Today I’m going to show you how to write a cookbook that both publishers and readers will love.
First, let’s define what publishers think the perfect cookbook manuscript should look like.
- The book has a clearly defined concept. “Just recipes” are not needed by anyone: there are plenty of such books on the Internet. And they are offered for free.
- The author knows what a cookbook should look like: what is the structure, sidebars, annotation, etc.
- The author is well versed in their subject.
- The author wants and can promote themselves and their books.
If all this seems too difficult for you, you need a guide. Such articles will help you with writing a book for Amazon or any other purposes. You will find out how to write, format, and edit your cookbook so that readers like it.
How to choose a cookbook concept
It is necessary to start work on a book with the development of a concept: what do you want to write about?
The concept can be based on the following parameters:
- Identity of the author (for example, “Notes of a Ship’s Cook”)
- National cuisine
- Place of preparation (“Kindergarten Meals”)
- Diets (“30 Recipes for Weight Loss” or “Nutrition for Diabetes”)
- Specific Ingredient (“30 Rice Dishes”)
- Ingredient missing (“Sugar-Free Desserts” or “Vegan Recipes”)
- Product category (“Vegetable Dishes”)
- Cooking time (“Breakfast in 5 minutes”)
- The cost of products (“Cheap, Tasty and Healthy”)
- Cooking method (“Cooking in a Slow Cooker”)
- Type of dish (“Cakes and pastries,” “Rolls,” “Dumplings”)
- Volume (“Menu for Banquet”)
- Specific target audience (“Bachelor’s Kitchen”)
- Religion (“Lenten Food”)
- Customs and holidays (“New Year’s Recipes”)
- History (“Old French Cuisine”)
- and so on.
The identity of the author is of great importance – first of all, because there are a huge number of poor books on the market, made up of unverified recipes pulled from the Web.
If the author is a serious professional and/or they have their own audience on social networks, it will be much easier to sell such a book. Therefore, if your dream is to write cookbooks, the first step in this direction is to gain in-depth knowledge and gain credibility in social networks.
What separates a pro from an amateur?
You should read cookbooks by other authors attentively. This gives an understanding of what exactly should be inserted into your book and what should never be done.
You should check all your recipes in practice at least twice. You need to make sure that the proportions are correct, that the weights are indicated correctly, and that the taste is obtained as desired. You can’t rely on editors: they will miss such errors.
It is advisable to think in advance in what form your book should be published: hardcover, softcover, spring book, or a set of cards. The structure of your cookbook will directly depend on this.
Go to the nearest bookstore and see what is being sold and in what form. This will help you understand exactly what publishers are interested in.
The structure of your book might look something like this:
- Introduction – what this book is about, who it is for, and why you decided to write it.
- Equipment – what you need for cooking.
- Products – tips for choosing and storing.
- Recipes are divided into chapters. For example, snacks, soups, main courses, desserts, and drinks. Each chapter, as a rule, is supplied with a short introductory article.
- Table of measures and weights.
- Alphabetical index
In the end, you can give tips on decorating dishes, serving, etc.
Formatting of a recipe
The recipe might look something like this:
- Name of the dish
- Brief description of the dish
- How many servings is this recipe for?
- How many calories are in one serving?
- Ingredients. Use a single formatting style and a single measuring system. For example, if you started referring to “tablespoon” as “tbsp.” – the same designation should be present everywhere.
- A detailed description of the recipe. Here, too, it is important to observe the unity of the format. If you started writing in the imperative mood (“Take three teaspoons”) – use it in all recipes.
Each recipe can be provided with tips – “Important!”.
Of course, not all of these items are mandatory, but the more complete the information about the dish, the better.
Who provides the photos?
Some publishers have their own kitchens with photo studios, some accept photos from authors, and some buy stock photos (which, of course, is not the best option).
If you don’t take pictures yourself, you need to write down what should be shown in the photographs (including step-by-step photographs).
Arrange in advance with the editor that they will show you options for photos. Otherwise, it may turn out that a photograph of a carbonara will be attached to your bolognese.
Text for the back cover
To design a book, you will need an abstract and brief information about the author.
They appear on the back cover and are also used in the publisher’s documentation and promotional materials.