How to Make Your Own Cookbook From Scratch

It’s hard to get a physical book published these days, and even harder to get that book to sell. But there remains a strong market for traditional cookbooks. If you have a passion for cooking, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a willingness to put in the work, you could design A cookbook of your very own from scratch and ultimately go on to sell it.

But what’s the best way to go about this?

Establish Your Goals

Before you get started, consider your goals. Different people want to write a cookbook for different reasons. There’s no right or wrong reason to write a cookbook, but you should know what your goals are ahead of time, so you can create your cookbook in the right environment and with the right mindset. 

For example, if you want your cookbook to sell as many copies as possible and turn that into a stream of income for the perceivable future, you’re going to need to target a specific audience and fill a market need. If you want to create a sentimental gift for a family member, you’re going to have much different considerations in mind.

Choose a Printing Service

Next, think about printing service you want to use. These days, it’s easy to find inexpensive sources of book printing online. Different printers will have different strengths and weaknesses and will offer different prices. It’s your job to review them and compare them apples to apples so you can find a reliable publisher that doesn’t break the bank.

Decide on a Unique Topic and/or Angle

There are millions of cookbooks out there already, and people can look up recipes online whenever they’re in the mood for something new to eat. If you want a chance at being commercially viable, you’ll need to decide on a topic or an angle that is totally unique – something people haven’t seen before. You could assemble recipes from a culture that most people aren’t familiar with, or just present recipes in a dynamic and engaging, new style. You could even create a cookbook novel hybrid, or do something equally avantgarde.

Start Assembling Recipes

Once you have a topic in mind, you’ll be ready to start assembling recipes. You can do this in a number of ways. You can write down recipes that you follow at home, you can talk to friends and family members, or you can even browse the Internet to find inspiration. Just make sure to alter recipes you borrow from other people so they become your own signature creations.

Make Cuts

By the end of your recipe gathering, you should have hundreds of recipes to choose from. Not all of them can or should make the cut to your finished cookbook. Go through each recipe individually, think about its strengths and weaknesses, and think about how well it fits your overall theme. Cut weak entries one by one until you have the exact number of recipes you need for your book.

Cook (and Take Professional Photos)

Now for the fun part. It’s time to cook! You’ll need to cook every recipe in your cookbook at least once, to make sure it turns out well and to take professional photos. The best approach here is to hire a professional photographer, but if that’s not in your budget, try to learn the basics of good photography on your own.

Make Your Recipes Readable

Most cookbooks have a familiar layout, showcasing a photo of the dish in question, offering the title of the dish, and listing all of the ingredients, followed by written out directions. Some cookbooks also have personal anecdotes and other creative writing. Feel free to get creative here, but remember the main purpose of your cookbook: it’s there to help people cook. Accordingly, your recipes should be clean and legible – not buried by other features.

Hire an Editor and Print

Hire an editor or proofread your work carefully. Once you’re certain it’s free of obvious errors, you can contact the printer you found earlier and start printing!

Market Yourself

This final step is the hardest to pull off for most people. You have to market yourself and market your cookbook if you want it to sell. That means putting together a website, investing in your social media presence, and possibly even paying for advertising. Hopefully, you’ll strike a chord with your target audience and start cultivating a loyal following. If you don’t see early momentum, consider changing tactics or going back to revise your work.

Whether your goal is to become a best seller or just put a smile on your grandchild’s face, these tips will help you print the cookbook you’ve always dreamed of making. Even if you don’t sell millions of copies, you’ll create a permanent record of your cooking style and make some excellent memories in the process.