How to Publish Your Own Cookbook
Have you ever wanted to publish your own cookbook? Do you feel it’s overwhelming to do so? This article will guide you through the process.
Identify your audience
The two things you need to consider before embarking on a publishing quest is “What kind of cookbook do you want to write?” and “Is there a niche or demand for that kind of cookbook?” Do you want to write a cookbook for family and friends? If so, it doesn’t matter how much demand there is as long as you realize that you’re not going to become rich and famous by publishing your book.
Is there a sudden demand for Thai cookbooks? If so, and you have plenty of knowledge about Thai cooking then you might want to consider catering your cookbook to Thai-food lovers. Please realize that trends change rapidly and your Thai cookbook may only be popular for a short time. However, specialty cookbooks sell better than general-use cookbooks. But general-use cookbooks can be sold to a wider audience.
Select a printer
The next thing you need to do is select your printer. As opposed to the past when authors have had to fight to find a publishing company to do the printing for them, you’re doing your own publishing, so it’s very easy to find a print-on-demand company (check out createspace, lulu and cafepress). Beware that these companies normally do not do any editing or proofreading for you (some offer those options for an additional fee), so you will need to be your own proofreader and editor (or get a friend to help!), more on that later.
Some things you need to take into consideration are whether or not your cookbook is going to be in black-and-white or color? Do you plan on taking pictures of your delectable dishes and including them in the book? If so, do you want your pictures to extend to the edge of the page (bleed)? Black-and-white printing is the least expensive, followed by black-and-white with bleed and then color printing and finally color printing with bleed. You also need to decide what page-size you want.
If you just want to publish recipes without pictures, a plain black-and-white layout without bleed is sufficient. Some printers will give you the option of white or cream paper. If you want to print color pictures, you need to choose white paper so that the cream color doesn’t interfere with the picture color and then I would suggest using a printer that offers a glossy paper.
Also, you need to decide how your cookbook is going to be used and therefore determine the binding. Is to be used as a functional cookbook or a decorative/heirloom? Functional cookbooks should probably be spiral or O-ring bound so that they will lay flat on a kitchen counter. Decorative/heirloom cookbooks can be bound in any other way from saddle stitch to perfect bound.
Be sure to research the options that each printer has to make sure you can get the appropriate setup for your book.
Write the cookbook
Now that you have selected your printer, you can begin to write your cookbook. Some printers like Createspace require that you send the interior to them in the form of a PDF, in which case you will need to write the cookbook in a word-processing program like Word and then save it as a PDF and upload it. Createspace then offers you the option of designing your full-color cover using their proprietary cover design program.
Lulu allows you to choose a design through their software. This design then determines the cover and interior artwork. You will need to enter each recipe onto each page using their software.
The following are sections of book design that you might want to consider when writing your book:
Book coverFront cover
Spine: is the binding that joins the front and rear covers where the pages hinge.
Flyleaf: The blank leaf or leaves following the front free endpaper.
Copyright page: typically verso of title page: shows copyright owner/date, credits, edition/printing, cataloging details
Table of contents
Body: the text or contents, the pages often collected or folded into signatures; the pages are usually numbered sequentially, and often divided into chapters.
Edit the cookbook
After you have entered all of your content, you need to go back over the entire text and edit it. Make sure your abbreviations are consistent (Tbsp vs. tbsp.). Make sure your ingredient lists and instructions are consistent. Don’t include diced onions as ingredients in one recipe and then in the next recipe list 1 onion in the ingredients and in the instructions to dice it.
Include tips and trivia to make the cookbook interesting for general readers and cooks alike. Offer ideas on the recipes presented, such as the origin of the recipe, or tips about the ingredients used. Tips about how to correct cooking mishaps are always appreciated by the reader.
Proofread the cookbook
So now you have your cookbook written, what next? I would suggest proofreading your cookbook five times. The first time you need to proofread for spelling. Read the entire cookbook from back to front, from bottom to top, from right to left. When we read in the normal direction, from front to back, left to right, top to bottom, our minds automatically fill in words that have been left out and correct words that have been misspelled. The only way to catch these mistakes is to read the entire book backward. It’s tedious, but trust me, it works.
On the next pass you should read for grammar and punctuation. Keep a grammar handbook handy, as you might need it to look up obscure rules and regulations. Since this is a cookbook, you do have some leeway with your grammar, such as using incomplete sentences, but please make sure that all of your verb tenses are the same, and that the entirety of the book is written from the same point of view.
Third proofreading: check each page to make sure that your margins are the same on each page. Narrow margins on one page and then wide margins on the next will give your book an amateurish look.
For the fourth proofreading, it’s time to insert your headings. The title of the book should be the heading of the verso (left) page and your name should be the heading of the recto (right) page.
You’ll also want to insert page numbers, probably in the footer. Proofread again.
If you can use Microsoft Word to create your cookbook, take advantage of the Table of Contents option and it will help with your pagination
Publish the cookbook
Finally you need to publish your cookbook. Some printers offer editing and/or proofreading for additional fees. Some also have additional marketing schemes. Carefully consider whether or not you want to pay additional money for these services.
Printers have various requirements, some require that you order a proof and you will need to approve the proof before your cookbook goes on sale. I highly recommend ordering a proof if you can. This gives you another opportunity to proofread the content and check the design before it is published.
Finally, approve the proof of the book and you’re done. If the printer offers distribution choices, you might want to check them out. Otherwise you’re done!
Contact the author at email@example.com