Self Publishing Guide
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.
Where to begin? Once you’ve compiled your recipes you can start to think about how best to sort them. A simple way to divide your recipe book into useful and readable chunks is to put them in chapters titled appetizers, side dishes, main courses for breakfast, lunch and dinner and desserts. This is the easiest way for your readers to make use of your cookbook. If you are concentrating only on one subject area such as desserts, consider an alphabetic sorting of your recipes.
A table of contents and index are useful depending on the size of the cookbook. You can’t really get away with not including a table of contents but if the cookbook is on the larger side, an index may be necessary as well to help your reader find all the recipes that, for example have pork or tomatoes in them.
Photography is very important when it comes to your cookbook. Unless you are skilled with drawing, you will probably be relying on photographs to capture your audience and draw them to each recipe. Try to get images of parts of the cooking process as well as the finished product as a good starting point. Layouts for your photographs may consist of the plated dish surrounded by some colorful raw ingredients that were used in the dish. Maybe you want to set the table for a more formal layout. Add a bottle of wine. Depending on the subject matter, you will need to plan an appropriate setting for each dish.
Styling your food will be critical for your picture’s success. Food tends to stand out best on a white plate and make sure you wipe any drips off and light the plate adequately. Be sure to spend some time and thought on your photography.
A forward or interview with the chef that created or inspired your recipes can help differentiate your cookbook from others. If you have extra knowledge about nutrition and or food science, these can be helpful to include. You will need to consider what measurement system you will use throughout the cookbook. It must be consistent. If you choose to use Imperial which is still widely used in Canada and is used officially in the USA, you may consider including a conversion chart to metric. This is an invaluable addition. Substitutions are a really kind thing to add to each recipe. Substitutions helps the less experience cooks or those who forgot one of the ingredients when grocery shopping!
Creative additions such as anecdotes or stringing your recipes together in a story is a unique way to stand out in a sea of cookbooks. You will want your book to fit a niche market so be clear about what your theme is and keep it in mind when planning the styling for your photographs and the cover artwork. Now the technical part. Any good book printer will be able to work with the file you created your book with. If you are a bit more technical you can save your files in print-ready PDF files. When you send in your files, you must remember to include the original picture file or graphic file as well as the document itself. This helps your printer make sure the pictures are of the highest resolution possible and 300 dotes per inch is best.
Cooking, like language, dies if it not communicated to future generations. What a perfect way to preserve your fantastic creations or the classic recipes of your parents or grandparents. Having made a family cookbook myself, I know what a joy it brings and what a great gift it is. Turn all those hours over a hot stove into your own creation and show the world your passion for food!