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Once you have identified who will buy your book, you can target your marketing plan and your book design with your customers in mind, such as: · Where do they shop? · Where do they play? · What style of book appeals to them? - (research your competition closely). · What price are they willing to pay? · How many pictures do they want in a cook book? (a lack of photos can kill book sales) · What colors attract them? (spend time in book stores and libraries, learning which books have most appealing appearance) · What size of book is currently popular? · What type of book binding increases sales? · Are they concerned about health or other issues? · Do they appreciate little stories, jokes, cooking tips or other information in book?
Sometimes I took two steps forward then had to take one step back, but at other times I took one step forward and two back. Don’t waste time way that I did – use my experiences to your advantage (in Recipe for Success I have included many resources and templates to help you. Once you have a grasp of basics, you can actually begin to put your cook book publishing and marketing plans into action.
Of course, a cook book has special challenges that other books may not have. Your primary goal is to give people unique, delicious recipes that they can create successfully in their own homes. That means that you have to measure exactly and your instructions must be clear and simple. You will have to test each recipe over and over until it turns out perfectly every time, then you will have to enlist other people to prepare those recipes independently of you. No matter what their comments, you must take critiques of your testers seriously because if they do not achieve great results chances are very good that your customers will be unhappy with their “flops”. Finally, it is a good idea to have recipes tested by a professional home economist or other food expert.
Depending on focus of your cook book, you might want to include nutrition information such as calories and fat content. Fortunately, there is now computer software that will do calculations for you. You must also provide an index at back of book, and thankfully, software is available for this chore also.
Food photography is a special challenge of its own, requiring many tricks to make good look appealing. A good food photographer is a vital part of your cook book publishing team. Great attention must be paid to every minute detail, down to grains of pepper in a dish and to bubbles on top of a cup of coffee. Each photograph can require four hours of shooting time, if not more, so plan adequate time for photo shoot. The services of a food stylist are very helpful, but with research you can do a great deal of food styling yourself. Find as many books as you can on subject and practice in advance of photo shoot. I learned simple tricks like:
sticking sandpaper to plate to prevent food from slipping
using whipped icing or shaving cream in place of ice cream or whipped cream
placing a shot glass under a very thickly cut slice of lemon to prevent lemon from absorbing liquid underneath
using beef bouillon in place of “coffee”
using dish detergent to create bubbles in “coffee”
using a blow torch to make meat appear cooked
and list goes on…
Food styling is such fun, but it requires a great deal of time, even in advance of photo shoot. You will need all of your “props” in place, such as dishes, cutlery, flowers, table linens, food items and backgrounds. Many companies will happily lend these items to you in exchange for a credit in book – this can appear on Cataloging in Publication data page at beginning of your book.
When your book is ready to go to print, it is time to put your cook book marketing and publicity campaign into gear:
· Decide on best time of year to launch your book. September is usually best month for Christmas sales, but you also face steep competition. Try to think of a time that is appropriate for your book, such as January for a healthy eating book, late Spring for a barbecue book, Valentine’s Day for a romantic book, Heart and Stroke month for a heart-healthy book, etc. · Produce galley copies. · Send galleys to appropriate book clubs (look at their websites to learn their submission requirements). · Research appropriate catalogs and send galleys to them. · Have your publicist approach magazines that review cook books (magazines have long lead times). · Stay in contact with any corporations and organizations that might use your book for promotions. · Find a reputable distributor to have your book accepted by book store trade, as well as other retailers. · Contact non-book store book sellers. When your book is ready to roll off press, get your publicity campaign into high gear. You can have best book in world, but if no one knows about it, no one will buy it. The easy part is over – publicity and marketing now become your life. This part is most fun, as you now reap rewards of all of your efforts. Your goal now is to turn your cook book title into a household word. Go for it -- publish your own cook book!
© Copyright 2004 Ink Tree Ltd. http://www.inktreemarketing.com/PublishaCookbook.htm
Denise Hamilton self published her own cookbook and has sold over 250,000 copies to date. She is now sharing her secrets with other authors.