. They need content and you want backlinks and places to grow your reach.
Think about what motivates you to want a cookbook. Determine what kind of cookbook you want. E-book, self-published or traditionally published cookbook.
Cookbooks take a lot of work so make sure you can dedicate your time to doing a good job.
Find a literary agent to help you find the publisher for your cookbook baby.
Check Out More About Growing A Passion
In episode 132, Jen Lefforge shares how her passion grew a YouTube channel.
In The Kitchen with Cook Smarts podcast: Mexican Pantry Staples
Pass The Chipotle podcast: Interview with food blogger, Yvette Marquez
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Yvette Marquez: Hola. This is Yvette Marquez from Muy Bueno and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Hey awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk. Scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay. Now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: Hey there, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This is the podcast for food bloggers who are looking for the value and the confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 305. Today I have Yvette Marquez with me. She is going to talk to us about growing a passion into a successful business. Yvette is the Latina and founder behind the Mexican food site muybuenocookbook.com.
She is an Emmy winning producer and writer, food blogger, and author of Muy Bueno, Latin Twist and a third cookbook due out in 2023. Hi, Yvette. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m so excited to chat with you.
Yvette Marquez: Thank you. I am excited to be here.
Megan Porta: Yes, we have a super awesome topic too. But before we get into it, what fun fact do you have to share with us today?
Yvette Marquez: As a food blogger, I think people think I was just a natural in the kitchen, but the funny thing is I was not interested in cooking until after I was married and had our first child. My family used to tease me and say that I was never going to get married because I hated to cook.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Look at you now. Oh my goodness. Making cookbooks and having an awesome blog. Your story is not super unique. I’ve had a handful of food bloggers make that same confession here on the podcast that they didn’t like cooking at all, or they just didn’t do it until they were an adult and really got into blogging. So that’s really interesting.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah, that is. I’m glad I’m not alone.
Megan Porta: Yes, you are not alone. So I would love to start with your story because you have such a great story about growing up with your mom and your grandma cooking and how that has evolved into this just amazing story about how now your life is full of food. So do you want to start there? Just tell us about how you grew up and about those recipes that you made together and all of that?
Yvette Marquez: Yes, for sure. I am Mexican American. My grandma was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. My mom was a single parent and my grandma lived next door to my mom. So it was like I had two moms. My mom was working and so when I would go to school, I’d come back home and go to grandma’s house which was right next door. My grandma would just wait for me to get home. Make flour tortillas. That was just her tradition every day, making homemade flour tortillas. I’d sit at her kitchen table and I tell her about my day, but most of all, I love to hear her stories. Like I could hear her stories on repeat and I used to love hearing about her as a little girl in Mexico and crossing over to the United States during the Mexican revolution. Those were just stories that I just love to hear over and over. It carried me through as an adult and it was just something that I was so proud of to know that story. So food was just always the center of our homes. Every day there was always homemade food. So many people always ask me did you grow up eating Mexican food? Yes, but we just called it food. It was just a part of who we are and how we ate. My grandma was an amazing cook and always had something on the stove top and the visitors were to come and visit, there was always food. She was always offering food. That’s actually how I named my blog, Muy Bueno, because she would always say, sientete a comer, esta muy bueno, which means sit down and eat, it’s very good. So that was just the honor of wanting to continue that legacy.
Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh. That is such a cool story. You just painted a picture of a little girl sitting and listening to her grandma talk. The center of that was food. I love that so much. What a great way to name your blog too, after that special memory. Is your grandma still living?
Yvette Marquez: No. I wish. She passed away in 2004. So she lived to be 98 years old, which was amazing. I think that was another big aha moment, after she passed away to store all of these memories and all those delicious foods and everything that she was famous for, I didn’t want that to go with her. So I just wanted to keep all those traditions alive. My daughter at the time was like a year and a half. I just kept thinking, I want to be, I want to be that grandma. My children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren remember those same things about me. So that’s what is a big aha moment that I just definitely wanted to keep those traditions alive.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Because that’s meaningful. Carrying meaning into your business, I think makes it more powerful and it makes it more effective. It just gives it a boost of everything good. If there’s no meaning behind it, then it’s hard to keep going and keep it alive, really. You’ve done such a good job of that. Putting meaning in it from the start. That’s like the core – things like love and meaning and memories and family and food. It has worked for you. So you’ve turned a passion into purpose. Which I think we’re all like, oh, that’s so cool. Because a lot of bloggers don’t start that way. And we have to go back and sprinkle the passion in, if that makes sense.
Yvette Marquez: Yes. I totally agree with that.
Megan Porta: So speak to that a little bit. If somebody is listening and they’re like, yup, that’s me. I need to sprinkle in some passion. Do you have tips or words of encouragement for those people?
Yvette Marquez: Yeah, and I think thankfully, before I even knew about blogging. I’ve always said that I’ve been addicted to my family heritage. I’ve always wanted to learn where I came from, where exactly my grandma grew up. I just was addicted to hearing those stories all of my life. So I think when blogging came out or when I started it, it came natural for me just because that was what I was so passionate about. I just wanted to figure out how to do it. Before I started blogging, I actually did a little documentary movie before there was any YouTube. I was researching my family history and trying to do as much as I can. I actually interviewed my grandma and did like a little video of her and her sister who at the time was already 99. It was just amazing that they remembered all these stories when they were little girls. I just thought that was amazing. So now I have that on my YouTube channel just because it’s so special. But yeah, I think, when it comes to blogging, it’s so hard because I think it is now a business. Where, when we all started blogging initially, it was just a hobby and to share what we loved. I think it’s just a matter of putting that back into perspective. If you have a dream job, you want to do something that you love. Blogging is a dream job. If it’s something that you’re excited about and love, it’s just gonna benefit all around.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So finding the parts of it, because there are so many parts of it that as we all know that do light you up and provide that passion and just digging into those more. We don’t all have amazing stories like you do with finding meaning through your grandma. I think that’s so awesome. But there are ways to tap into the passions without having that family history.
Yvette Marquez: For sure.
Megan Porta: You have more to your story because you had an abrupt departure from your full-time job. I would love to hear about that and how you decided to pursue your blog full-time after that. How did that all go, come about?
Yvette Marquez: Yeah. So I started my blog in 2010. The way I started my blog was because I really wanted to write a cookbook. I honestly had no idea how I was going to write it. I was a graphic designer. That was my business. That was my career. I worked for a company for many years. On the side, it was my daughter who was actually only eight years old at the time who had the idea of me writing a cookbook. She’s you should really write all these recipes down so that when I go to college, I can have a book. I was like, oh my gosh. That’s such a great idea. I was like, okay I’m a graphic designer. I can do a little Shutterfly cookbook for our family and just have it for my children and for my children’s children. That’s where I had the idea of just doing something like that.
It was a friend of mine who said, you should start a blog. I literally had to Google, what is a blog? I had no idea what a blog was. Again, this was 2010. I was like, oh, I can design a little website and a logo and just start sharing at least some recipes so that I don’t have to email them to family and friends. That’s the way I figured. It was four. So then that was in 2010. As the blog grew, other people were like, Ooh, where can I buy this cookbook? I was just like, oh gosh, like this is just a family cookbook. I didn’t think anybody else would be interested in this. They’re like, no, your family’s stories sound like my family stories and your recipes that have made taste like my recipes. I love that cookbook. So then that’s when I started researching thinking like maybe I can figure out how to make a real published cookbook. During that process, writing a cookbook takes months and years, and it takes a while. As I was going through that process, I was still blogging, still working my full-time job. I would come home late at night and I was just so excited about the blog that I would stay up till two or three in the morning and then go to work full time and be a mom, come home and be a wife. It was just a lot. Just one day I remember, it was hysterical. This is a funny story. I went and got my nails done, like during my lunch hour at work. It was taking really long and I was getting really nervous thinking like, shoot, I’ve already been gone an hour and a half. So by the time I get back, I’m sure I’m going to get in trouble. I rarely ever even took a lunch hour. I would always eat at my desk and just work through work to try and get out as soon as I could. But then that day I got back to my office and I had a little post-it on my computer that said, come see me, from my boss.
Megan Porta: You thought it was about your nails.
Yvette Marquez: So then I was scared thinking. Yeah, I was late and I’m going to get in trouble and they’re like, oh yeah, we have some bad news. We need to lay you off. It was so very, that was it. And sorry, and go ahead and pack up your stuff. I’m like, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry. Because it was just that weird moment. I carried the benefits, I’ve never not had a job. We have a kid and I just had another baby. I was like, oh my gosh, how am I going to do this? Our son was having medical issues. We had all kinds of medical bills. So it’s that moment of panic, like, how the hell are we going to do this? I remember I called my husband and my car was in the shop. So I was like, you have to pick me up. He’s wow, it’s only two o’clock. I was like yeah, I need to get home. Yeah, so I was laid off and it was just. What am I going to do? And after that, after doing the blog at that point, I was already starting to get sponsored work. So I was already working with clients and thinking like, there is a way to make money. I didn’t even know at the time that you can monetize with ads. That was like, I had no idea about that. It was more where brands started approaching me and wanting to collaborate. I was like, okay, I’ve done marketing, I’ve done graphic design. I can put together a media kit, a pitch letter, a proposal, and I could start pitching brands. Just telling my husband, I was like, I think I can turn this blog into some kind of business. So give me a few months and I can make this work. I was just, I was ready. I was excited. It was just finally like an opportunity, an open door that I just knew I could turn into something. That’s what I did, I designed my little media kit with my whole, I have 10,000 monthly views. I was so excited, but it was more about I think my story that just caught people’s attention and my excitement about the Mexican food that I grew up with and figuring out how to tie these brands with my story really resonated with a lot of these brands that I continue to work with today.
Megan Porta: Okay. As you were talking, Yvette, I have to tell you this, there are so many uncanny similarities to my story in your story. It is crazy. I started my blog in 2010. I was a graphic designer. I got laid off. I had the post-it note on my computer after a lunch break. My husband, I’m not kidding you. Like we had just gotten back from vacation. So he dropped me off at work that day, so I didn’t have a car. So I had to call him and tell him to come get me. I know it is because I have goosebumps. It is so weird. I too after it happened, I was like, you know what? I think I can do this. Give me a few months and I’ll show you. I just dug in. So crazy, but I know. I want to hear some tips. Do you have any tips for us on monetizing, because I know that this can be a really overwhelming, daunting word for people, especially newer bloggers who are not yet monetizing at all. So share with us some of your best advice about maybe how to monetize. How you did, how that has gone for you and evolved for you. Just anything you have for us.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah. I think the number one thing that I would recommend or suggest, just the way it happened to work out for me. So many people I think now are about the views and trying to get approved for some type of ad network. But in the meantime, there’s other ways that you can pitch yourself to monetize. That’s the way I started getting sponsored projects. So just developing recipes with clients’ products. Now I feel like it’s so much easier. There wasn’t Instagram when we first started. Even just Instagram alone to figure out how you can work with a brand to share it on Instagram and be an influencer. I also did cooking demos and now with everything there’s so many live video opportunities. There’s ways to partner with that. It’s not just about food too. I’ve partnered with companies like Toyota, which I would have never thought that I would have been able to partner with. But they wanted to promote Dia de Los Muertos, day of the dead, which is one of my favorite celebrations. So I’ve done videos with them. I’ve also done live cooking demos with them. I think you could think outside the box and start thinking of every brand. When I first started, I was like, okay, what are the brands that I use? I opened up my pantry. I opened up my cabinet, my clothes that I wear, everything. Even though I wasn’t really doing clothes or anything like that at the time. But just thinking if I could work with my dream clients, who would it be? It was just the day to day brands that I started reaching out to. I still work with Kroger who’s one of my number one clients who I worked with for years. Same thing with Land O’Lakes butter. It’s a butter that I grew up with and so it is nice to just feel comfortable with these brands that I’ve worked with. Like I said, as a graphic designer, I designed a little media kit and just sold myself. Just really promoted my story, my passion, my excitement, and showed examples of how I can work with them. Now I feel it’s so formal and so legal but I still feel there are so many brands out there that don’t know how to work with an influencer. Yes, they might have worked once or twice with somebody, or maybe they have all the time and now they’re better at it, but there’s still a way that you can pitch yourself and how you can make it unique. So I think there’s still that opportunity. Then of course, as you’re growing with your traffic, then you can also monetize with ads. That took forever for me to even want to do that because, as I started realizing that you can monetize with ads, I started looking at other blogs and I was like, Ooh, I don’t want ads all over my website. Even though I was a graphic designer, I knew about advertising. I think maybe that’s why I didn’t want it because to me it was so glaring. But after a while I realized that’s our life. That’s everyday you open up a magazine, there’s an ad. You turn on the TV, there’s a commercial. That’s life. I think initially there are a lot of bloggers. Getting harassed about it saying oh, I used to love your stuff, but now you have all these ads. But it’s like after a while, okay. They’re on every other news outlet out there that has ads. It’s just a part of the reality of life. So if you can monetize on that, why not? What I love about when you work with an ad network is that you can be picky and choosy about what type of advertising you want on your blog. That’s what like I said, I didn’t even know that existed until years later. I was like, oh, if I would’ve known that I would have done it a long time ago. But yeah, I think ads now are huge. It’s just amazing, like I said, I wish I would’ve known about it sooner. But yeah, it’s just a great way to grow once you do get to that point to be able to monetize with ads.
Megan Porta: The great thing about today is that there are so many other options to monetize while you’re waiting to get ads on your site. The options are absolutely endless. You touched on getting brand work, sponsored work through Instagram and other avenues, but you could do cooking classes. You can create an ebook and sell that. You can create a course. There are so many ways. You can be a freelancer for other bloggers doing the tasks that they don’t want to do. Social media management. I could go on and on.
Yvette Marquez: That’s what I remember. As my husband always says, he’s like such the bigger picture. He’s always wondering what are you going to do in five years from now? I don’t know. I would have never been able to predict there was a pandemic. But who knows, but like you said, there’s so many avenues to be able to monetize. If I wanted to go back into graphic design, I could. I could freelance, I could do it. There’s so many things and so many opportunities once you do have a blog.
Megan Porta: Right? Even with graphic designing, you could produce logos or website design for other bloggers. There are so many routes. You could create graphics, Pinterest graphics. There’s so many different kinds of things that we create on a daily basis. So just give it some thought and figure out what you’re really good at and what lights you up. A little creativity goes a long way. Do you have any other tips to share with us about monetizing? Other ways to think outside the box before we move on.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah, like you were saying, I think there’s so many opportunities. I remember in the beginning, I designed logos for other bloggers. I designed a cookbook for another cookbook author. I was a photo stylist for different campaigns. So even though I really didn’t know photography myself, I was working with a photographer and learning how to style. As I’ve evolved, then there’s been other ways to monetize. Obviously, now that I have my cookbooks and now I have Muy Bueno, and then I also have Latin Twist. Now I’m working on my third cookbook right now, but. Yeah. I’m super excited about it. When it comes to cookbooks, whether you traditionally publish or self-published, there’s just so many different ways that you can even just monetize a book or an ebook, which is amazing. Then I used to do cooking demos and speaking engagements. There’s times where I traveled more. As I remember, one of my first opportunities was with avocados from Mexico and they said, I think it, what was the conference?
Megan Porta: Blogger? Yes.
Yvette Marquez: Blogger food.
Megan Porta: I went to a few of those conferences.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah, it was in Seattle. That was one of my very first food blogging conferences. I just couldn’t believe how many people were there. I was like, my gosh, here I thought blogging was so new. At the time just thinking wow, there’s so much I need to learn. I had no idea how big this was. But I went because Avocados From Mexico asked if I could be there to represent them. So I was their person and what was, I did that one. Then they sent me to the food and wine festival Cancun. I was like, okay, I’m getting a free trip out, going to Mexico and, Meeting all these celebrity chefs and it was just amazing. I just couldn’t believe the opportunities that were available with this type of business.
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Megan Porta: I feel like if you keep your eyes open and allow that space for opportunities to come your way, you really can find the most creative and fulfilling things to fill your business and to just set out on a new path. There’s so much there, but we need to allow that in because we can get so I don’t know, just set on the path of ads that we don’t allow those other things to come into view, if that makes sense.
Yvette Marquez: For sure. I think I know the number one thing that I always tell people, it’s don’t be afraid to ask. There’s things like that, those opportunities, I feel like so many people would have been intimidated to ask for, but it doesn’t hurt to ask because the worst they can say is no. So if there’s something out there that you can pitch yourself for, just do it. That’s what I started from the beginning. I would reach out to People magazine, Latina magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine, and just pitch my story. Of course wanting to share a recipe and more than likely it’s so many magazines are dying for this. For you, it’s free advertising and for them it’s content. So if you want to first get started and get your name out there, then offer recipes as a contributor. Being a contributor was also a huge thing that helped me out in the beginning.
Megan Porta: I think that’s a good thing to point out is that the other side of it. So the magazines, the news stations, those people need content. We often think that we’re like a nuisance or annoying by asking, but it might actually be really helpful for them.
Yvette Marquez: Exactly. That’s just free advertising for yourself.
Megan Porta: Yeah. The news station, that’s a new avenue too that people are exploring that I really love. I did that a couple of times to promote my cookbook and it was terrifying, but it was good for just facing a fear and for honing in on my speaking. In an environment like that, it was so scary, but it helped me. It helped me grow and gave me some contacts. There’s something good that comes out of all of those opportunities, even if they sound intimidating and scary.
Yvette Marquez: Yes. Yes. Once you do that, what’s also great is if you’re sponsored or in an ambassadorship with a brand, you can share that service. You can say, with this egg partnership, we can look into what live segments we can do in our local news station. That’s just another opportunity or another service that you can provide.
Megan Porta: So you and I, Yvette, we were launched into exploring our dreams when we got, I was actually technically fired. I don’t know. It was a weird situation. But not everyone is. I know there are some people who are in full-time jobs, they don’t want to be. They would rather be blogging and in charge of their schedules. So give us some encouragement. How do we chase our dreams? Both personally and professionally.
Yvette Marquez: I always think about that. What if I wasn’t laid off. Would I have gone full force? I think that’s what had to happen for me in order for me to make the leap and really make it happen. No matter what, I would have written a cookbook and I would have done that, but I don’t think maybe my blog would have fully grown if I wouldn’t have had that extra time. So I think so many people want a magic number. Okay once I start making at least what I’m already making, that might take a long time. I always say have a little fear and your fear is going to motivate you to work really hard. It’s just going to help you push you a lot faster. So if you’re making even just half of what you’re making, if you leave your job now and can make that later in two months versus six months from now, because you’re just waiting. I think it’s just that hurdle that we need to get over. It’s always easier said than done because it’s easy to get comfortable in a job that’s paid, when you’re going to get your two week paycheck and initially to not know where money’s going to come from is really scary. So I totally get that. I think it’s just truly about your comfortability. But I know that for me, that fear of wanting to prove that I can make it happen. Is what really catapulted my success.
Megan Porta: There’s always a way, when I got let go from my job, I was so scared. Here’s another similarity; our oldest son has medical issues. At the time it was like, I had really great health insurance and I could not have pulled myself away from that job on my own because of that alone. So I was just finding a way to justify that. What are we going to do? So all of that to say, there’s always a way, because I was launched into this situation where I had to figure that out. My husband and I did. We had money to figure out I made most of the money in the family. But it worked out and it worked out really well. So if I can make that work. I promise you whatever situation you are in, you can make it work too. It is scary. I do acknowledge that, sometimes. But yeah, there’s a way .
Yvette Marquez: Yeah, I agree. Like you said, there are so many opportunities that there’s just always something that you can do. I remember, even just growing the business and hiring outside people and thinking like, wow, there’s virtual assistants that I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Now, to know that if you are a great writer, you can be writing for other people and making that on the side. It’s just, there’s so many things out there that people can do depending on what their strengths are.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Completely agree. I want to hear about your cookbooks. So I’m excited to hear about your third one, but would you mind telling us about your first two and then just giving us a teaser to your next one.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah. My first one is named after my blog, so it’s Muy Bueno. It’s three generations of authentic Mexican flavor. I co-wrote it with my mom and my sister. So it’s beautiful, I just love it because just going through this process again, thinking about how much older my kids are now compared to my first cookbook, there’s pictures in my cookbook of my kids. It’s just so beautiful to not only have this as a personal legacy, but to have this published and for other people to see. Just to know that my kids can see this later and think oh my gosh, our pictures are in there. Eating a little Popsicle or holding their favorite platter of food and just having all these stories in there. So it’s, like I said, I co-wrote it with my mom and my sister and it’s recipes from my grandma who is from Chihuahua, Mexico. Recipes that my mom always made growing up from southern Mexico or Southern Texas flair. I don’t want to say TexMex because I feel like if you’ve ever been to El Paso, it’s definitely not TexMex. It’s a very Northern Mexican cuisine style of food. Then the next generation are recipes that me and my sister came up with. So more of a modern Latin flavor. That’s how my blog continues. There’s some old world Mexican recipes and then there’s some modern fusion recipes. So that’s my first cookbook, Muy bueno. Then my second cookbook is Latin Twist and I actually co-wrote that with a food blogger. One of my good friends who has a blog and her blog is Sweet Life Bake. The way that started with funny, is I always used to call her the margarita queen because she just always would share tons of fabulous margaritas. I was like, you need to write a cocktail book. At the time I had just written Muy Bueno. I was like, I can introduce you to my publisher and maybe I can design it for you. Because you know, still I was looking for ways to make money. I was like I can help you with this. Then I remember after that meeting with her, this was after a conference, I was flying home and I was thinking now, it’d be awesome if I teamed up with her and we write this book together and not only just margaritas, cause I want her to do that eventually, but to do just all Latin cocktails. So we named it Latin Twist and it’s all cocktail recipes from all of Latin America and Spain. So that was just a fun project.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh.
Yvette Marquez: We had to really research all of these different alcohols and spirits and try to figure out replacements or substitutions for the everyday person, if they can’t find some of those alcohols. So yeah, that was a really fun project. Now I’m working on my third cookbook, which is also going to be called Muy Bueno, but are you ready for the full title?
Megan Porta: Let’s hear it.
Yvette Marquez: It’s Muy Bueno Fiestas. I’m sure everybody always asks you, what’s your favorite dish? That’s so hard to answer when, for me, it’s all about seasonal cravings. Right now that it’s spring, I’m craving. We celebrate the Lenten season, which is the time before Easter. We do a lot of meat-free dishes on Friday. So I crave a lot of the dishes that I grew up with, enchiladas every Friday or tuna fish because we could eat seafood. For me, it’s always a different answer depending on the time of year. I really wanted a cookbook to honor that because that’s how I eat and that’s how I celebrate. So this cookbook is celebrating American and Mexican holidays. Just all the menus that go with that holiday, whether you want to host a Fiesta or whether you just want to make a special celebratory dinner at home for that special occasion, it’s educating on what those holidays are about and just sharing how I cook for those holidays.
Megan Porta: I feel like you should come visit me because I love everything you were saying. My husband and I actually bonded over Mexican food and margaritas. That was like our first thing. We both were like, I love Margarita’s and he makes the best margarita hands down. I’ve never had a better one than his. So you need to come over and we need to share our stories and our food together.
Yvette Marquez: I’m all for that now that we can travel again, I’m ready. Let’s go.
Megan Porta: Oh, exactly. I loved hearing about your cookbooks and I want to go buy them all right now, because all of that sounded so delicious and I love the tie back to your family. I was just looking at your blog too, and everything is so beautiful there. Your photography is so beautiful. Do you take your own photos, right?
Yvette Marquez: I do not. When I first started. I finally learned photography. I’ve always been a graphic designer, I knew how to edit photos and I knew how to take pretty good photos, but I didn’t know the ins and outs of photography. I was teaching myself and I was for the longest time taking my own photos. But after a while, I remember going to one conference and hearing somebody say, you know that as you’re growing to figure out what brings you joy. Whatever doesn’t bring you joy, outsource it.
Megan Porta: Yeah. No, I love that.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah. I was like, I’m spending so much money trying to figure out what the best lens is or what the best camera body is and buying different camera bags for different trips. Tripods and all this stuff. I was like, that’s just not exciting me. I’m not into that technology. It was just more stressful, especially once you’re cooking and you’re taking pictures and then you’re stopping and then you’re making sure the photo turned out. Okay. Then you have flour all over your face and you’re exhausted and you have to clean up and then you have to edit the photos. I was like, that’s just not bringing me joy. Yeah, as I’ve grown along now I do outsource that and I have an amazing photographer. Her name is Jenice Arcs and we batch photos. So for the blog, every two weeks we have our photo shoot days and we crank out like 10 recipes. That’s how we work.
Megan Porta: That’s efficient. I love it. Efficiency. Okay. I want you to talk to people who maybe are considering writing a cookbook. What are your pieces of advice for them, whether to do it or not? Do you have any specific tips, like things you learned along the way that would be helpful before diving into it.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah I think the first thing to decide is what type of book you want to publish. So many people want to publish a cookbook, but they just don’t know what kind. So you know, whether you want to do an ebook and do it yourself, then that’s a great thing. For me, I love print. I love opening a book. I love feeling and touching. I love the smell of paper. So I just wanted a book that you can hold. Like I said, initially I was going to do a self-published book, but as the idea grew and my audience grew, then I wanted to figure out if I can traditionally publish. When you traditionally publish, it’s a process. You have to write a proposal. A proposal in itself is like writing another book. Just with this last book, it was close to a year of writing a proposal. So it’s just a long process. Then once you have a proposal, then you need to find a literary agent.
Then you gotta look for a literary agent who’s interested in you. Now I feel there’s, it’s a lot more challenging because there are so many bloggers out there. Some people who have millions of followers, huge audiences. That’s going to be more appealing to literary agents and publishers, because you already have your built-in audience.
If you don’t have that, what’s going to make you unique. So you have to write all those types of things in your proposal. But yeah it’s a process. I just was writing out my own timeline just to figure out how long this was going on. I wrote my Proposal was all of basically 2019. Then finally, I started looking for a literary agent. Finally found a literary agent who’s amazing. The Ekus group.
Megan Porta: Oh yes, love them.
Yvette Marquez: So Sally is another great source of knowledge for anybody who wants to learn more about the whole cookbook world, you can follow her on Instagram. She also does courses on how to write a cookbook. There’s just so many things out there nowadays that are not available. I remember I ordered this one book and I don’t even think it’s around anymore, but it’s like how to write a proposal. It was like my little Bible when I first wrote my first cookbook. I think as long as you find the steps in whatever book you want, however, book you want to write, just go through those steps because there literally is so much information nowadays.
Megan Porta: Oh, there is, there’s so much free information. Then if you’re smart about finding the really good stuff that you need to pay for, there’s so many great ways to invest in just getting good information back too.
Yvette Marquez: For sure.
Megan Porta: So cookbooks, you recommend doing them. I’m just curious about what kind of vision do you need? Or like what goals? Writing a cookbook isn’t for everyone. So what would be some main goals to align with, to know if you should pursue this or not?
Yvette Marquez: That was a big. What’s the word, question I had to ask myself. Do I want to go through this again? Because to me it’s like giving birth. You’re pregnant, you’re miserable, you’re tired, you’re exhausted and it’s just a lot of work. It takes a lot of energy and time. And it’s just a lot. But once you have it and that baby book is born. You love it. It’s just like the most amazing feeling to have this creation in your arms. So for me, when I started going through this process again, did I really want to do this? Because bottom line not, everybody’s gonna make a bunch of money writing a book. That’s the farthest from the truth and the people who don’t understand blogging. It’s always my friends or family. they give you like that little tilt on the head and say how’s your book selling? Like thinking like that’s where your money’s coming from. It’s oh, it’s good. It’s going well. But they don’t realize that the majority or doesn’t even matter, but it’s not the one truly paying the bills. It’s great to get a royalty check here and there, but it’s definitely not the money maker. But it’s definitely a great stepping stone to set yourself apart from other people. It’s just going to help you in your business if you want to continue to grow. So if you want to do live segments, if you want to keep growing your following, it does help.
So it all depends on what your goals are. For me, the number one goal was just to have this in a book. I didn’t want to regret not doing it. It was just something that I’ve always wanted to do. It was just kinda my little legacy project that I wanted in writing and to have as a Memorial, to have it forever in a book. That’s my biggest reminder, when I go through this pregnancy.
Megan Porta: The birth of your cookbook. I remember shortly after my cookbook was published, I had hired a VA as well. Just happened that it worked out that way. I remember somebody at my church hearing that I had hired the VA. So they equated that with the publishing of the cookbook. They lined that up. I remember them saying to me, Oh, your cookbook must be doing really well. I was like, why are they asking? And then later I figured out, oh yeah, because I had hired that person. But it was just funny. I was like but like you, I didn’t do it to make money. I did it more for being a stepping stone to other things. You talked about having your kids in there and they were so little. Oh my gosh. I look back and my boys are so little and they’re so cute.
Yvette Marquez: I love that. Take a little photo family album that other people will have forever.
Megan Porta: Truly published family photo album. Okay. Is there anything we’re forgetting Yvette that you want to make sure to deliver to food bloggers before we start saying goodbye?
Yvette Marquez: I think just, seriously, just, I know it sounds so cliche and everybody says, find your passion, but I think, even though you mentioned something like not everybody has that history or that story or those family recipes, but I feel like everybody does have some sort of story. Or something that makes, go back to when you were a child and figure out what is a thing that made you happiest. Figure out how you can incorporate that into your business. Because bottom line, if it doesn’t keep you happy and excited, it’s not going to last.
Megan Porta: Yes, that is so true. I think that can just resonate with so many people because we get bored and we do things that we don’t necessarily love. But the good thing about food blogging is that there’s so many things that you can dig into, that you can explore and possibly love. So thank you so much for everything that you’ve shared today. This was so amazing.
Yvette Marquez: Thank you. I’m so amazed that we have so many similarities.
Megan Porta: I know. I had no idea. As you were talking, I was like, no way. That’s so crazy. So I ask all my guests if they have either a favorite quote or additional words of inspiration to share. Do you have anything to leave us with?
Yvette Marquez: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of Maya Angelo, and I actually named my daughter Maya because of Maya Angelou. I remember I first saw her on Oprah and I was like, I love her name. I love who she is. That’s what I’m naming my daughter. One of my favorite quotes is, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I feel that just works so well in our business because I think now when folks are trying to get into blogging. They’re trying to learn so much and just absorb it all and it gets overwhelming. But I think initially if you just follow your passion and learn as you’re doing it and improve day by day, then it’s just going to keep growing. Do the best you can until better, than when you know better, do better.
Megan Porta: Oh, what a great way to end. Thank you so much for that. I love Maya and I love that you named your daughter too. That’s so cool. We’ll put together some show notes for you, Yvette. So if anyone wants to go look at those head over to eatblogtalk.com/muybueno. Tell everyone where they can find you online, and also just reiterate what your books are called, where they can find those. Maybe give your social media accounts and all that too.
Yvette Marquez: Yeah. So my blog is muybuenocookbook.com. You can find me on Instagram at Muy Bueno Cooking. I’m on Facebook at Muy Bueno Cookbook. I have a YouTube channel called Muy Bueno Cooking. I am open if you all ever have any questions or just want to say hi, or want to share your story, I’m always open to replying to anything. My cookbooks are Muy Bueno and Latin Twist, and my next one is going to be Muy Bueno Fiestas and they’ll all be available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Of course, like any local stores. Yeah, it’s. I think that was it.
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah. That’s all great. So everyone go check out Yvette and her books and all of her amazing content. Just thank you again so much for being here and sharing your story with us, yvette. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information will be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.
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