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Is Self Publishing Right for You?

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Who Can Write a Cookbook?


Or more accurately, anybody who is willing to put in the time and energy.

Writing a cookbook is not easy, it is a lot of hard work. But if you are committed to learning about the process and willing to work hard to make it happen, you can definitely write and publish a great cookbook of your own.

Right now, self publishing is easy. You don't need money. You don't need a place to store thousands of books. And you definitely don't need to get permission from anyone else. All you need is an idea for a book and the work ethic to actually create it.

Our site is focused on food bloggers who are looking to create a cookbook. Luckily, as food bloggers, all of you are uniquely positioned to write a cookbook. You understand recipe development and writing, food photography and how to connect with readers. These are all critical skills to writing a cookbook and food bloggers have a leg up on other potential authors. You also have a built in marketing base with your readers and your network of other food bloggers.

Why Shouldn't You Write a Cookbook?

Many people get into cookbook writing for the wrong reasons. While cookbook writing can be very rewarding, it's important to remember that it is a long, arduous process filled with lots of work. Some of the common bad reasons people get into cookbook writing are:

Get Rich

If you have dreams of publishing a cookbook that becomes a number one best seller and brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars you will probably end up being very, very disappointed. There are thousands of cookbooks published every year, hundreds of which are of great quality, and only a handful will become top sellers. While we will show you how to make money through self publishing, it is normally in smaller amounts that build up over time.

Get Famous

In the same vein, it is very unlikely that your first cookbook becomes a huge sensation and people start to recognize you or your blog overnight. Much like publishing a blog, it takes time and energy to promote yourself and your writing before people start to notice you.

Because It's Fun

I don't want to sound too discouraging so I will start by saying that many parts of publishing a cookbook are very fun. I love putting the recipes together, seeing the final printed product and hearing from users that love a recipe. All of those things are very, very rewarding.

However, publishing a cookbook is a lot of hard work. And even if everything goes great, there's still at least 25% to 40% of the publishing process that is frustrating, boring, and discouraging. There are lots of stumbling blocks when publishing a book. Over the years I've ran into:

  • Receiving the proofing of the first draft, full of corrections (they're good corrections, but it is still never fun to see)
  • Having a recipe fail 50% of the time but being unable to figure out why
  • Deciding to change a recipe format (and having to go back and manually edit 100+ recipes)
  • Running into a deadline and having to test 3-4 recipes a day for 2 weeks
  • Having your book reviewed as "presented in a hopelssly unispirational way" (typos left in for effect)
  • Selling a tenth as many copies as you were hoping for

As I said, there are a lot of great things about publishing a book but if you're doing it just "because it's fun" it will be very hard to work through the un-fun parts when they come up.

Why Should You Write a Cookbook?

There are many reasons to publish a cookbook and here are my top five.

Increase Authority

Number 5 is the increase in authority you acquire. Most people view someone that has written a book on a subject as more of an authority than someone who hasn't. Part of this is that to write a book on a subject, you need to BECOME an authority.

Now this authority manifests itself in many ways. Your readers will view you as more of an expert than they do now. New readers will automatically give you more trust up front. Other bloggers will look up to you and view you as a larger presence than you were before you published. Companies, retailers, and other potential partners or clients will also view a published author as having more credibility than a "regular blogger".

Increase Brand Recognition

The number 4 reason to self publish is that having a published cookbook out there increases your brand recognition. This is especially true within your niche. It's a great feeling to send an email to a company and hear back from their in-house chef who says they have your book on their shelf and and love your work.

Increase Network

This increase in authority and brand recognition also leads to an increase in the size of your network, the number 3 reason to self publish. It's easier to reach out to other bloggers and you will get a better response from them. Cold calls to companies that are potential partners or clients become easier.

You can also leverage your book to increase the size of your network. Contact the 15 or 20 largest blogs in your niche and find a way to work with them. Are they willing hold a contest to give away 2 of your books to their readers. If you have a PDF, set up an affiliate network where these blogs are getting paid for helping sell your book. Provide guest posts on these blogs that are recipes from your book. All of these are ways you can provide free content, swag, and revenue to bloggers in your niche with little to no cost to yourself.

Increase Revenue

The number 2 reason to self publish is to increase your revenue. Publishing a cookbook, whether print, ebook or pdf, allows you to add another revenue stream to your blog. As I shared earlier, book income can be more than enough to live off of.

It's also largely a passive revenue stream, meaning you continue to get paid for work you did in the past. I've been publishing books for 6 years now and during all this time, my second book was either my #1 or #2 best seller, despite it being several years old and no longer the focus of my marketing. In fact, it brought in more money in 2014 than it had in any other year.

Increase Opportunities

And what is the end result of increasing your authority, brand recognition, network, and revenue? Number 1, increasing your opportunities. Don't get me wrong, revenue is great, but through the process of publishing you will find opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise, even if you don't sell thousands of books.

Does that large client want to work with you because you're a published author? Did the major blog finally get back to you about guest posting because they remember seeing your name come up in Amazon search results? Can you speak at a conference like this because you have more name recognition that someone else? Do

you get the job writing columns for a magazine because you have the most credibility of the people that applied?

Some of the best opportunities that arise from publishing a book are things that you might not even have been aware of before you began writing it.

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