How to Publish a Cookbook in 6 Easy-As-Pie Steps
If you’re hoping to learn how to publish a cookbook, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we’ll look at all the cookbook-specific aspects of the publishing process.
We’ve already looked at how you can make a cookbook and self-publish it in a previous post. So in this post, we’ll assume you’ve decided to take the other route, and publish traditionally. In traditional publishing, nonfiction authors do not need to write their books in full before contacting publishers. Instead, they spend a while outlining, refining, and researching their ideas in a book proposal they then shop around to publishers. The reason is simple: if publishers accept their proposal, the book will change during the acquisition process, so the authors don’t have to finalize everything beforehand.
However, this doesn’t mean authors should rush to start submitting proposals. They still need to spend a lot of time working on their concept and structure — not to mention the actual formulation and testing of the recipes. If you’re ready, let’s start diving from the frying pan into the fire!
Step 1: Refine your book idea
When you pitch a book, you need to be certain that your cookbook is needed in the culinary literary market at this moment. This includes thinking hard about how original your idea is, how you could structure your cookbook, and who your audience could be, in order to crystallise your creative idea into a solid book project.
Step 2: Write your book proposal
You’ll need a book proposal to find a literary agent, and to submit your idea to publishers. This 15-50 page document is an essential element of the non-fiction query letter, and it’s what you’ll send to agents and publishers to pitch your cookbook.
Step 3: Polish and submit your proposal
Now that you’ve exhausted your own abilities to improve that proposal, you can bring in the experts. This is your one shot at securing a book deal, so make sure it’s perfect before submission.
Step 4: Finalize your recipes
Once you’ve secured a book deal, your next step is to make the content of your cookbook as appealing as possible. That means testing your recipes, actually writing your cookbook content, and commissioning visuals, whether these are photographs or illustrations.
Step 5: Ensure you’re happy with your book’s design
There are two aspects of your book’s design that you need to be on board with:
- exterior (front and back covers, plus spine);
- interior (typesetting, typography, page layouts, use of photography/illustrations).