Publishing and Marketing a Digital Cookbook
The ever increasing numbers of cooking shows, cooking magazines, recipe websites and food blogs all point to one thing: Americans love food and aren't afraid to try new recipes. If you're a culinary aficionado, you've probably thought about turning your best recipes into a cookbook at one time or another. Although online publishing platforms have made the path to publishing a lot easier to navigate, you still need to organized and focused to put produce an engaging digital cookbook with recipes and cooking tips that get noticed.
Cooking enthusiasts often have recipes written on the backs of magazine covers, in the margins of old newspapers and on scratch paper tucked in drawers around the house. The first thing you should do is organize your best recipes by category. Expandable folders and traditional recipe boxes work great when you just need to gather your recipes into one place. Separate the recipes into subcategories relevant to your cookbook theme. If you're writing a cookbook about cookies, for example, separate your recipes into categories such as bar, press and drop cookies.
Most e-book publishing platforms, mainly Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords and PubIt recommend using MS Word to typeset and layout eBooks. Check out your publisher's website for format and layout tips. They often have free style guidelines posted that you can download for quick reference. If you have graphic design skills, you can also layout your cookbook in a graphic design program, such as Adobe InDesign, which allows you to make a PDF when you finish. Decide the placement of your recipes first, type them up and put them in place. Add your food photos after you place and layout the recipe text. If you don't normally photograph your cooking creations, you may need to prepare some of your dishes and take photos of the finished products. Use your best, most visually appealing food photo for the cookbook's cover.
Press Publish and Market
All you need to publish your finished cookbook is an account with an eBook publisher. Once you open an account, upload your cookbook's electronic file and press publish. The pressure's on when your book goes live, but you have several tried and tested tools at your fingertips to help you get the word out and sell.
- Online — Cooks thrive in YouTube, and you don't need high-tech equipment to make instructional cooking videos. Any camera that shoots video and that allows you to upload those videos in the correct format works. Upload the videos to YouTube and make sure you place a link to your cookbook sale page prominently on your YouTube page. Chefs and food service businesses also tend to do well on Twitter. As with all things marketing, the personal touch works. For best results, reach out and develop relationships with the cooking enthusiast among Twitter members.
- Offline — Success begins at home when it comes to marketing locally. Spread the word about your cookbook by offering copies for community organization fundraisers. Sign up to donate food to school board, chamber of commerce and charitable events to introduce the community to your cooking and to your cookbook. You should also lease table space at a farmer's market where you can sell your cooking creations and your cookbook as well.