April 15, 2024


Science It Works

How to Self Publish Your First Cookbook

Here’s how one man made millions of dollars from publishing a cookbook…

Cookbooks always sell. They’re always number one sellers. People buy hundreds of cookbooks. It seems like anybody who comes out with a cookbook sells it. Before he wrote his book, he had not known much about the cookbook market, has just read something that said cookbooks always sell well.

He was thinking of the “hungry” market and at the same time, his love for science fiction movies. He says of his idea that he was “driving down the street. My twisted brain put these two ideas together, science fiction and cooking, special effects and cooking.”

This was back in 1990. He thought of what a great idea this could be for him: a special effects cookbook; how to create recipes that move and smoke and sing and glow in the dark and puff, and snap, crackle and pop and so on.

And so immediately, he went home and created his first recipe: a smoking dragon cake. This was a cake in the shape of a dragon that actually blew out safe, mysterious smoke.

Because of his inventing spirit he was able to figure out how to do this on his own, and then from there, just created another one and another one and another one. It took him about two months to create 50 recipes and put them in a book.

He also decided to self publish, and with this sold 500,000 copies at a profit of $10 a piece. That’s five million dollars, straight into his pocket, just by self-publishing!

Do you have the makings of a good quality book? Here are a few hints for you. Unless you’re a very well versed in desktop publishing or you’re a good artist, I would hire it done.

In the cookbook, he wrote all the recipes out in longhand and did some rough sketches. He actually had a good friend who was a cartoonist and did the hand drawings that he for the cover of the book. He then just took it down to the print shop and cranked out 20 books. They were all soft cover, and had no photographs.

He didn’t even have a formal copyright; just went ahead and printed copyright 1990. His plan was to sell this by space ads, but didn’t have enough money to do it right, so did some publicity instead.

And this is another thing I think a lot of marketers don’t pay enough attention to is getting publicity for their products, especially books. Books are hard to sell. If you go to a publisher and have them agree to publish your book, they’re still not going to advertise it.

He had never even considered going to a publisher with the cookbook. Instead, he always considered self-publishing to maintain complete control over the product.

If you’ve been collecting recipes or have a unique idea for a cookbook, self publishing with a sound marketing plan is a great recipe for success.