Self Publishing Guide
Cook Book Publishing
Are you writing a book about food? Good because I can’t get enough cookbooks and books about food. There are endless topics to cover, not to mention, a lifetime worth of recipes. If you are a food lover like me and love reading about and looking at pictures of food, then you have chosen the most universal topic. We all have to eat!
There are so many beautiful books on the market extolling the virtues and sumptuousness of food. It’s no surprise given a growing market in North America filled with people who are obsessed with food. Just look at the Food Network on TV, the proliferation of recipes available on the web, the cooking section of your local bookstore. Cookbook sales are growing with our consumer demand for a visual feast even, if we are not that experimental with new dishes. It seems we all love to look at food, think about food, and yearn for foods from other places.
Food being a hugely popular subject right now is only one of the reasons to write about it. Whether you are writing about organic cooking, an encyclopedia of food, a historical point of view or a traveler’s selection of favorite recipes, there are so many ideas you can explore and you are bound to find an audience for your niche. You may have someone in your family with a flair for cooking fantastic creations or your grandmother’s old style home cooking. Capturing your family’s food secrets in a cookbook is a great way to preserve the invaluable and often unrecorded recipes for future generations.
Cook books are great ideas for talented cooks who would like to share there recipes with family, friends or sell their books commercially. You can create your cook book to be sold, or just as a way to preserve your family recipes for future generations to take pleasure in. Your cook book can even include detailed photographs of your dishes for the reader to enjoy. Cook books also make a excellent gift ideas.
Below, we’ll give you an outline to help start the publishing process.
Where to Start
If you haven't written your cook book yet, there are a number of things to think about before you even get started.
How Do I Produce the Cook Book Manuscript?
Most authors of cook books write their manuscripts on their home or business computers, and use one of the more popular word processors like Microsoft Word, WordPerfect or even a Works program.
You should be aware that the content or text of your manuscript must be in one contiguous file. If all of your chapters are saved as individual files, they will all have to be cut and pasted into one main file before printing. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a backup of your files before you start modifying them in any way.
Selecting the software to write you manuscript can be confusing. In order to do the best job of a cook book it is important to start with the right tools, just like you would start with right ingredients to make a particular dish.
Below, we’ve outline some of common products to help you make a wise selection.
Microsoft (MS) Word
This is by far the most common word processing software package. It's quite easy to use and produces good print results. If your book is not too complicated, Word should be fine. Unfortunately, because it doesn't handle images and graphics all that well, we don't recommend it for books where significant amounts of imagery are going to be used, such as in some cook books.
Corel Word Perfect
This is another great word processor. Although similar to Word, WordPerfect is another choice for books that are not too complex, or with too many graphics.
Adobe InDesign and Quark Express
One of these might be a better choice for many types of cook books. They can handle complex page design and produce excellent results when used for images, graphics and illustrations that may need to be included in your book.
The only real drawback to either of these programs is that they take time to learn and are somewhat expensive to purchase.
You can purchase these programs below:
Editing and Proofreading your Cook Book
One of the first pre-printing tasks you will need to be think about for your cook book is having it edited. When it comes to recipes, you may even want someone who can visualize the recipes and confirm the ingredients are in line. After all, you don’t want your recipes to be wrong. We can’t stress highly enough, how important it is to have your cookbook proofread before ANY printing is commenced.
Cook Book Size Layout
The paper your book will be printed is available in specific sizes. With this in mind, it’s best to try and keep within more cost effective formats. In many instances, your book may be sold in book stores, which means there are specific book formats or book sizes that are preferred by bookstores (and expected by readers).
Most cook book are printed at either 5.5”x 8.5” or 6”x9” or 8.5”x11”.
If your cook book is going to contain pictures, illustrations an 8.5”x11” is the best choice.
If this going to be mainly text, 5.5”x 8.5” or 6”x9” are better choices.
Cook Book Binding Types
There are two main ways novels can be put together or "bound", and here they are with their pros and cons.
- Spiral, Coil and Cerlox Binding:
25 to 250 pages: These kinds of bindings are by far the most used for
cookbooks. Advantages, when opened they lay flat (for writing in, or
just for referring back to like you would a cooking recipe), they are
cost effective to produce, and in some instances, pages can be removed
and replaced for updating purposes. Despite the fact that these books
are classified as soft cover books, they still wear very well because
they lay flat. Disadvantages, there are no major disadvantages when
using these for cook books.
- Saddleback: up to 48 pages: These are the least elegant book binding to produce. Saddle back books can cost less to produce, but this also depends on larger quantities. In some instances, books that do not have enough pages for other binding types may need to be saddle bound. Disadvantages, the covers tend to wear more readily (although we recommend laminating which will help prevent this); these books don’t lay flat for the reader.
Cook Book Cover
The cover of your cook book is a very important element of your entire cook book publishing project.
I order to have a professional looking cover; you’ll need professional software to layout your cover with. We recommend using Adobe Photoshop for designing and laying out your book covers. You could also use Adobe Photoshop Elements or Corel Draw as affordable alternatives.
You can purchase these programs below:
If the content of your book is good and you are confident that readers are purchasing a quality piece of work, then the cover should also represent a quality piece of work, and the content within the book.
The cover of the cook book must be slightly larger than the actual book you are planning on printing. This is to allow for trimming of the final book to make nice clean lines on all three exposed book sides.
The front cover should have the title of the cook book and the author’s name, and when required other text may be added to enhance the cover. The back cover could be left blank, a description of the book, or a paragraph about the author. What ever goes on the back, we suggest it be something that is in aid of selling or promoting the book. Each book and each author will have different needs as to what is contained on the back cover and what type of market it is destined for.
If you will be using any images or graphics on the cover that need to print with high quality, we recommend using a professional graphic program like Adobe Photoshop for best results.
We recommend color covers, particularly for cook books, and we also recommend that the covers are laminated to help make them less vulnerable to daily wear-and-tear and use in kitchens.