5 Steps to Creating a Culinary Cookbook

What separates good cookbooks from bad ones? Just like everyone’s individual palate, the answer to that is largely a matter of personal taste, but these five hints just may help keep your cookbook from leaving a bad taste in someone’s mouth.

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  1. Include full-color photographs
    The number one most important thing you can do for your cookbook is include high-quality, full-color photographs of the food. Rare is the self-publishing author who can afford to spring for a professional photoshoot, but with today’s cameras, some 3-point bounce lighting, and a photo editing program like Photoshop, there’s no reason to limit your 5-star tartare to a 3-star photograph.  There are simply too many cookbooks on the market to publish one without images, or in black & white.  The old adage says you can’t judge a book by its cover and while that is proven false time and time again, nobody ever said such a thing about a cookbook – where you definitely CAN judge it by its cover. And its cover better look delicious! And so should the inside!
  2. Include original, unique, and exclusive recipes
    No matter how appetizing the pictures look, there has to be a reason for someone to buy your cookbook.  Sure, the design might be amazing, and the images breathtaking, but content trumps design every time, and that is especially true for cookbooks.  Your target market already knows how to make spaghetti, pot roast, and shrimp cocktail; you have to include recipes they’ve never seen before, or at least feature startling new takes on old standards that will justify their purchase, as well as satisfy their cravings.
  3. Allow content and design to dance
    Speaking of design and content, formatting a cookbook is much like dancing the tango, with the content and the design making magical music together as they flow in unison. Cookbooks require larger print than other books because people don’t “read” cookbooks, they “use” them (typically with wet fingers or flour-caked palms).  So, if you have too many recipes to hit your target page count at 14- or 16-point font, don’t decrease the font size to 12 just to make it fit.  Remove a recipe. Or, better yet, find a way to reword those three-page recipes into two-page spreads.
  4. Include finishing flourishes
    A good meal is like a good story (or a good cookbook); it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Anybody can print a recipe for baked Alaska from the Internet but only your cookbook contains the amusing anecdote about how making it for the first time led to a food fight with your grandson, which turned into a fond memory told over Thanksgiving Dinner for years to come.  Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some saffron into your prose to excite the senses and make the recipes in your cookbook truly your own.
  5. Obsess over the details
    The details of your recipes can make or break your cookbook. This includes the ingredients, as well as the instructions, down to the units of measurements and the cooking equipment.  If your audience is comprised mostly of US residents, don’t refer to grams or liters when your cook wants to see teaspoons, tablespoons, or cups, instead.  If your recipe calls for a very specific ingredient that is not available at the local grocery store, advise your cooks where to get their hands on it – a farmer’s market, online, a quick trip to China, etc.  By the same token, be informative and detailed about the pots, pans, molds, presses, graters, utensils, etc. you’ve used to create your inspiring dishes.  The purists will appreciate the opportunity to match your expertise and it gives the lay-cook something other than their prowess to “blame” when their soufflé flops.

To make a soufflé you’ve got to break a few eggs, but nobody warned you publishing a cookbook would be such a headache. It doesn’t have to be! Check out this One-Click Cookbook package over at Outskirts Press.


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Self-Publishing News: 11.20.2017 – These Cookbooks are Prime for Thanksgiving!

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And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically new releases written by self-publishing authors and published by independent presses! Today we’ll be featuring brand-new releases in the Outskirts Press Bookstore!

Look, it’s the week of Thanksgiving, so we’re going to spend a little time loving on a few of our favorite cookbooks this week as we ready our mixing bowls and our stomachs for what’s ahead: a week full of food, fun, and family–not to mention a whole lot of patriotism! Yes, it’s true, there’s no more timely and suitable cookbook to add to your collection this week than Uma Aggarwal’s America’s Favorite Recipes, the first volume of which was published by Outskirts Press! Aggarwal, an experienced cook and author of several other cookbooks, sets out to prove a point in this particular volume: that American cuisine is, in fact, that “melting pot” it has often been described to be, and that it combines the best of all worlds and elements from the various cultures who have been brought to our shores. Here is a beautifully designed and elegantly presented set of traditional as well as innovative recipes gathered by Aggarwal from throughout the country and throughout the history of America–from Colonial times to modern ethnic fusion cuisines–and a whole lot of great ideas to try as you dive into your Thanksgiving preparations!

Some chefs are just a national treasure, don’t you think? We happen to think so, and we happen to also think that Chef Jesse Jones counts among that exalted crowd of creative, masterful, and also accessible chefs who don’t just inspire us to do better in the kitchen–they also provide concrete steps of how to get from point A (the raw ingredients) to point C (the plated dish). Here, in POW! My Life in 40 Feasts, Chef Jones provides his readers with a brand-new set of tried and true recipes from his own private collection, all of them beautifully printed in this gorgeous cookbook. But there’s more here than just recipes, as wonderful and worthy as they are by themselves! This is not just a cookbook, it’s a memoir too, and it follows Chef Jones’ story from troubled times in New Jersey and North Carolina, throughout his training in the great kitchens of France, to his eventual return and success as a restaurant owner and five-star chef! This book provides plenty to get new and cautious cooks started, as well as lots to challenge the experienced chef. Dip into his French and Southern-influenced cuisine with this great set of fantastic feasts!

If it were easy, we’d all be doing it, right? And while we can’t all be Angela Mulloy, we can learn from her life story in this fascinating book, which combines memoir and recipes in an altogether new and fresh way! Mulloy’s life took an unexpected turn when she moved from a successful career in publishing to purchasing and renovating an Eighteenth-Century plantation, where she opened a restaurant and inn and launched herself down a wholly different path to what might be called … a renaissance of Southern cooking, hospitality, and tradition! With more than 25 years of experience in running the inn and restaurant to wide acclaim, Mulloy now brings us this fantastic book, chronicling her life and journey from childhood through the various kitchens and homes which sharpened her creative culinary instincts. Her life hasn’t exactly been easy–there’s tragedy and loss sprinkled in among the everyday hardships which make up an ordinary life–she has risen above it all with her sparkling wit and her tasty recipes, sure to please a crowd this holiday season. We can’t recommend her book enough!


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Conversations: 11/3/2017

‘TIS THE SEASON TO READ and TASTE

By this time of year most published authors have set in motion the marketing they plan to do during the Holidays. The computer keyboards are given a rest. However, reading must continue so that we can continue to develop our writing skills and make ourselves aware of the genres, styles, and voices the reading public is placing on their bookshelves. For the month of November, I will highlight four genres that continue to hold strong positions in local and online bookstores. Even though they may not be your favorites, I recommend that you at least take a look at them, turn the “look inside” pages, and consider what is to be learned from these authors that will benefit your writing.

November is a month filled with the preparations of “traditional” recipes for all to enjoy—which carries over into all the December holiday celebrations. The images of on each page of Recipe Books are sharp, illustrating the taste, smell and texture of each delicious item. And, often, there is a story of when, where, and why a specific recipe was created.

For the passionate cook (and writer) I am highlighting GRANDMA’S FAVORITES: A Compilation of Recipes from Margaret Sanders Buell. This collection has been loving put together by three of Margaret’s granddaughters and speaks to the legacy she has left in them and for them to pass forward. What they experienced as they walked into their Grandmother’s kitchen was the “twinkle in her eye” and the extra ingredient of love that went into every meal. Margaret’s home and hospitality was always open to family, friends and even total strangers.

This 383 page book has received 5-star ratings because of its excellent, easy-to-follow recipe directions, its Holiday “magic,” as well as its elements of humor and entertainment.

For those of us who are looking for a smaller collection of Holiday recipes, grab this little book: Mom’s Thanksgiving and Christmas Best by Robert Maxwell.

These ninety pages offer “top-secret” cooking tips for those of us who need/want to create something marvelous within a short span of time—especially when the unexpected invitation to a Holiday Pot-Luck is received.

I also like Mr. Maxwell’s subtitle: Bob’s in the Kitchen. It immediately speaks to his gentlemen audience while, at the same time, acknowledging Mom in the title resonates with both women and men. Knowing your audience is a key component for every writer and should be considered from the very moment we begin writing our next books.

So, you’re not into cooking? Why should you read any cookbook? Yes, I can hear you, and believe me, I said that, too, when I was told to “pick up a few recipe books at the used book store and read them.” This quote comes from my science fiction author and friend who explained that when he needed to create “meals” for his “other worldly” characters, he went hunting through his cookbook pages for the most exotic foods. Then he searched the internet for images of those various ingredients and eventually combined several (that in reality should never be combined), to create his aliens’ favorite foods. He also instructed me to “always save the story-recipes to a specific file, both on the computer and on a flash-drive.” Every detail used in one story can be re-purposed in the next one.

I’ve also come to learn that finding the right words to describe taste, smell, and texture of foods is not naturally intuitive for me. If I want the Readers of my books to experience what I’m writing, learning about the qualities of foods and ingredients is essential.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted saying, “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” So it is my friends, that I encourage you to pick a delicious meal (book) and let it nourish you! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 03/17/15

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

Self-publishing matters, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

This Science Codex article looks at self-publishing statistics and trends. It illustrates why self-publishing is a viable option for authors and why people should take self-published works seriously. It is an interesting read for all writers.

Is Self-Publishing Good For Women? Study Says Yes!

There has been an increased focus in recent years on sexism in publishing, but there seems to be one corner of the publishing world where women are doing quite well for themselves. According to a recent investigation, self-publishing is helping women break the publishing glass ceiling and have the kind of success that tends to skew very male in the world of traditional publishing.

Google Ads 101: A Guide for Indie Authors

This article provides tips for how indie authors can make the most of Google AdWords to target potential readers. It covers mapping your audience, keywords, bidding, and more. It is a must read for authors interested in using Google Ads to promote their books.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 03/10/15

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

 Self-publishing lets women break book industry’s glass ceiling, survey finds 

While men still dominate the traditional books world, among DIY writers, women are publishing and selling more. The proportion of self-published bestsellers written by women is almost twice as large as in traditional publishing. Be sure to check out the full article for more fascinating statistics.

Why Jamie McGuire Returned to Self Publishing

Author Jamie McGuire first hit the New York Times bestseller lists as a self-published author with her breakout, new adult romance novel, Beautiful Disaster. Traditional publishers came knocking with a two-book deal she couldn’t refuse. This Huffington Post interview shares why she returned to self-publishing when she wrote her next books.

In Defense of Self-Publishing

In this PBS article, cookbook author Marcy Goldman responds to op-ed pieces that suggest self-publishing is the inferior publishing option. Based on personal experience and industry insight, Goldman shares why she thinks self-publishing is a suitable option for many writers.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 03/03/15

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

Four Reasons to Self-Publish Your Children’s Book

In this Huffington Post article, author and illustrator Sue Shanahan shares what she learned during her publishing journey and why she thinks self-publishing is a great option for children’s book authors. This is a must read for all writers considering self-publishing.

A Recipe for Success: Tips for Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

This Publisher’s Weekly article offers helpful tips for cookbook authors. Topics covered include building a platform, finding your niche, creating a team, and more. It is a must read for authors interested in self-publishing a cookbook.

LAPL, SELF-e, Surprising Stats | Self-Publishing & Libraries

This Library Journal article discusses self-publishing statistics and how they impact libraries. This is an interesting read for authors and librarians.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 5/02/14

WRITING COOKBOOKS

What’s the big deal about writing a cookbook?  Just throw together forty or fifty favorite recipes and you’re done!  All your relatives will buy it; your co-workers who have been sampling those delicious dishes will want you to autograph their copy; and all those “cookbook addicts” who absolutely must have any and every cookbook available on the market will be snatching it off the shelves.  All true.  All excellent reasons to put that collection of tasty treats together and publish!

Now, let me offer you a challenge—the writing of a cookbook.  The topical ideas I’m about to share with you have not yet been developed.  The writers have passed from this earth, leaving their work unfinished, and (as far as I know) no one else has attempted to complete the projects.  However, I know that there are many authors out there who can (and should) pick up the gauntlet and write these books!

Concept #1:  Puddle Recipes

When the weather outside is frightful and the snow (or rain) is so delightful, what better thing to do than cook up wonderfully warming meals and tasty treats!  Of course, the recipes themselves are unique to each author, and the unique story that goes along with it will be the main attraction.  Those who live in (or grew up in) climate-challenged parts of the country—or the world—will have the most fuel for this project.  The main character (you) will be living weather-related survival adventures—always returning to rebuild strength and courage while enjoying a meal or snack (recipe included) that only you (the author) can provide!

Concept #2:  World War Recipes

This idea could easily be created as a series that includes remembrances of the many (too many) wars and conflicts we’ve lived through.  I’ve had two clients start this type of cookbook; sadly neither finished.  The first had a World War II background, complete with photos of this gentlemen on a Navy ship.  My favorite picture was seeing him as a “teenager” standing next to their anti-aircraft gun.  His hook for turning this into a cookbook was talking about the meals “all the guys dreamed of,” those home-cooked memories that live on forever.

Concept #3: Ranch Recipes

This cookbook was specifically “measured” to feed a lot of ranch-hands BIG portions.  The author enjoyed the banter of the boys around her table so much, she started collecting their stories.  Of course, she soon realized that the same “true story” had many versions, and the telling of those versions was bringing this recipe book together with lots of love and laughter.

SO…there you have it!  I know you can do it!  These ideas are too good to waste!  PLEASE pull out your laptops and get to work.  AND…if you need some inspiring help, there are a few of us ghostwriters around who will happily help you.  Bon Appetite!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.