Since launching my own Soup Maker cookbook recently, I’d like to think it put a message out there that writing your own book no longer needs to be a pipe-dream. Anyone with determination can do it and it doesn’t need to cost you anything other than your time.
However, since I’m not exactly a prolific published author in the book world; I’m just a Journalist that enjoys sharing my healthy recipes on my blog in my spare time so am offering you my first hand experience. If you have any tips for others or would like to ask a question, please feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them!
- Writing on Word Document
You need to think about what platform you’re writing on but a basic Word Document suited me just fine as Amazon did all the formattng. Many others use free software called Callibre but personally I overlook anything that needs downloading as I’m not IT technician and like to feel safe.
- Back It Up
Always back up your work! The last thing you want is to end up in tears because your hard work is missing or overridden. I backed up all of my work using the free Dropbox service and uploaded my work on there and more recently, I now use OneDrive too to automatically sync up with every time I save my document on my computer.
- Photos Are Imperative
I’ve always been a visual learner than a mental one, so when it comes to recipes without pictures, I tend not to favour them. I eat with my eyes when I’m scouring for inspiration and they can offer great guidance of what it should look like at the end. It’s also a perfect opportunity to show off your best photography skills and this doesn’t mean you need a fancy DSLR. Most of my recipes in my cookbook were taken with my smartphone, but after pushing it to its limits, I did upgrade to a Canon 750D using the lens it came with and slipped in my proudest images showcasing my creations.
- Don’t Skip Proof Reading
I know it’s a bit of a pain, but I find it is good practice to proof read as I go along. I read all of my writing (including my blog posts usually 3 or 4 times) making sure it is coherent, not ambiguous and flows how I want it to. Sure, you might find the odd typo in my blog as it’s my hobby (I like to think it adds a little bit authenticity) but I avoid it the best I can. However, when writing a cookbook, you want to gain someone’s confidence that it will turn how you say it will (and of course, have integrity). I wanted the overall look to be professional and if it’s going to be on Amazon, it’s will be up for criticism to help others and reviewed over time.
- Don’t Let ANYONE Put You Off
If you’re writing anything and you’re talking about it to friends and relatives or anyone else, don’t let anyone deter you. I know, we’ve heard it all before, a friend says they’re writing a book and you’ve never seen it years on, but this doesn’t mean it’s you. Just DO IT. Over time, I’ve learnt not to let anyone read drafts of anything until I’m ready for constructive criticism. Too soon and it could stop me writing completely. Finish it first and share it with people that are honest, trustworthy and hopefully knows quality when then see it.
- The Front Cover
I learnt many people pay for a service on 5iver.com but for my cookbook, I found it wasn’t needed. I had some pictures I felt looked perfect to represent my book and just used it on Word, placed text over the top and print screened it to save in Paint as a JPEG file. I’m sure the clarity could look better because this method can look a little pixelated, but as far as Kindle images, it’s never going to be poster-sized. It’s also not the quickest method as I played around with text placements and fonts, but I’m proud of it and but feel it’s eye catching and not a far cry from professional books out there.
- The Formatting Process
This was the most tedious part of my eBook because any fancy tables or fonts I used disappeared during Amazon’s formatting process to suit a Kindle etc. You may need to tweak a few things and found I needed to insert Page Breaks to create a new page or chapter and had to shrink some images as they were too big to appear. Also, I made sure anyone who clicked on a recipe in my contents would be redirected to the specific page using hyperlinks so my readers didn’t have to painfully flick through.
- Ask Yourself If You’re Happy With It
The only thing I’m not totally happy with is that 3 recipes out of 65 don’t have images as they in no way represented the quality of photos I take now. However, I thought it wasn’t enough to penalise the book overall. I don’t like to repeat the same recipes often and felt a reader would forgive me. Note: You can always revise and update it later. And remember, if you pull yourself up for something, another person may do too and once I was happy with my book, written my intros and legal copyrite bits, I was happy to publish it.
I hope this has been useful and let me know if it has inspired you to complete something you’re proud of.
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