Journalism & Writing: FAQ & Useful Links
Frequently Asked Questions
Will you blurb my book? Write a letter of support for my grant?
Unfortunately, I’m swamped with speaking, writing, and teaching commitments and I’m no longer doing any blurbs or endorsements. Out of necessity and to give me time to work on my own writing projects I am observing a strict blurbatorium. I wish you the very best of luck with your project.
Why have you not written a cookbook?
While I enjoy cooking, I’ll leave the art of perfecting and disseminating recipes to the pros. That said, I believe that if you can read, you can cook, and I have a few cookbooks that I use regularly and recommend to those of you wanting good, healthy and basic recipes. I use Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything (he also wrote How to Cook Everything Vegetarian). I like all the cookbooks from Alice Waters and the Chez Panisse team, particularly The Art of Simple Food. Sometimes when I have an ingredient I want to use but don’t know what to do with it, I’ll put that item into the search box on epicurious.com for ideas.
Can I quote your books or articles in my writing, on my website, printed on a T-shirt, in an art project, on a poster etc?
The so-called “fair use doctrine” in U.S. copyright law permits limited use of copyrighted material without the permission from the copyright holder. If your hope is to quote a few lines from one of my books, articles or speeches, and you intend to attribute the quote to me and to the book or article it comes from, and if you are using this quote for non-commercial purposes, then you are free to do so. Please don’t use quotes on mouse pads, tote bags, product packaging or anything else you intend to sell for profit or use commercially. If you’re interested in reading more you can do so here at the U.S. Copyright office.
Can I buy your books in bulk?
Yes. You can order books in bulk (25 or more) at a discount from Penguin (the more you buy, the bigger the discount). For information regarding bulk orders please e-mail Special.Markets@us.penguingroup.com or call 212-366-2612.
I want to be a writer. Will you teach me to write, help me get an agent, read my manuscript or assist me in publishing?
The short answer is I’m sorry, but I cannot. But take heart, there are programs that can teach you to be a better writer and guide you in getting published. I teach at UC Berkeley’s Journalism School where I’ve seen this first hand. There are many journalism schools and non-fiction narrative writing programs all over the country. Internships at magazines, and jobs involving editing, can also help you improve as a writer. Another thing I always tell my students about writing: to be a good writer you must be a voracious, curious and careful reader of well-written prose. To write better, read better.
Will you speak at my school/event/venue/conference/fundraiser?
All questions and inquiries regarding appearances and lectures should be directed to the Steven Barclay Agency. You will find all the contact information for the Steven Barclay agency below. Please do not contact me directly about any appearances or lectures. If you do, someone will have to forward your email to the Steven Barclay Agency and it will take longer for you to get a response. Please, email Steven Barclay directly and do not cc anyone else. Please do not email the Steven Barclay Agency with interview requests or anything other than inquiries about public appearances.
Steven Barclay Agency
12 Western Avenue
Petaluma, California 94952
The Botany of Desire, a two-hour PBS special based on the book.