How to Self-Publish Your Cookbook – Step #4

Now that you’ve entered your recipes, pictures, stories or whatever into the book, you’re almost done! As I mentioned before, most platforms let you move the recipes and/or pages around so start looking at the book to see if you like the order. The two platforms I mentioned have a table of contents automatically created as you enter the recipes so take a look at that and make sure 1) all the recipes you wanted to include are listed there, and 2) everything is in the order you prefer.

Next, download the preview/pdf of your book and start carefully reviewing your book. Look for typos and anything that might confuse a reader. Sometimes you have spent so much time with a book that it’s hard for you to spot the typos or errors. Maybe you know someone with great attention to detail and they would be willing to review the book for you? Sometimes, even then, there may be some typos. That’s ok. It makes your book human. 🙂

After you’ve made any last changes or corrections, you’re ready to submit your book! Congratulations!

What questions do you have? Anything I didn’t cover?

How to Self-Publish Your Cookbook – Step #3

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 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!

How to Self-Publish Your Cookbook – Step #2

Yesterday we talked about first identifying what your book will contain and who will be the audience.

Today, let’s look more closely at the book contents and talk about how to prepare your contents. Let’s say you have decided to include family recipes and family photographs. You will want to start gathering your recipes and the photographs you want to include. Think about categorizing the recipes into sections such as, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts. Or maybe you want to categorize the recipes by year or decade: 1970, 1980, 1990, etc. The farmer’s market cookbook I created was categorized by Spring, Summer and Fall. The recipes in those sections utilized fresh produce you could find at the market during those seasons.

Now, look at the recipes you have and put them into your categories. You might also want to take notes on recipes you want to include, but don’t have yet. If others will be providing recipes, communicate your need to them and a date by when you will need their recipes or photographs. If you want to offer the book as Christmas gifts I would recommend obtaining the recipes by May at the latest. This gives you plenty of time to get them typed up.

Pay attention to how many recipes and pictures your book will have. This determines the cost if you decide to go with an online company to actually produce your book. Otherwise, you could control the entire book– type it up and have it copied for others or send it as a digital file.

It will be helpful to have the photographs as digital images for ease of inclusion in the book. You may be able to take a decent photograph of those you don’t have as digital files and still include them. This might also be a good choice for recipes in the handwriting of a member who has passed. Handwriting tends to be very unique and as soon as you see it, you know who’s writing it is. Maybe you’d like to include the recipe as a photograph to preserve the handwriting. Play with lighting to make sure you get the best image possible.

So for this step you have determined the sections of the cookbook and the number of recipes and photographs you would like to use.

Tomorrow, let’s talk about how to start typing the recipes.

Is This the Year?

I’ve self-published more than 20 cookbooks since 2005 and every so often someone will say to me, “Oh, I would love to write a cookbook of my family recipes.” Is THIS the year you actually do it?

I would love to help you. I’m going to create a series of posts that outline the steps to take to publish your own cookbook.

Today, let’s decide what your book will look like.

First, decide what kind of book you want to create. Recipes, sure, but do you want to add pictures to the book? Pictures of food? Or pictures of family members? Do you want to add family stories? Will you be the only author? Or will family members be submitting contents as well?

This year, my husband and I created a cookbook of favorite recipes from my family and his, including recipes he used to make for his daughters. BUT we also included devotions suitable for those who might have questions about Christianity and what it is to be a believer. We created this book specifically for his daughters and my nephews and niece. We completed a version for his family that included pictures of that side of the family and then changed out the pictures for my family version.

Who is your audience? Is this just a family cookbook? Or will it also be for friends? Will it be for sale in your community?

I used to sell cookbooks at my local farmer’s market and even created a cookbook from the market with seasonal produce recipes and recipes submitted by the other vendors. Another cookbook I created was for a RV dealer to give to customers who purchased an RV. That book contained a lot of grilling and one pot meals suitable for RV life. Maybe you have a lot of knowledge of cooking for young children, so your book is going to help moms everywhere.

If you’re going to sell your book in your community, start to consider who might purchase it and where you might be able to market this book.

Another thing to consider is whether you need printed copies or will only want digital versions. Again, who is your audience and what type of book will suit them best?

So, your first step is to think about the type of book you want to create, who will receive it, and how they will access it.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

We had this tasty dip on New Year’s Day and it’s a keeper!

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

2 TB finely diced onion

14 oz can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained

3 oz light cream cheese

10 slices tamed jalapenos

1 c. grated cheddar cheese

3 TB salsa

Hot sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350*. Place peas in medium bowl and partially mash some. Add remaining ingredients and bake 20 minutes or until bubbly.  Stir and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

Hubby and I loved these!

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

7 oz pork chorizo

12 oz shredded potatoes

1/3 c. diced onion

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 eggs, beaten

8 Small tortillas

½ c. shredded cheddar cheese

Salsa, cilantro- optional

Add chorizo, potatoes and onion to large skillet.  Cook until potatoes are done. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Add eggs and stir so softly set. Divide mixture between tortillas and top with cheese and salsa and cilantro, if desired.

Yield: 8

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

¼ c. Dijon mustard

¼ c. grainy mustard

½ c. honey

1 tsp soy sauce

½ tsp dried tarragon

½ tsp ginger powder

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 350⁰. Combine Dijon, grainy mustard, honey, soy sauce, tarragon and ginger in a large bowl. Coat chicken in mustard mixture and place on baking sheet. I added diced potatoes to the baking sheet and poured the remaining mustard mixture over all.  You could always leave the potatoes off or use other vegetables of your choice. Brussels sprouts might be good.

Yield: 6 servings.

Quinoa Chicken

Quinoa Chicken

2 c. fat free chicken broth

1 c. quinoa, rinsed

½ c. diced onion

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies

14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

11 oz can green enchilada sauce

In medium sauce pan, bring broth to a boil and add quinoa; cook until water is absorbed. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onion, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and ground chicken (could also use diced chicken breast or thighs or cooked roasted chicken instead). When chicken is done add tomatoes, black beans and enchilada sauce. Add cooked quinoa and combine.  

Yield: 4 servings.

Ranch-Baked Chicken w/Bacon, Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Ranch-Baked Chicken w/ Bacon, Sprouts and Potatoes

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

1 lb red potatoes, halved or quartered

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed

Salt & pepper, to taste

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp thyme

1 oz pkg Ranch dressing powder

6 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 400⁰. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken on baking sheet. Add potatoes and sprouts to baking sheet.  Sprinkle all with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Pour Ranch dressing powder over all then lay bacon over the top.

Bake until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear, about 30-35 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Chicken Tamale Bake

Hubby said I can make this again! 🙂 It’s a nice take on tamales.

Chicken Tamale Bake

1 large egg

14 ¾ oz cream style corn

8.5 oz pkg cornbread/muffin mix

4 oz chopped green chilies

1/3 c. skim milk

¼ c. shredded Mexican cheese blend


2 c. chopped cooked chicken

10 oz enchilada sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp chili powder

¼ c. diced onion

1/3 c. whipped cream cheese

1 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided

Preheat oven to 400⁰. In a large bowl, combine egg, corn, cornbread mix, green chilies, milk and cheese. Spray 13×9 with cooking spray and pour in cornbread mix. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. In large skillet, combine chicken, enchilada sauce, cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion and whipped cream cheese. When well combined add ½ cup Mexican cheese and cook until melted. Spread over cornbread layer; top with cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings.