Wednesday, June 10, 2020

On Writing a Cookbook

Let me tell you a little story about a cookbook...

In a life, far away, and nearly 15 years ago, I wrote and self-published a cookbook.  I  wrote it while working as an admin, in the office where I met Hubby.  The cookbook was just a wild idea, to which my then boyfriend fanned the flames.  He encouraged me to write and see what would happen.  I wrote the copy, found friends to test recipes, asked other friends to read and edit.  I even got my mom in on the editing and recipe testing.  I formated the book, had it printed and bound at the local copy shop, and sold them.  I did a word of mouth campaign and even mailed postcards to people.  My friends and family bought copies, and I saw it as a huge success.  

I'd done it!  I wrote and self-published my own cookbook.  There was a second book, and eventually, it lead to a blog I wrote for seven years.  Then we moved to Alaska and I struggled with writing blog posts and eventually, I took the blog down.  

I thought I'd never go back to it.  I thought I was done.  I thought I would find a new thing to fill that spot in my life.  Yet, here we are a few years later, with a new blog about my life and my food fascination.  Sharing my Alaskan life, talking about recipes, and sharing what I'm creating in the kitchen.  All it took was a pandemic, with a two-month quarantine and a shelter in place mandate to bring it all back around.

I've begun working on a few new things.  I started pulling together all the recipes from that first blog, with the idea to create another volume.  That idea started leading me down the rabbit hole of how to publish an ebook.  After falling through the looking glass, I began exploring the Kindle Direct Publishing.  Don't get too excited, yet. There is a lot of work ahead before I can get to the epub book.    

I started thinking about how much more beneficial it would be if I stated at the beginning, offering the first two books with digital options...rabbit hole number two.  

I dug through digital files and pulled up the first cookbook.  Two weeks ago I started editing.  I've been working diligently on this project, updating, revising, and reformating.  If you follow me on Instagram you've seen a few sneak peeks of the work in progress.  

My plan is to work my way through the first book, not only with edits but by cooking every recipe again.  Some recipes won't make the final cut, some will be updated to reflect the changes I've made over the years, and some will be classics left untouched.  I'm also considering merging my first two cookbooks into one, but that's not definitive as of yet.  Two volumes is always better than one...right?

The original books were published in much of the same way as a community or church cookbook with a spiral bind.  If you click the cookbook tab, you can check out the current version with a cover and title update from about five years ago.  You can also still purchase this version of the first two books.  Once the edits are complete and the ebooks become available this version will go into the archives and will no longer be available.

I've not decided if I'll be publishing the new version in the same way again, or if I will be putting everything in the hands of Kindle Direct Publishing.  They offer an option to publish both an ebook and a paperback with on-demand printing.  I really struggle with cookbooks only being offered in ebook or PDF format, as I like the physical tangibility of a real cookbook.  I also grasp that ebooks are the way of the future and cooks are moving that direction with their collections.  I might also offer the traditional spiral-binding here on the site.  Your input would be much appreciated.  Leave me a comment below and let me know how you use your cookbooks.  Do you love a physical book or have you gone to using your phone or tablet in the kitchen?


2 comments:

  1. I am staring the task/project of making a family cookbook in the face. Alex wants the recipes for the meals I make that he loves. Some of them have recipes that I started with and have since adjusted for our tastes and others have no real recipe, I just make them. It will be an adventure/chore to put them together in a coherent way.

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    1. I would suggest using Google Docs to build your collection, so much easier to share and work on from anywhere. Google Docs also auto formats fractions, which is a huge plus in my opinion.

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