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The Cooks Palate Blog

Entries in cookbook self-publishing (3)


Is self-publishing a cookbook right for you?

It seems many folks cannot imagine how the process of making a cookbook actually works and what is involved.  I think when the process is broken down you will be able to envision it and see that anyone can make a cookbook with the right manuscript creation tools and a little planning.

Most anyone who wants to write a cookbook knows who the target audience is.  It is either for the family, a fund raiser or as income to the author.  However, what most people don’t know is that one type of book doesn’t preclude another.  You can prepare a cookbook as a soft cover, black and white book and sell it through Amazon and bookstores for free.  You can then use the same cookbook manuscript file to make a full color, hard cover coffee table version for your family and friends at no additional cost.  It is very cost effective to repurpose a book manuscript in multiple printed formats: hard cover, soft cover, wire bound, Black and -white, mixed color, full color, eBook, etc.  You can have an ISBN or not depending on your distribution goals.

Once you decide which recipes would be most appropriate for your audience, the rest of the process just follows along.  You can add or delete recipes at any time until you actually print the book, so don’t worry about being accurate and comprehensive in your recipe selection starting out.  Enter the recipes in a software program like the Cook’s Palate.  You can enter them without regard to where they will end up in the book.  The Cooks Palate automatically scales recipes for the proper number of servings and analyzes nutrition as desired.  Since it takes between 10-15 minutes to enter a recipe you can estimate how long it will take to enter all recipes for the book.  For example to enter 100 recipes at 15 minutes each you can enter 4 recipes in 1 hour.  In this case, it will take (100/4=25) 25 hours or less for each 100 recipes. 

Now, to organize the chapter sections of your cookbook, enter a chapter name and add recipes to it. Once recipes are associated with chapters, you can import the draft manuscript from The Cooks Palate into The Publisher, which is basically an editor like MS Word.  This is where you prepare the pysical layout of the manuscript. 

In the Publisher, you use templates to design the layout for the intended output formats:  hard cover, soft cover, wire bound, black and white, full color, e-Book etc.  You select a physical size, common cookbook page types that you want to include (Index, Table of Contents, Forward, Acknowledgements, etc).  You can insert images and an index which is automatically built from your manuscript design.  pictures. You can also include any stories that you want, such as family history, background of the recipe, how the diet works, etc.  Once teh manuscript is completed, you can export the manuscript file and submit it to us for printing.  We will choose the right printer for the right book format for you.  Our printers include, among others, Amazon and Ingram the two most prominent printers, and all specialize in library quality books.

A self-published cookbook is within reach of anyone motivated enough to write one.  Wouldn’t a family cookbook make a great Christmas present in 2012?


Holiday Cookbooks Celebrate the Season

Many cooks would like to write a cookbook, but they can’t visualize doing it.  The project seems overwhelming.  In the next few postings we will outline a “how to” process for you.  Today, we will concentrate on getting organized.  I think when you understand the process, most of the barriers to getting started will fall away.

To start, we assume you are using The Cooks Palate software or another recipe database program.  Word processing programs are not recommended for recipe data entry because they are text editors and entered recipes cannot be scaled, calculated for nutrition or intelligently indexed or managed.
To get started, rather than trying to define the whole process, just start entering recipes into the recipe database.  The old writer’s adage “write a page a day and pretty soon you’ll have a book” applies here.  After all, that’s what your cookbook is, a collection of your recipes.  You can worry about chapters, indexing, images, layout etc.  later.  You can enter your recipes without regard to where they will be placed in the book or how many they will serve.  You can estimate that recipe entry will take between 10 and 15 minutes each.  

Once you have entered your recipes, organizing the cookbook is simple.  You just select your first chapter, (appetizers, first course, etc.) and then click on the recipes that you want in that chapter.  The Cook’s Palate then puts them in the chapter and alphabetizes them.  Do that for each chapter and your basic cookbook is done.

In the future postings we will show you how to turn this basic cookbook into a finished manuscript, suitable for printing.  We will show you how to create a manuscript for a spiral bound book, a soft cover book and even a full color, hard cover, dust jacketed, coffee table book.  This are library quality books that can be sold in bookstores, as family cookbooks or for fundraising.


How To Make a Cookbook using The Cooks Palate Publishing System

View Recipe of The Week

The hardest part of making a cookbook is figuring out how to get started.  There are two major issues.  First, how to get your recipes electronically entered in a useful way, and second, how to turn those recipes into a finished manuscript, suitable for printing.  The two programs that comprise the Cook's Palate Publishing System, the Cook’s Palate and the Publisher, work together to solve these problems.

The Cook’s Palate allows you to enter recipes in any fashion.  The database makes sure that all recipes are in a unified format.  The software scales the recipes to the correct serving size and analyzes the nutrition.  When all of the recipes are entered, you just select the recipe lineup you want for each chapter.   The Cook’s Palate orders them in the chapter and alphabetizes them to create your cookbook.

Once the recipes are configured in chapters, it is time to import them into the Publisher.  When you open your newly created cookbook in the Publisher, a “wizard” guides you through the process of creating a finished manuscript.  The wizard asks you things like what size is your book, what binding do you prefer, are you going to sell your cookbook in bookstores, etc.  You can also choose from a selection of template pages to insert pages such as a forward, acknowledgement,  or introduction.  There are a total of 15 template pages to choose from.  It also creates a cross-referenced index.  When you have finished with the wizard you have a complete manuscript ready for editing.

The Publisher’s powerful editing tools allow you to make global edits to the recipes.  If you don’t like the font, or the size of the font, or even the color for any section, you can make the change in one recipe and the Publisher will change it in all of the recipes.  You can insert pictures, photos and drawings anywhere in the manuscript.

If you want to write a story as part of your cookbook, you just insert a page break, which gives you a blank page and type away.

See how easy it is to get your first cookbook in print with The Cook's Palate Publishing system.