Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tips for Writing a Cookbook

Celebrity chefs are the new icon and many of them are pouring cookbooks onto the market. However, this does not mean that a newcomer should give up their dreams of writing a cookbook. More and more kitchens are home to large collections of cookbooks. Putting together a collection of your own may seem like a simple task, but creating one that consumers want to purchase can be difficult. If you are thinking of writing your own cookbook, here are some tips to get you started.

Read Other Cookbooks

Spend some time in your local bookstore or public library to research what kinds of books are on the market. Pay attention to how the books are organized, what information is presented, and what subjects are covered. What about these books do you like? What do you think could be improved on? Is there something obviously missing? If there is a type of cookbook out there that you would want to purchase, it is likely that other people would as well.

Find a Hook

Can you describe the theme of your cookbook in a single sentence? Focus your energy on a specific idea, ingredient, or course. There are plenty of large, general cookbooks on the market. Most homes contain a copy of the Joy of Cooking or a similar tome. What people are looking for is something that details many ways of preparing their favorite type of cuisine, or something that exposes them to something new and different.

Be Original

There are thousands of cookbooks on the market today. What makes your hook different from all the books that have already been published? Do you have a new take on an old idea? Do you have information or expertise that makes you uniquely qualified to write this cookbook? Publishers receive numerous submissions every day. It is important that your cookbook stand out and not be a clone of something already on their list.

Make it Uniform

Standardize the way you present your recipes when you are organizing your cookbook. Use the same system of measurement throughout. Make sure that your abbreviations are consistent if you are going to use them. Your cookbook should feel like one entity from the beginning to the end. If you decide to self-publish your book, the formatting will be entirely up to you so it is simplest to decide on the style from the beginning.

Be Specific

Could a cooking novice pick up your book and create your recipes? If you are writing for the home cook, make sure that your directions are clear and specific. There may be steps that you take for granted, but a novice cook will need to know exactly what it expected of them. List the equipment that will need, including sizes as applicable. Use measurements instead of phrases like a "dash" or a "sprinkle" whenever possible. Include estimated cooking and preparation times on each recipe.

Tell a Story

Many successful cookbooks include small paragraphs or even entire stories about the recipes that are presented. Sharing your own point of view about the recipes allows you to bring your unique story into the mix. This introductory paragraph can also be a good place to mention any possible variations or additions to the recipe. Bring your own personality to the cookbook will give it heart.

Test Your Recipes Carefully

Your recipes need to work as they are written. Have a friend or other beta reader go through your manuscript and look for any inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or other errors. Then sit down to actually cook them. If your readers find that your recipes fail, they will not buy your next effort.

Writing a cookbook is a fun and exciting way to share culinary knowledge with the world. There will always be a market for great recipes. Spend time thinking about your ideas and brainstorming what recipes might best work in your outline. By utilizing these tips, you can create a cookbook that people will want to read.

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