With An Accompanying Video
Similar to the idea above, you can also turn the publishing phase of your familys cookbook into video content. Creating a YouTube channel or posting videos via IGTV is incredibly easy.
You can do your best Julia Child impression and truly engage your friends and family in a creative way. You can also have them featured in guest appearances or show them off in quick videos with recipe tips or with their finished products.
Test Test And Test Again
Test your recipes. Twice at the very least. Use proper scales, spoon measures and an oven thermometer. Rake your finished recipe for typos, paying close attention to weights and measures. An editor can mop up errors, but they won’t know if that three was meant to be a one . Many publishers don’t have book recipes tested there simply isn’t the money to do that with everyone, unless the author is a famous name. It is up to you to make sure they work or you will soon gain a reputation our climate of instant information, via blogs and Twitter, means news of a badly tested recipe will travel faster than a good one. The trust between you and the reader is easily lost.
Bring It All Together
Now that you have every recipe uploaded, revised, proofed, and looking sharp, you can start thinking about the presentation of your cookbook.
Perhaps you were keeping typefaces, colors, and other aesthetic choices in mind throughout this entire process. However, making any sort of design changes or decisions is easiest to do once all of your other content is complete.
This will also depend on where youre drafting your cookbook and where you plan to share it. Many websites offer tons of user-friendly, high-design themes and elements that can really make your final product indistinguishable from professional versions.
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Professional Advice For Cookbook Publishing
The best selling cookbooks aren’t just books of recipes they’re expressions of the author’s culinary viewpoint. Whether comprehensive books of instruction like Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” or a highly personal collection of your great-grandmother’s hand-me-down recipes, if you intend to publish a cookbook for public sale, make sure you, the author, have “mise en place” and are set up with:
Design A Consistent And Book
Using simple pen and paper, I drew some layout ideas for my recipe books. I had never done this before, obviously, so I found some inspiration from the recipe books I had in my kitchen. For organization, I decided to divide the books into chapters, separating the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes. I wanted the name of the recipe in a large font on the top of the page, with sub-headings such as Category, Serving Size, and Cook Time underneath. I also wanted a large photo of the dish taking up at least one-fourth of the page, with Ingredients on the opposite side of the photo and the Directions underneath.
For an added personal touch, I added a small Reviews section in the layout. This was made up of warm or funny blurbs contributed by various relatives about their fond memories of the dish.
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How To Write Your First Cookbook
Getting on for a decade ago, while working as a recipe tester for a food magazine, the truth was laid out to me. While making dumplings with a colleague, talk had turned to my career hopes: writing cookbooks. “Alice, you do realise there’s no money in cookbooks?” I was told. That can’t be right, I thought cheerfully. She’s clearly doing something wrong.
Initially, I just enjoyed cooking. After A-levels, I begged my way into a restaurant kitchen, but still trooped off to read neuroscience . At university, I began cooking for local events companies and had to be bribed to complete the degree by my concerned parents who thought it would be better to have a “qualification” to fall back on if the food phase fell through. And the bribe? A helping hand with the deposit for Leith’s school of food and wine. For the rest, and it felt like a fortune, I took out a career development loan, paying it back through catering and restaurant jobs. Going to Leith’s was one of the better decisions I’ve made, especially for the in-depth knowledge of how and why a recipe works.
I’ve also found that food styling combines beautifully with writing recipes, allowing control freaks like me to be fully involved in a feature or book. We always eat the grub, by the way, and the ice cream is the real thing, not mashed potato as it might have been in the 70s.
Talent Borrows Thieves Steal
Try not to copy and if you have “borrowed” or faithfully reported, quote your source. It’s hard not to take inspiration from other sources, even unwittingly, but have respect for your fellow writers. Of course, recipes are stories and, rightly so, are recorded down through the generations and across continents, just be careful where you are claiming an “original” and always namecheck your sources. Travel. Make notes, eat street food, be nosy this is where the inspiration lies.
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Recipes That Work For Everyone
This seems obvious, but many aspiring cookbook authors don’t understand that the handed-down, often-improvised recipes need to be strictly codified for the general cookbook reader.Writing a professional level recipe means diligent recipe testing and tasting, not only by the author, but often by an unbiased party or parties, as well in order to see if the recipe makes sense to a cook or baker who has not used the recipe before, or who might have a different skill level than the recipe developer. In order for them to “work,” the recipes must also be diligently proofread.
Rewrite Your Draft Notes Into Recipe Form
The organization of a finished recipe is quite different from the notes you make while documenting the cooking process. That first draft is a record of the creative process, but its organization is counterproductive to creating a recipe others can follow. As you can see in the notes I took while creating my beef stew recipe, the ingredients and method are intermingled for each stage of the cooking. In the final recipe, ingredients and method as well as equipment have their own sections. Cooks expect recipes to be written in a certain order, so dont disappoint them.
Start with the easiest elements, equipment and ingredients, which are simple lists. Be consistent with formatting and always use the full name of a measurement for example, use tablespoon instead of tbsp, pound instead of lb. List equipment and ingredients in the order they will be used.
Next, review your creative notes and write the method steps in the order they are performed. As you review and rewrite these steps, picture in your mind what you did and how you did it. Your goal in writing these steps is to let your reader glide through them without stumbling. You achieve this excellence by imagining yourself in your readers shoes, anticipating what the reader needs to know.
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Use Commonly Accepted Terms To Describe Ingredient Preparation And Cooking Methods
There are worlds of differences between chopping and mincing, grilling and frying, and too many more similar terms to mention. Choosing one term instead of the other can make the difference between success and failure for the cook who wants to follow your recipe.
Fortunately, many excellent cooking term dictionaries are easily accessible on the Internet. The Good Housekeeping Dictionary of Cooking Terms is limited to the most common terms, but is a good place to start before venturing into much more in-depth dictionaries such as the Epicurious Food Dictionary.
Ideal Reader Profiles Are Integral To Knowing How To Write A Cookbook
Food and Drink editor Laura Gladwin says, Just as fiction authors will create a profile of their ideal reader, you will want to answer some key questions about the kind of person who will enjoy your book most your typical reader. In creating your typical reader profile, Laura suggests starting with a few choice questions:
- How good of a cook are they?
- Where do they buy their food?
- What kind of dishes do they like?
- What might they be put off by?
- How willing are they to take risks?
- Are they more interested in eating healthily, or impressing people, or getting food on the table as quickly as possible?
Once you figure out the what, why, and who of your cookbook, youll be ready to start filling in the pages with your mouth-watering recipes.
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How To Write Your Own Cookbook
Cookbooksales are boomingin recent years, making now the perfect time to tackle your project. Heres how to get started.
Personal or Professional?
Before you begin, you need to know who youre writing a cookbook for.
Is this something fun youre creating for your own personal kitchen ? Or do you have bigger plans, like trying to sell your cookbook to a wide audience?
A cookbook for personal use can have a casual tone, and the photos you snap on your smartphone will probably be sufficient. If youre hoping to sell your cookbook, youll need to factor in the costs of professional photography, book layout, and marketing.
Define Your Audience
No matter how amazing your recipes are, theres no single cookbook that will appeal to everyone. Make sure you include the most relevant recipes and advice by considering:
- How much cooking experience does your audience have?
- Do they shop at the supermarket? A health food store? A farmers market?
- Are they willing to take risks, or do they want flavors that are familiar?
- Are the most interested in quick meals, impressing guests, or eating healthfully?
Imagine your ideal reader avatar and begin writing your cookbook with their needs in mind.
Organize Your Recipes
How will you organize your cookbook? It needs to make sense with the theme of the book and, even more importantly, to the reader.
For example, you could organize by course . Then, break each course into sections based on its main ingredient .
Envision the Finished Product
Four Steps We Will Cover In My Class
When you taste something delicious, and then ask the cook for a recipe, often the ingredients come out in a stream of consciousness that more or less gives you the gist. But when you are ready to turn this recipe into type, it is key that you learn the proper format that starts by listing the ingredients in the order they appear in the instructions.
A strong title that gives an indication of what is in the recipe, to offer a visual clue for what to expect when cooking the recipe. And example might be Creamy Spinach Eggs Benedict verses Aunt Mollys Poached Eggs . Take a look at some of your favorite cookbooks and determine how you want to write your recipes with lots of details in the instructions or as minimal as possible.
2. Selection: Gather family recipes & the stories.
If you did not mention Aunt Molly in the introduction, you can put her story into the introduction to the recipe. Share your memories, sitting at her kitchen table looking out at the garden, or the dog that always sat under the table. Give the recipe personality, but also mention how it looks, the flavors and colors, and what to serve with it.
3. Writing: Practice personal writing to develop your voice.
4. Design: Basics of layout, photography & design to take your book to final production
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Spice It Up With Other Elements
Once youve made progress and have a solid collection of recipes together, you can start on the fun stuff. Add in relevant photographs, sidebars, graphics, general cooking tips, anecdotes, and more to make it unique to your tastes and your familys.
You may also wish to include a section that talks about why these recipes are special to your family and expand on any other family traditions.
What Are The Key Things To Think About When Creating A Cookbook Pitch
Unlike fiction or narrative book proposals, which tend to need significant amounts of sample writing, cookery proposals generally offer more of an overview. Ione and Sam share what they look for in a pitch:
- A summary or synopsis – what is the particular theme or subject of the book?
- Information on how the book fits into the market e.g. does it tap into a growing trend? Share comparable books that have sold well
- Details about the author and their profile – professional credentials, size of audience, media activity, useful contacts
- A recipe list and/or chapter breakdown
- A handful of sample recipes
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How I Found My Literary Agent
Now, I can hear you thinking: this sounds great and all, but how on earth do I actually find a literary agent? Heres where it gets trickythroughout my blogging career, I have been very lucky to have various agents reach out to me about working together. I politely declined them all, but told them that Id keep in touch with them in the future. What I ended up doing for my book is emailing these agents, as well as reach out to my fellow blogger friends for introductions to their tried and tested agents. That being said, I know that my situation was very privileged. So I highly recommend that you check out my friend Tessas advice on how to find a literary agent, and how she sifted through the acknowledgements section of the cookbooks she liked to identify agents. David also has similar advice and more resources in his blog post.
I spoke to many agents on the phone, but the one that I ultimately decided on was one who was actually introduced to me way back in 2015. My friend Lily, who believed Hummingbird High was worth turning into a book long before I did, insisted that I speak with her lit agent, Nicole Tourtelot of DeFiore & Company. Despite still feeling burned from the deal Id turned down the year before, Id agreed to the call, mostly because I liked the authors Nicole represented .
Find The Right Platform
When it comes to drafting, creating, and publishing this cookbook, its important to pick the right platform. We discuss publishing and sharing options in a later section, but it may make sense to start thinking of this now.
For example, crafting an entire cookbook in a word processor only to transfer the entire thing to a blogging platform will create twice as much work for you, if not more. If youre unfamiliar with free website hosts, it may benefit you to do some research.
That being said, youre also more than welcome to create each recipe, chapter, and so forth as its own unique page or set of pages in a word processor or InDesign, if youre savvy.
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Write Headnotes And Finalize Details
You might think that writing one short paragraph about a recipe would be easy, but it isnt. I wanted each headnote to be some combination of interesting, informative, and fun to read. I parked myself at my desk for hours as I recalled childhood memories and wrote about Cookies obsession with carrots and kale.
The details were tricky business, too. Have you ever tried to use words to describe how to roll enchiladas or layer lasagna? After years of responding to your recipe questions on the blog, sometimes I feel like I have voices in my head. 🙂 I tried my best to provide every detail you might needlike, where to find spring roll wrappers and what to substitute for peanut butter if you are allergic.
Market And Promote Your Book
Finally, regardless of which publishing method you choose, youll need to put in some marketing efforts of your own.
The process of marketing and promoting your book should start well before your books release date, but your efforts should also continue long after. Seek out early reviews of your book and keep up a steady flow of reviews months after publication.
There are many ways you can market and promote your book, and while your publisher will likely help with some, you should expect to roll up your sleeves and be involved in the process too. Learn more about how to market a book successfully.
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How To Write A Recipe Book
One pastime that has grown in popularity over the last few months is cooking, no doubt because were all at home a lot more thanks to lockdown but also perhaps because we all want to give ourselves a bit of a health boost at the moment, eating lots of freshly cooked nutritious meals for the family.
What might be a fun pandemic project, if youre looking for something at the moment, is writing a recipe book of all the food youve cooked, any new techniques youve learned, your favourite meals and so on.
They say were living in history right now and food would be an excellent way to cast your mind back over the years to the time you lived through a global pandemic. So, with that in mind and if you think its a good idea, here are a few top tips to help you write your first coronavirus cookbook.