In this busy world, our equally busy lives can sometimes get in the way of passing along traditions to our family.  Publishing a novel, a memoir, a cookbook, or some other piece of writing is an oft-neglected but rewarding way to pass on our traditions–as well as our special holiday stories–to family members and to our friends!

pierogies pierogi varenyky

For example, take the cookbook.  There are infinite varieties and forms that the cookbook can take–no two cookbooks look or feel or read the same, even if they overlap in terms of recipes.  Why is that?  Well, for one, a cookbook is first and foremost an artifact of its author’s personality, history, culture, and interests.  The most interesting cookbooks, in my opinion, are not the ones produced by Williams Sonoma (as swoon-worthy as we all find their copper pots to be) or even Cooks Illustrated (although, let’s face it, we like the science).  Books produced by committee may have their strengths, but they don’t lock in the same quality of story.

Take these three cookbooks, for example, all of them put out by Outskirts Press:

We have Sleeping with the Seven Fishes: An Italian Christmas Cook Book (2013) by Mike KC; Firewood, Family & Friends Cookbook (2010) by Cheryl Paninder; and the Easy as Hell Dinner Party Cookbook (2013) by Bill Bjorkman with Michael Cilella of the Cox Roosevelt Inn.  And as you can tell from first glance, they’re all radically different books!  One is geared specifically towards the holidays, one towards the cozy kind of relationships we prize during the holidays, and one towards the home cook with ambitions at throwing a gourmet extravaganza.  (I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which!)

What’s most important to note about these books, however, isn’t the covers themselves but what the covers and titles and typography–and all of the other graphical elements–combine to imply about the stories behind the individual books.  These are the things that are worth taking note of as a self-publishing author–and whether you’re thinking of publishing a cookbook or some other type of book, the same principle holds true–because these are the things that grab a reader’s attention in the bookstore and compel that person to carry your book all the way to the check-out clerk.  Authorship isn’t exactly a cult of personality, but it can sometimes be useful to think of a published book the same way you might think of a person going in for a high-stakes job interview: presentation matters, because it conveys a lot about that book’s/person’s backstory.

 And for better or worse, people connect with story.

spiral cut ham

The Christmas holidays is an especially important time to be thinking about helping to preserve your family’s history and legacy by self-publishing a book.  That’s because Christmas, perhaps more than any other holiday, is rich with oral storytelling traditions, baking traditions, and narrative traditions of all kinds.  You can both collect new material for your book and enjoy the rich conversations that will inevitably collect around the news that you’ve got a book in the works.  And sometimes, at Christmas as at other times of year when our relationships with the past are the hinge upon which our lives turn, we can all do with a little reminder:

It is my hope and wish that you enjoy a wonderful, relaxing Christmas–a Christmas thickly textured with the best kinds of traditions!


Merry Christmas!  

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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