Episode 37: Jessica Reed—Cake Historian

Integrating design, literature, and cake history with Jessica Reed

CW at 50:20 — We discuss baking and its relationship to eating disorders and mental health.

Corinne is out sick, so JT guest hosts as we interview former Penguin Senior Designer, photographer, and cake artist/historian, Jessica Reed. Jessica started her creative journey building cardboard furniture in her room as a child, and has spent her life integrating literature and art into her life and career, leaving zillions of Etsy stores in her wake.

After dropping out of beauty school (please don’t burst into song), Jessica moved from Denver to NYC to attend NYU’s Publishing Institute. She worked at Barnes & Noble in Chelsea, then landed a position at Penguin, where she eventually became Senior Designer. She coped with the stress of being an introvert in a fast-paced city by bringing art and baking into her day-to-day; she has baked multiple books-as-cakes including for Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies and Paula Hawkins’s Into the Water.

Don’t let your fear of what big publishing is keep you from going after it, because there’s nobody telling you you can’t write your book but you.

Since her move to Portland, Jessica has shifted her focus to her freelancing business, where she works with self-publishing authors. It’s been here that she has been able to get into cover design, and really embrace the freedom that self-publishing affords authors.

Our conversation covers self help books, dropping cakes, chasing after our favorite celebrities, the historical murder-locales of New York, and more!

Guest Bio:

Jessica Reed is an artist and writer and author of the book The Baker’s Appendix. Formerly a Senior Designer with Penguin Random House, she now freelances as a cover designer for self-publishing authors as well as writing about baked goods and other food subjects. Find her online at reedsy.com/jessica-reed, thecakehistorian.com, and on Instagram @cake_historian.

Books and blogs mentioned in this episode:

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