Whether you’re a foodie looking to share your recipes with friends or a blogger trying to turn some of your top recipes into a cookbook, self-publishing your collection of recipes is a great way to share your meals. But it can be daunting to figure out how to self-publish a cookbook.
Nowadays, the publishing industry has more options for aspiring writers. By self-publishing your cookbook, you have full control of the creative and marketing strategy. You also have control of your budget. Learning the ins and outs of the self-publishing process can help you create a cookbook that looks professional and generates book sales.
Designing and formatting your cookbook is often an exciting step. Your book cover and images can set your cookbook apart and grab the attention of potential buyers.
While choosing a book template and cover design can be creative and fun, it can also be time-consuming. Therefore, it’s important to understand and consider your formatting and design options in the early stages of the development process.
For cookbooks especially, formatting is crucial. Following a new recipe can be confusing and overwhelming for beginner and experienced chefs alike. Clearly outlining each recipe can help familiarize your readers and make the process enjoyable and clear.
As a result, formatting is important because it can organize your cookbook in an easy-to-read layout. Recipe books that are confusing to navigate can lead readers to place cookbooks back on the shelf.
Formatting also influences the appearance of your book and can therefore affect how well your cookbook sells. If your cookbook is formatted well, it will appear professional and engaging, which can increase sales.
There are two main components to consider when organizing your cookbook: images and text. Images often play a significant role in advertising your cookbook and the recipes inside. In general, most authors choose to include images with their recipes.
However, not all cookbooks include photographs. Some chefs prefer illustrations over pictures, while other authors only include the recipe and a description.
One of the most common methods of formatting a cookbook is to dedicate two pages to each recipe. On the left page is usually the recipe title, an image of the completed recipe, and a description of the recipe.
On the right page is usually the step-by-step instructions. This cookbook template is popular because it’s easy for readers to follow.
It’s also important to consider categorizing your cookbook into sections. This is another great formatting technique that can help make your cookbook simple to navigate.
The type of cookbook you’re creating will ultimately influence your categories. For example, if your cookbook includes recipes for all meals, then you can consider categorizing your cookbook into three main sections: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the other hand, if you’re making a family cookbook, you can organize your book by each generation.
Cookbooks with numerous images throughout the book will often need additional formatting changes. Placing images on each page will require text margin and wrapping adjustments as well as general page layout edits.
Additionally, most cookbooks follow a classic model that includes the recipe title, ingredients, instructions, and sometimes a description. While it’s a good idea to include all these elements in your cookbook, the way you design and structure these components can change due to personal preference.
Playing around with the design of your cookbook can help your final copy be aesthetically pleasing.
Testing your recipes is a delicious and necessary step for your cookbook. The recipes you include should be mouthwatering and ready to go come time to publish.
Tweaking your recipes during a recipe development period is a valuable process as you write your cookbook.
First, establish the type of cookbook you want to create. Family cookbooks, dessert cookbooks, regional cookbooks, vegetarian cookbooks; the range of possibilities is endless! Choosing a genre for your cookbook will help you select recipes in the early stages of your book.
Next, consider your target audience. Determine which recipes will appeal most to them.
Depending on your audience’s demographic, different types of recipes will be more applicable to their lifestyle. For example, if your target demographic is young, working adults, quick and easy recipes will fit their busy schedules more than tedious recipes that require extensive ingredients and prep time.
Once you’ve established your audience, you can then narrow down your selection further by choosing the recipes that are most unique. Recipes that have their own spin on a traditional dish will help your cookbook stand out among the competition.
Before asking friends, family, and even professional recipe testers to try your dishes, it’s always a good idea to test your recipes yourself. As you’re cooking your recipes, there are several things you should check.
First, read through the directions to analyze whether the instructions are clear and easy to follow. As your combining ingredients, test the initial batter, sauce, or mix to see if the flavors are balanced correctly. If something tastes too salty or sweet, now is the time to adjust.
As you finish cooking your recipe, be sure to also check if the timing and servings match your directions. Once you’ve completed this first check and your food looks and tastes wonderful, you can then ask friends and family to try out your meals.
If you’re looking for a professional opinion, you can hire a recipe tester or ask a food writer to critique your dishes. As of this writing, the average hourly rate for a recipe tester is $17.50.
According to the US Copyright Office, solely listing the ingredients to your recipes is not protected under copyright laws. However, if your recipes include written descriptions, whether that be an explanation or directions, then there may be a basis for copyright infringement.
Additionally, cookbooks may also have a basis for copyright infringement as recipes organized in a collection may be protected.
From the book cover design to editing costs, there are many services and fees that come with self-publishing.
However, understanding the costs of self-publishing a cookbook can help you create a book that is within your budget.
When it comes to editing, there is an umbrella of different levels. Proofreading, copy editing, and developmental editing all fall under the broad category of editing.
The stage of your cookbook’s development will ultimately influence the type of editing you’ll need. As a result, the first step in hiring an editor is determining the type of editing your book requires.
For example, if you need help with the layout and photo spread of your cookbook, then you should consider hiring a developmental editor. If you’re in the late stages of the process, a proofreader can run a final check for typos and grammatical errors.
While some editors include a package deal that includes multiple editing services, others specialize in one category. Identifying the type of editing your cookbook needs will help you hire the right editor.
In general, it can cost between $1,000 to $20,000 to self-publish a book. This price varies depending on the additional editing, book cover design, and formatting services you choose. However, because cookbooks usually incorporate visuals throughout the book, the total cost is generally higher.
Likewise, this price also varies depending on how many print copies you’re looking to produce. If you’re looking to publish multiple copies of your book and want to reduce costs, self-publishing an e-book is a great way to save money.
At the end of the day, regardless of how much money you’re looking to spend, there’s a publishing option within your budget.
When you self-publish a cookbook, most of the profits are yours to keep. With traditional publishing, authors and publishers negotiate an advance and royalty agreement. Authors typically receive between 8 to 12.5 percent of royalties depending on the number of copies sold.
However, by self-publishing your cookbook, you can earn up to 70 percent of the royalties. But keep in mind that while there are significant opportunities within the self-publishing industry, this publishing route requires time and effort.
Distribution is often a key factor most cookbook authors consider when deciding to either self-publish or find a publishing house that will accept their recipe book. When you self-publish a book, you’re responsible for creating a book launch and any promotional events.
However, if you go through a publishing house, a marketing team will develop a marketing strategy for you. Likewise, it’s often easier for publishing houses to distribute your cookbook on a larger basis. While distributing your self-published cookbook online is feasible through e-book and Kindle services, it’s more challenging to distribute print copies of your book as a self-published author.
After you’ve selected your recipes, formatted your cookbook, and officially sent it out into the world, it’s time to market your book!
There are endless ways to market and promote your recipes. Even with a tight budget, you can develop a book launch that generates sales.
For many self-published authors, marketing can be an intimidating step in the book launch process. However, gaining some promoting insights can help you successfully advertise your cookbook.
First, establish your brand. Successful book marketing strategies develop a brand that fits the style and tone of the book. Consider creating a blog to consistently post articles, recipes, and photos that portray your brand on a weekly basis.
Also consider running a discount on your book for a limited time. This is a simple marketing strategy to encourage potential readers to buy your cookbook.
Likewise, if you create an e-book or Kindle version of your cookbook, you can offer readers a promotion that allows them to download the first section of your cookbook for free. After reading and enjoying the first few recipes in your book, they will be more likely to purchase your recipe book.
With the right editing, design, and marketing tools, self-published books can become bestsellers. Books that are professionally formatted and proofed are more likely to catch readers’ eyes.
Consistently marketing and promoting your book is also key to its success. If no one knows about your cookbook, then they cannot buy it. Running ads through social media channels can help your cookbook become a bestseller.
Self-publishing a cookbook can be a rewarding experience. Sharing your recipes with the world is a pivotal step in both your writing and cooking career. However, without the right help, the process can become time-consuming and overwhelming.
At Elite Authors, we have professional editors and creative strategists who can help format, layout, and design your cookbook. Contact us today and tell us about your vision. Our team of experts will turn that pile of recipes you’ve been collecting for years into your dream cookbook!