Overview of the Publishing Process
In this video, we are going to talk about the publishing process. What goes into it? How does it work? And what do you need to keep in mind as you get started down this journey. There's a lot to cover so, let's get started.
Regardless of whether you're publishing a book yourself through self publishing or you're publishing it traditionally, there's a lot of things that go into the process of writing and publishing a cookbook. We'll start with a general overview and then we'll dive into a few more of the specifics.
Overall Publishing Steps
First step is determining what your cookbook will be about, what content it's going to contain. Second step is to research, write and edit the book itself, which includes photography. The third step is to design and publish it in whatever formats you want. And then the fourth and final step is to distribute and promote your book. I want to quickly unpack each one of those steps. As I said, we will go into a lot more information about the majority of these through the rest of the course. But, what does each one of those steps look like?
Decide What Your Cookbook is About
The first step is to decide what your cookbook is about. And that involves figuring out what your goal is of publishing this cookbook. It's critical to any type of cookbook you're putting out, determining what you are trying to accomplish by publishing it.
Second is to figure out what type of cookbook you want to put out. Are you going to have a hundred recipes and that's it? Is it going to be a story or about a history of your family? Is it going to be a deep dive into informational aspects of using a specific technique or ingredient? There's a lot of different types of cookbooks and determining which one you're going to put out is critical to making sure that you move forward in the most efficient manner.
And finally, establishing exactly what is the subject of your cookbook. There are a lot of different considerations you want to keep in mind while you're trying and figure out what your subject is. But obviously before you get started writing, you need to know what your book is about. It's also going to set you up for success if you choose wisely.
Research, Write, and Edit Your Cookbook
The second step is to research, write and edit your cookbook. Gathering enough details to make sure you have an entire cookbook worth of material involves researching your subject, finding out what information and recipes people are looking for and making sure you provide that for them in your book.
Once you've done your research, and you know what type of information you want to include, it's time to create it. Develop those recipes, write those guides, put together those stories, do the photography. All the things that go into the body of your cookbook needs to be created. And that can be the most exciting part of writing a cookbook and it could be the most frustrating part of writing a cookbook, depending where you are in the process. It's really fun at first but by month six, it can be pretty tiring. You've been doing it for a long time, because writing a cookbook is hard. Publishing it is pretty easy, but writing it is hard. So be prepared as you go into this process, it's probably going to be a lot of work.
Finally, once you've gone through this process of writing all the content, you need to test your recipes, you need to have someone edit and proofread your book. You need to make sure everything is spot on. This is not a blog post where you can update it instantly if someone points out a mistake two months from now. This is in printed format. It's going to be sitting on people's bookshelves and used in their kitchens. You want to make sure everything is exactly right before you send it to the printer.
And you can write this content in pretty much any program you want. I've written mine in Pages and Microsoft Word. I now do a lot of my writing in Google docs and I even have a note taking application that I often turn to. You're not worried about the design, the format or the layout at this point. You're just trying to write the content because the format and design will change based on where you're trying to publish it. And you should publish it in as many places as possible. So just writing it in simple plain text is the best way to get started. Then you can worry about all the design considerations down the road.
Design and Publish Your Cookbook
After all the testing and editing and proofing and photography is all done, you need to figure out what platforms you want to publish it on. I recommend doing as many as possible because you spent all this time and energy writing your book and making sure it's perfect. So, get it out there in as many formats as possible. Then, for each format you want to put it out in, you just need to design the cookbook. There's a lot of different ways to do that and it depends on the platform you're designing for. A print book is usually done in Microsoft Word or Pages for the Mac.
InDesign is a great choice for doing it. If you know that program and have access to it. There's a lot of different ways that you can approach doing it for eBooks. Many people just use Microsoft Word to help keep your format a lot simpler. There's such variety in Kindle readers that you don't want to lock yourself in. What's going to look great on a Kindle Fire, many appear little and really bad on a Kindle Paperwhite.
Then after design is complete you need to publish it on the platform of your choice. There's a lot of information out there about how to publish it and I go into many of the different options during the course.
Distribute and Promote Your Cookbook
Once your cookbook is written and published, your job is not done. There's still a ton more to do. You need to promote it, you need to market it, and you need to sell it. It's not going to sell itself. So, you need to get it in front of your readers, in front of your fans and let them know that you have a book out there. And then you can also start exploring the other options for an expanded distribution. Whether this is in retail outlets, go into your local farmer's market, or talking to equipment manufacturers and trying to get them to wholesale your book from you. There's a lot of options you can investigate while you try to get the most out of your book sales.
So now you have an overview of how the entire publishing process works. The majority of those steps apply regardless of if you're self publishing or if you're using the traditional publisher. A traditional publisher will do the layout and design in most cases and the actual distribution, but you still need to write the book, you still need to make sure that it looks good, and the recipes work. And you still need to do all the marketing and promotion afterwards.
So now you know what goes into it. There's a lot of moving parts, but I'm here to help you figure out what you need to know for each one. The next video is going to dive into determining what your cookbook goals are. You can't have a successful cookbook without it, and I'm going to help you with that next.