Can You Self-Publish A Recipe Book Or Cookbook?

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How To Self-Publish A Recipe Book

Recipe books, cookbooks, cook books or cookery books are always popular, by whatever name.

Cooking blogs are among the most popular sites on the Internet.

Millions of home cooks visit these sites every single day looking for new dinner recipes to try.

Long gone are the days of lugging a heavy hardcover version of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book to the kitchen to prepare a weeknight dinner.

Today, we take our smartphone, iPad or laptop and have our favourite recipes in a bookmark folder.

Whether it’s a pot roast, rotisserie chicken or a quick pasta recipe, books are out and online and onscreen is in for delicious recipes.

An iPad especially is so useful in the kitchen, as this short video demonstrates.

It is in German, but you won’t need to understand a word to know exactly what is going on.


Your mother had a recipe journal notebook, you have a recipe blog

You might already have a cooking blog, or you are thinking about starting one.

The reason that recipes are a great subject for a blog is that with a little SEO knowledge, it is not difficult to attract a lot of visitors.

When you can do this, you can then make money from advertising on your recipe pages. It is the classic ‘recipe’ for a great cooking site.

There are many platforms you can use. Read our article on How To Start A Blog if you want more details.

The main ingredients of a terrific recipe site are to use fantastic colourful images and to add a short backstory to all your recipes.

It is a successful formula that is used by traditionally published cookbook authors and also a lot of TV shows about cooking.

eggs and flour

Another important factor is to make sure your text is error-free.

Some cooking blogs make the mistake of thinking that proofreading is only for books. It is not true.

Poor proofreading is a bad recipe.

A recipe should be proofread at least three times to make sure the ingredients and method match perfectly. It should also be free of grammar and spelling errors.

Typos, bad spelling and poor grammar is a perfect recipe for losing readers very fast.

But once you are producing great posts about your favorite recipes, you will get readers.

You can write about how to use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. What about 50 ideas with ground beef in 30 minutes?

If you find some traction. perhaps you might think about also publishing a recipe book.

But, publishing traditional color cookbooks is expensive, even if you use print on demand.

Have you thought about getting your recipe book published as an ebook? It is a much less expensive option.


More reading: 7 Best Free Tools For Self-Publishing Authors


Why and how to self-publish a cooking ebook

ham and eggs

Ebooks can be read on so many different devices.

When ebooks first arrived, they were a black and white experience only. But with iPads and Kindle Fire devices, your recipes can shine as full color cookbooks.

Because of this, they are ideal to use in the kitchen.

Whether you have a blog or not, the best reason to self-publish is to make some money.

Making your recipe ebook available for sale on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, gives you the opportunity to earn money from each sale.

You can easily promote your book on your blog, or make it a great gift for new subscribers using an Amazon gift card.

If you don’t have a blog you can use social media to promote your book very effectively.

beef fillet

Self-publishing an ebook that is only text is very easy.

But with writing a cookbook, you will have a lot of images. So you need to take things step by step to make sure your ebook will be attractive to readers.

If you want to publish on Amazon, you need to use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Once you have registered your account, you can download a program called Kindle Create.

Kindle Create is very good if you want to make an ebook with lots of images and complex formatting. This makes it ideal for cookbook publishing.

It is very easy to use, and you can add as many images as you wish. You can format your text much better for a recipe’s ingredient list, method and any suggested cooking tips.

The only areas where you need to take great care is in the size of your images, and image credits.


Managing images for an ebook


Images for your cookbook project can make an ebook file size gigantic.

If your ebook file size is too large, you may find the delivery charge that Amazon applies to a Kindle ebook sale might exceed your royalty.

It is vital that you learn how to compress your images to a size and resolution that is suitable for ebooks.

If you are not sure how to do this, you can read our article on How To Compress Images For Ebooks.

The images I have used in this article have all been losslessly reduced to be as small as possible. But as you can see, they are still bright, sharp and colourful.

The other issue you need to address is the attribution of credits for your images.

If you plan to take all your own photographs, there is nothing for you to do.

But if you use royalty free stock images, you need to check if you need to add creative commons attribution or any other form of credit.

All the images I have used in this article are from Pixabay.

The licence for each image reads: CC0 Creative Commons – Free for commercial use – No attribution required.

This is why I have not added credits to my images.

You cannot copy and use images from anywhere on the Internet. So forget about sneakily using images from the New York Times. That will get you into serious trouble.

Another consideration is whether you should use the services of a book cover designer. You will need a standout cover to help get book sales, so make sure it shines.

If you have all these bases covered, you are ready to self-publish your award-winning pumpkin soup cookery ebook!



Other factors to consider before you publish

If you do a search on Amazon Kindle books for recipe books, you will notice that the majority of the most popular books are based on a single theme.

Publishing a generalised book of something similar to a recipe card collection with no connection in theme doesn’t usually work well.

A collection of recipes needs to be associated with a subject more precise than just a family favourite collection.

Think about your theme before you start. Perhaps recipes of an international cuisine, a special cooking method like Instant Pot, sheet pan dinners or even seasonal recipes.

The more focussed your theme of recipes, the easier it will be to promote our book.

Cookbooks, food, recipes and cooking are all extremely popular topics for just about everyone. We all love to eat!

But for an ebook to be successful, you need to focus all your energy on finding your very particular niche in a huge market.

Billions of people love food, but you only need to find a few hundred to make your book a sales success.

Promoting a cooking ebook is no different from any other book, but it has distinct advantages because so many people love food and cooking.

But be careful and select your two categories and seven Amazon keywords carefully, and it will help you enormously in attracting book buyers.

Good luck and bon appétit!


More reading: Where to find a free book cover creator


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “Can You Self-Publish A Recipe Book Or Cookbook?

  • December 11, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Do you know if the photos taken with my iphone 8 will be accepted by KDP or will I need to change their format? I was hearing about something called mdky I think, a 4 color format that was needed. Thank you.

  • November 8, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Thanks for this information, I have published a cookbook Vol 1 with a self publishing company, many people love the book but, it’s too expensive. I’m planning to try your advice and publish in eBook format.


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