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How to Write a Cookbook

Whether you want to write a cookbook that can be passed down through future generations, or you are hoping to become the next best seller (move over Jamie Oliver!) and you’re wondering how to get a cookbook published, WTTB have a range of tips and tricks to help you on your cookbook creation journey, and a full range of printing options including perfect bound and saddle stitched books, for when you are ready to have your cookbook sent to print.

With a range of recipe book printing options, your culinary creations could be committed to paper before you know it, ready to teach your children, grandchildren, friends, and family how to cook your much-loved family favourites; or even to sell at local markets and fairs.

How to Make a Recipe Book

Cooking is a passion that many of us share and if you have come to realise that your passion could lead to pounds, you will want to get those delicious recipes on paper quicker than it takes a spinach leave to wilt!

But where to start, how do you structure a cookbook?

Firstly, we would recommend you pick a theme for your recipe book. Whether its healthy and hearty, light and easy, super indulgent, or (one of our personal favourites) a delicious dessert cookbook. Picking a theme works well for commercial purposes as people tend to be looking for a specific set of meals, whether for health reasons or because they want to impress their friends when hosting Come Dine with Me themed evenings. So, if you want to get your cookbook printed and published, choosing a theme is a great start.

Do your market research. The cookbook market is huge and competition fierce, you may want to consider creating something that sets you apart from others – how about a vegetarian cookbook or a vegan cookbook?

Additional points to remember when structuring your cookbook:

1. Contents page This can be chapters rather than a full list of each dish (which would traditionally be put at the back of the book)

2. Introduction Tell the reader about the types of meals they can expect and the inspiration behind your book. If it’s a family cookbook, write something nice for your loved ones and future generations

3. Equipment list What will people need to make your recipes and what are the alternatives to these items

4. Staple ingredients list This can be the more unusual cupboard items that people may not always have in stock, mustard powder or xanthan gum, for example

5. A guide to icons or shorthand This will help the reader if you are using icons or abbreviations (such as GF for gluten free, VE for vegan etc)

Recipe Book Ideas and the Best Dishes to Choose

Next up, choose your dishes and consider the order in which you will put them in your book. If you are doing a mixture of starters, mains, and desserts, make sure you’re not jumping from garlic prawns to pineapple turnover at the turn of a page; like any book, your recipe book should have a beginning, middle and an end.

Now for the fun part (or is it stressful?!) - cooking your beloved recipes!

We would recommend you write your ingredients and instructions out and then try to follow them as if it’s your first time cooking the dish. This will help you understand any possible mistakes people could make when following your recipe. Remember – you know the dish inside out but for someone who has never made it before, the instructions need to be clear and concise.

How to Make a Family Recipe Book

If your culinary creation is for personal and family use, follow the above tips but instead of a specific food theme, choose the firm family favourites. You know the ones - they get the kids and your other half sprinting to the dinner table like a hungry Serengeti lion chasing a zebra!

Creating a family recipe book is such a wonderful thing to do as you can pass this cookbook down through the generations. The idea that one day your grandchildren could be feeding their own kiddies grandma’s food warms the heart like a bowl of stew in January.

Pick the recipes that bring you the most joy – both from a cooking and eating perspective – and ask your family for their input too, find out what their favourites are and include them. Adding lovely personal touches like dedicated messages to family members on the recipes they have selected will only enhance the joy your family cookbook brings to your loved ones.

Remember, if you are making a family keepsake, it will be in the family for generations and will be passed from person to person, home to home, and could take a lot of wear and tear. For a family cookbook that will stand the test of time and bring joy to your family long after you have gone, choose a hardback book that protects the internal pages from curling and ripping.

Can you Make Money Writing a Cookbook?

If you choose to go with a publisher, money is only made through royalties. You will get an advance, the amount of which will be decided by the publisher based on the expected sales of your recipe book, and only once your publisher has made their money back (I.E. the advance has been paid back) will you start to get royalties. This can take years so don’t be too surprised if you only start to see royalty checks after 4, 5, or even 6 years (or longer!).

Don’t worry though, if your book doesn’t sell to the value of the advance, you won’t need to pay it back, this is the risk a publisher takes and is why take such a hefty chunk of your books’ profits.

If you opt to self-publish your cookbook, you will reap the financial rewards with no middleman taking a cut. It can be harder to market your book and get it into stores when self-publishing, so start by selling online or through local business and people, social media, friends, and family and see if your cookbook snowballs.

Food Photography – DIY or Hire a Professional?

Now, we don’t know about you, but when trying a new recipe for the first time, we have many ‘should it look like this?’ moments! It can be super helpful to have step by step imagery to show budding chefs how their masterpiece should look at each stage of the process. Smart phones have incredible cameras, so you can snap these pictures yourself which adds a certain rustic charm, or, if you are looking for a truly professional finish, find a food photographer and work together to create some mouth-watering images that sell your recipe book for you the minute someone flicks through the pages.

If you are creating a family recipe book, pictures through the years of your family enjoying the chosen dishes will really bring the pages alive and bring back happy memories. Or why not get your family to snap you in the process of cooking the dishes that are going in your family recipe book?

Recipe Book Printing

Once you have your recipe book typed up, spell-checked, and checked again, it’s time to get it printed. Cookbook printing can be done in many ways and here at WTTB, we have a range of binding options for all budgets and book styles. Whether you want a simple and rustic wiro-bound cookbook, or you have invested a lot in food photography and would like an eye-catching lay flat book that shows your dishes off to perfection, we have every book type you can think of to get your recipe book out of your head and onto paper! You can also select the perfect paper, for recipe book printing we would recommend a coated paper that will better protect your work from spills, sauces and wet hands.

We hope our guide on making your own recipe book has inspired you to get started on your very own cookbook. With WTTB’s tips and printing options, you could have your very own cookbook in your hands before you can say Bon Appétit!


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