When I started blogging, I dreamt to publish a cookbook on my own. It just felt a big deal to be a published author.
I thought it was hard and need to build a lot of credibilities before publishing my own cookbook.
Fast forward to today. I have 7 cookbooks in Amazon Kindle, Apple, Barnes and Nobles, and many other bookstores.
Not only my dreams came true but also have created an additional passive income stream.
I rarely go check on those books, yet they sell automatically and make a passive income for me each month.
Later, I also realized that creating these ebooks not only gets you that extra income but also has a lot of other benefits too.
In this post, I want to go over step by step process to self publish a cookbook on Amazon and make money from it.
How to write and publish a cookbook?
There are 2 types of cookbooks, ebooks, and physical books.
In this post, we will focus only on the e-books. With the growth of digital media, physical books are not much relevant nowadays. Only if you can get a deal with a book publisher you can take this option.
Whereas eBooks are the best option for people to consume in their device based on their convenience. Especially with ebook readers like Kindle makes it even more appealing.
Let’s look at the process to create the ebook.
Preparing to write the cookbook.
Before you start creating you need to plan your book.
Remember, not all the books will work in Amazon. There are some books that are seasonal, some are only attractive for some time and some can be an evergreen one.
We need to find those topics that are always in demand and is the current trend.
Here are a few ways you can find the ones that are in trend.
Pinterest popular: Pinterest is the best place for food bloggers. There is a ton of food content that is pinned on Pinterest. They even have a category to display all the popular post. You can see those popular ones here.
Amazon Bestsellers: Next is Amazon itself, they publish the list of best-selling cookbooks. That means people are searching for certain recipes and willing to spend money on those books. It is a sweet spot for us to find the trending ones easily. The only challenge could be the competition since everyone is looking at this data it could be flooded with many books already.
We just have to get creative and find the ones that are not super competitive yet. You can find these best-selling books here
Top rated from popular sites: The most obvious one is to look for recipes that are doing well in top food sites. They will an indication of the current demand from people. Here is one from foodnetwork.
By browsing through these sites, you will see a pattern. Some category of recipes will be often repeated in popular items. Pick the topic based on trends.
Keyword research to publish a cookboo:
Once you have the popular topics in hand, the next step is to find the exact keywords that people search for.
To find that just start typing the recipes or book name on Amazon search bar. It will suggest recommendations as you type, collect 10-20 such recommended keywords.
Save the keywords and we need to use it in multiple places to make your book popular.
Alternatively, you can use the kdpspy software to do keyword research. It would help you find profitable keywords that are hard to guess.
How to self publish a cookbook on Amazon and sell?
Next step is to create the book and publish it on Amazon.
With millions of users on Amazon, there is a lot of demand for cookbooks among Amazon Kindle users.
However, In order to publish your e-book on Amazon, you need to follow some guidelines.
Amazon accepts book only in a certain format. The book should be formatted in one of these formats epub, mobi, awz formats. Although they claim that they accept doc or pdf, I have never seen it work for me. We just do the epub format, so we can submit that in all bookstore.
We just do the epub format, because this format is accepted not only in Amazon but also in other bookstores.
If you would like to do this yourself, you can use this cookbook software called Ultimate eBook Creator. It is a drag-drop editor and you can create books quickly.
People do judge by the cover of the book. The cover is the most critical piece in creating an ebook. An attractive book cover catches the attention of many readers.
We have tried with standards book covers like the one from canva which never worked as good as a professionally custom designed book cover.
I suggest you spend a lot of your time and money in creating the best cover for your book.
The title should be the next most attractive element in your book. It should be short, concise and define the specific problem it solves. It should also contain the keywords that people are already searching for. That way it will get in front of more eyes.
Sub Title: Just like the title, the subtitle should also be an extension of the title. You should use this to explain the purpose of the book and also include keywords.
Use Keywords: Apart from adding keywords in the title, Amazon provides an option to enter 6 keywords while submitting the book. You need to enter the keywords wherever possible for people to find it.
Description: This is the place where you explain about the books in details. Think of it like your sales page, where you put all the information that helps the visitor to purchase the book.
You can use HTML tags in the description as well, so you can use <h> tags to highlight more keywords in the headings. They add a lot of SEO benefits, so write as would write your best post in a blog.
Average number of recipes in a cookbook
I had this question when I got started, I have seen 100s of recipes in physical cookbooks. However, when it comes to ebook, you need to make sure the size of the final book should be less than 20 MB.
Some of the bookstores have this limit and if the size of the book is large they might not accept it.
For recipe book, it’s about 20-30 recipes depending on the number of images and content you have. If you have many recipes in the collection try to split it into multiple books.
How much does it cost to produce & publish a cookbook?
It depends on your preference, you can go from simple ebooks to a fancy one. A fancy book could even cost your thousands of dollars.
I recommend keeping it simple and not spend too much on design. The ebooks are usually viewed on Kindle or mobile devices, so all you need is a well formatted and easy to read content in the book.
Spend most of the time and effort in creating a good cover rather than designing the inner pages.
If you hire a professional to do it for you, it could cost a lot. However, if you are ready to spend some time to learn, then it can cost almost nothing.
How to self publish a cookbook for free?
The main components of creating a cookbook are designing the cover page, formatting the book in epub format and knowing how to publish on Amazon Kindle.
If you have the mix of technical skills and design skills you can publish a cookbook for free. There are tools that can help you do this if you are willing to put the time to learn.
One such DIY tool is the ultimate eBook Creator.
However, I would suggest investing a little to get the best possible book at the first attempt. It would save a lot of time and accelerate your progress.
Publish a Cookbook marketing plan
Creating and publishing the cookbook is just 50% of work. The rest comes from marketing the book.
Here are the various components in creating the marketing plan.
Amazon Autocomplete: As I mentioned earlier, you can get these keywords from Amazon search results itself. However, for experts, you may need some keyword analysis tools like kdpspy
This is a really good tool that helps to find the hidden keywords in ease. If you are serious about creating ebooks, then you should get this.
Although Amazon Kindle search is different from Google keyword system. It is still worth looking at what people are searching in google to find the topics you are writing about.
If there is a demand in google I am sure there will be in Amazon too. Grab those keywords and your book listing page might start ranking in Google as well and bring a ton of organic sales.
How to promote your cookbook?
Once you know what you are targeting and having set the keywords. Next step is to promote them.
Here are some of the ways to promote.
Social Media: No one can argue that social media is the top source for people to hang out. It is even becoming the norm for socializing. Start sharing in all social media. There are also a ton of groups and communities focussed on books.
Share it as many times as possible. If you have some budget, give a push with ads. Once the book starts selling you can stop the ads and it will continue to sell organically.
Ebook Bookstores: There are other bookstores like Amazon. They might not be as popular but they do bring sales as well. You can sign up for services like draft2digital they will push your books to many stores like Apple, Barnes and nobles.
eBook Promotions sites: You can find many book aggregation sites that promote books. Find those websites and promote your books there as well. They might not be as effective as other medium but do promote your books.
Make money with Kindle e-books using Kindle direct publishing (KDP)
A totally different selling model by Amazon. By subscribing to KDP select you will be able to participate in the Kindle subscription plan. People can read your books and your revenue will be calculated based on the number of pages read. The catch is if you subscribe you cannot sell the book anywhere else.
For some books, these are very lucrative, but for us, we saw better results by publishing in all bookstores compared to being exclusive in KDP.
However, I still recommend to participate for the first 90 days cycle and see if produces a better result for you. If not then come out of the program and add the book in other bookstores.
Kindle publishing income
By publishing a few books in Kindle and other bookstores you would be making some income. I have heard people replacing their full-time income just by publishing in Kindle.
Here is a Kindle expert who teaches how to make money from Kindle. Check it out here.
For us, it still remains a passive income. Which is great for the reason that we don’t have to care and feed the book. Just do it once and make money for a lifetime.
Outsource Kindle book writing
If you are planning to create a cookbook, I would recommend giving it to someone who has done it before. There are many details in the process which you will end up spending a lot of time figuring out. Sometimes you can even miss one step and the whole project could end up in a mess.
Fortunately, there are people who can provide this total hands-off solution for a low cost.
Hit me up in chat and we can discuss more details or answer any questions.
Creating and publishing a cookbook in online bookstores are one of the best ways to create a passive income online. They not only help you generate some side income but also helps in building your brand and help to accelerate growth.
If you are still unsure of any details, do let me know.