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How a blog landed one woman a book deal…

Proof that it is worth blogging if you have a great idea for a book

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Jack on BBC Breakfast

Single mum Jack Monroe’s blog posts about how she fed her family on just £10 a week have turned into a book deal with publishing giant Penguin. The 24 year old who has a three year old son, was surviving on benefits and job hunting.

But after cleverly managing to feed herself and her son on thrifty meals, she is now set to pen a book packed with more than 100 ideas for eating on a tight budget.

According to a report in the Independent, her meals include a 9p carrot, cumin and kidney bean burger, a 30p Chilli and a 22p apricot curry. Others include herb bread at 7p a portion, lemon curd sponge puddings at 24p and mushroom, spinach and walnut pasta at 34p.

Lindsey Evans, the cookery publisher at Penguin seems to imply there is likely to be more than one cookbook in the pipeline. She is reported as saying: “Jack Monroe is a fresh new voice for our times and I am so pleased that Penguin will be publishing her first cookbook.

“Not only has she managed to feed herself and her son on just £10 a week but she has done so by coming up with delicious and nutritious recipes all within that budget. More importantly she can now show us how we can do the same.”

A quick look at Jack Monroe’s blog, A Girl called Jack reveals she isn’t a total stranger to publicity.

The Sunday People newspaper has already described her as ‘honest and hardworking’ and food writer Xanthe Clay describes her as ‘sassy, political, and cooking amazing food on £10 a week.’ She was also recently interviewed on BBC Breakfast where she showed their reporter how to shop on a budget.

Talking about her recent book signing success on her blog, she writes: “To answer some frequently asked questions: Yes, it’s a recipe book. No, it won’t be £1-a-day recipes because of the cost of food prices always changing etc, but it will be based around the same frugal-but-nutritious principles that have driven my cooking and blogging for the past year or more.”

She adds her book, which doesn’t yet have a title, is scheduled for release in Spring 2014 and she is looking forward to the next few months of ‘squirreling away at my desk cooking things with bacon and cheap ale and carton after carton of chopped tomatoes.’


Penguin’s new signing is an insight to what we believe will be the next big thing in cooking – cooking on a budget. In the past decade cooking has become ever more indulgent – in calories as well as expense. But that is changing. With levels of obesity soaring, heavy dinners and fattening puddings are becoming more unfashionable. The days of cooking everyday food with large quantities of cream and butter are on the way out – and they’re being replaced by quicker, smaller and more nutritious meals. Added to that is the cost of living and the desire for many of us to cut back on spending.

For example, extreme couponing has become de-rigeuer with many people slashing food bills and their waistlines by going on that other publisher’s dream – the Fast Diet.
We don’t believe this will be the only ‘austerity recipe book’ to come on the market within the next few years. In fact, we believe many publishers will be racing to get this sort of book out and onto the shelves as soon as possible… and this could be the beginning of many more new signings…

Read More: My 49p lunch with a girl called Jack – story in The Telegraph newspaper

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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