How to Write and Publish a Cookbook

Also by Norene Gilletz – The Right Way to Write Recipes

So you want to write a cookbook – congratulations! My name is Norene Gilletz and I am the author of several best selling cookbooks. I have edited many cookbooks and have also worked as a consultant for many cookbook projects for various fundraising groups over the years.

Gourmania Offers Culinary Solutions:

We can provide you with many services for your cookbook project:

Editing, indexing, nutrient analysis, food styling, designing of a culinary website, and media releases to promote your book once it is completed. We can also provide you with consulting services to help you get started and guide you along the way. You can also use my cookbooks as a fundraiser to help you raise funds to publish your cookbook. I hope you find the following information helpful. Good luck!

How to Write and Publish a Cookbook

Writing a cookbook is a job that requires lots of patience and passion for the project. It will take much, much more time than you thought possible, so be prepared!

Here are some tips that will be helpful:

  • All ingredients should be listed in order of use. Indicate if they are chopped, minced, melted, etc.
  • Contributors should be sure to include accurate package sizes and to provide the pan sizes needed for each recipe. Measurements should be as precise as possible.
  • Baking times should be accurate and give a test for doneness. (e.g., Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate overnight.)
  • Indicate whether to cook a recipe covered or not.
  • Indicate if you can make it ahead of time and if it can be frozen and/or reheated.
  • Indicate the number of servings.
  • If possible, have recipes tested by knowledgeable committee members. Set up meetings to taste the results.
  • You should have some sort of style sheet so that everyone is working within the same guidelines – very important. This saves time later on. Provide correct spellings so that the recipes are consistent. e.g., bread crumbs, not breadcrumbs.
  • Make sure there are no “dangling” ingredients – i.e., instructions that tell you to prepare an ingredient and set it aside (e.g., drain juice, reserving 1/2 cup), then the reserved ingredient isn’t added to the recipe!
  • You will end up with lots of identical or similar recipes. 250 to 500 recipes in total is usually manageable for a book. If a book is too big, the cost will be very expensive. You can always do a second book if the first one is a wild success.
  • Decide on the chapter headings in advance – e.g., Appetizers, Soups, Main Dishes, Vegetables and Sides, Cookies and Squares, Pies and Desserts, etc.
  • Instructions should be very clear and make a picture to the reader.

Here are some excellent resources that will save you lots of time and prevent mistakes. I wish I had these reference books when I first started writing and editing cookbooks! If you order from or my company earns a small commission.

Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More (Revised and Updated) by Dianne Jacob (De Cappo). | Chapters.Indigo

Will Write for Food is an invaluable resource for anyone who writes about food – or wants to! Dianne Jacob’s Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More will teach you all the nuts and bolts of being a professional food writer. She offers excellent advice on how to come up with ideas, developing, testing and writing recipes, copyrighting of recipes, tips on taking terrific photos, writing book proposals, getting your work published versus self-publishing, plus insider information from dozens of award-winning food writers, editors and literary agents. I only wish I had known about Dianne’s book when I first started writing about food. Highly recommended.

The Recipe Writer’s Handbook (Revised and Updated) by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane Baker (Wiley) | Chapters.Indigo

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer (Wiley) | Chapters.Indigo

Digital Food Photography by Lou Manna (Course Technology PTR) | Chapters.Indigo

There are several companies that specialize in fundraising cookbooks. They are usually printers who have several templates for covers, extra tips, dividing tabs, etc. This helps keep printing costs down. For more information, visit to find out how to create your very own cookbook! Contact Susan Love at Tell her that Norene Gilletz recommended you!

You might want to check out some of my cookbooks. You can “Flip through the Book” and see some sample pages and recipes that may give you some ideas on writing style for quick, easy recipes in a fix-it and forget-it style.

One more thing – it’s a long, hard job to write a cookbook, but once it’s finished, the hard work really starts – selling and marketing it! You have to let people know that you have a book to sell and that it will help make their life easier and more delicious! Also, the selling price has to be reasonable – there’s lots of competition out there.

You may want to find sponsors in your community to help defray printing costs. The more books you print, the more cost-efficient it will be. However, if you make an error, it will multiply itself out by the number of books you have printed. One mistake can turn into 1000 (or more) mistakes! That’s why it’s a smart idea to invest in an editor.

If you would like to have me as the editor or consultant for your cookbook, contact me, or call my direct line at 416-226-2466. Please note: We do NOT publish or print cookbooks.

And if you decide you would rather sell my cookbooks as a fundraiser instead of writing your own, contact me for information on selling them as fundraisers! Profits are excellent.

If you want more help, here is another Recipe for Success!

Publish Your Own Cookbook!

Amazing Strategies, Secrets and Tips
Self Publishing and Book Marketing
Learn from successful self-published authors
everything you need to know
Publish Your own Cookbook and Profit

If you want to publish your own Cookbook
This is where you start…

Wishing you all the best!