Once you’ve located all of your recipes and photographs into sections or categories it is time to prepare the recipes. First, consider what platform you are going to use to publish your book. Do you want to type them up, add the pictures and run to Kinko’s? (Do they still exist??)
For the cookbooks I was selling online, and at craft shows and farmer’s markets I used Morris Press Cookbooks from Nebraska. They create A LOT of church cookbooks, among others. No, I am not getting paid to mention them or anyone else. I’m just telling you what worked for me. I had only one picture in the books and it was at the front of the book. So if you are dreaming of adding a lot of pictures, this may not be the platform for you, unless you want to type it up and send it to them as a pdf they can just print. I did do a book that way. It was a combo book. Appetizers on one side, then you flipped it over and there was a dessert book. What I really liked about Morris Press, among other things, is the covers and dividers you can choose from. I haven’t been to their site in a while, but when I was creating those books I thought they had some really cute options to choose from. Keep in mind that the number of dividers you use, brings the cost of the book up. I learned that after my first book. It’s best to combine what you can and what you can and as it makes sense. So, for instance, instead of having a divider for chicken, a divider for pork, and a divider for beef, you might want to have a section for “meat” and just the one divider. I think the charge was .10 per divider per book. Which adds up if you’re printing a lot of books.
For this last book Hubby and I created, we used Createmycookbook.com. You can scope out their charges, but if I remember correctly, you could create a 100 page book with 20-25 pictures and get it printed for $20 per book (depending on the type of cover you chose), plus shipping. I really liked that I could change recipe formats. One recipe might be a standard two column lists of ingredients with directions below and another might be a list of ingredients with numbered instructions. You can also change fonts on every recipe if you like. I don’t recommend that, but you can. What really sold me on them for this book was that it allowed me to enter many more pictures, as well as story pages where I could add devotions. And the cost wasn’t prohibitive even if I only wanted 5 to 6 books. I did not, however, see a way to add dividers, but maybe I missed that somehow. Still, the book made a nice Christmas gift. Again, no, I’m not getting paid by them to recommend them.
So, will you enter the recipes yourself in the online platform, type them in a Word doc and send a pdf to be published or hire someone to type them for you? Yes, I believe both Morris Press and Create My Cookbook will type the recipes for you if you pay them. If you want me to organize them and type them for you, I charge $2 to $3 per page.
For our purposes here, let’s say you are typing them into an online platform. It’s pretty much like using Word. You can bold titles, copy and paste, etc. And when you get the recipes typed in the platform will let you move them around if you decide they aren’t in the order you prefer. Or maybe someone sends you a recipe late and you need to slide it in. Totally doable.
Think about the recipes you see in books and how they are structured. As you start typing list the ingredients in the order of use in the recipe. If you first need to chop half an onion, then the onion and amount go first on your list. You also want to be consistent with how you list the ingredients and measures. For instance, I use TB for tablespoon, but I’ve also seen Tbsp for tablespoon. There’s no law. Use whatever you like, just make sure people will be able to understand what you mean.
After you’ve listed the ingredients in order, make sure the directions are in order and that they tell the reader what to do with each ingredient. Should I preheat the over now? Is the pasta supposed to be cooked before adding it in? Or do I dump it in uncooked? Some people using your book might be beginners at cooking. Be kind to them and make the instructions easy to follow.
Createmycookbook’s platform allowed us to tell a little bit about each recipe. So I was able to tell about some of the family recipes–who’s they were and their claim to fame. My slow cooker sausage dressing recipe once won a prize in Light & Tasty (Taste of Home) magazine! This platform also allowed me to upload family pictures from my computer.
In summary, consider what platform you want to use and carefully type in your recipes and stories, and sprinkle in pictures (if you’re adding them).
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about final steps. You’re almost there!