5 Tools and Software for Writing A Family or Fundraiser Cookbook
5 Tools and Software for Writing A Family or Fundraiser Cookbook

Through working with private coaching clients I have become aware that many aspiring cookbook authors want to write a family cookbook. I personally believe that a family cookbook represents one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to your children, grandchildren, or cousins if they are the type of people who like to cook and keep family recipe traditions alive. For this type of cookbook project it’s not necessary to retain an agent or even to write a book proposal. There are online tools, software, and services that can help you with the process of getting your recipes from your files to a printed book. Here are a few to look at to get you started on a project such as this:

Use one of Blurb’s free and easy cookbook templates to make your cookbook that looks professional and beautiful. Choose from various formats and print quantity (no minimum) to create recipe books, food magazines, or blog-to-book books.

Cook’n Recipe Software
This software is able for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and PC and Mac computers. The software enable social sharing, meal plans, entering personal recipes, creating shopping lists, and lets you pull in recipes from a variety of sources such as Pinterest.

Heritage Cookbook
Designed to create family or fundraising cookbooks, your membership allows you to choose a binding and pick a design for your cookbook. You can invite collaborators from your family to enter their recipes and add stories and captions if you wish. Order and print your cookbooks and in just about a month, you’ll have the family cookbook ready to distribute.

Create My Cookbook
Make your own cookbook with custom binding styles and customized options. Add your own recipes and photos and customize each page of the cookbook. Order as many as you want – with no minimums.

Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software
Software program that includes print templates so you can make your recipes look “fantastic”. This software runs on your computer and doesn’t require internet access to function and design your book. Includes custom covers, table of contents, and a family tree, to make a cookbook file that you can print on your own home computer. According to their website, “Matilda works great for grannies and gurus.”

Once popular, TasteBook is making changes to their platform and as of January 31, 2016 their Personal Recipe Boxes and custom TasteBook cookbooks will be phased out. Check out what they have to offer, but know that this service is changing in 2016.

Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors

3 Challenges of First-Time Creators
3 Challenges of First-Time Creators

In a few weeks I will roll out a new program related to cookbook writing.  In addition, early next year, my second cookbook will be available in print. Both the program and the book means that there’s a lot of new stuff I’m putting out in the world for everyone to see. Part of me wants to put on the brakes. In some ways, I feel exposed and nervous, especially about the new program. My hope, of course,  is that they are both popular and that the program in particular helps an aspiring cookbook author get closer to their goal of writing a cookbook.

A common emotion when we do something new is fear. Fear of judgement, fear of rejection, fear of exposing ourselves and our ideas to the world, and fear that people will not like the promotion of our books, classes, and programs. If you are reading this know that there are fears that will crop up when you create something new whether it be a piece of art, a cookbook, a class, or a blog post. The scary part is that fear can stop us from doing new things. Fear can stop us from reaching that person who needs (and wants) to hear what you have to say.

I think there are three challenges for any first-time creator. First, is to acknowledge that fear is only half of the equation – the other half is love. Think about your love for what what you do. Think about the people who consume what you create in the form of a book, a book proposal, a recipe, or a class. If they act, or are changed in a positive way, because of something you shared with them then the end result was beneficial. You touched the mind, and perhaps the heart, of another person. That’s nothing to be afraid of.

The second challenge is to feel any fear and move forward despite the fear. We can’t let fear-based thoughts stop us from doing the real work. Instead, we need to focus our energy on the individuals who absorb our message and do good things with it. And then we need to take action and do the new thing. This is where the power lies in our work – in the action. Taking steps everyday to move your ideas and content forward. Sometimes baby steps, sometimes leaps, but getting the project done is the goal, even when you have fears about the outcome.

Third, when we see a fellow first-time creator, give them the support and encouragement they deserve, whether it’s a hug, a like, or a Twitter heart. Let them know that they are doing a good job. If for some reason you’re not drawn to their work, don’t criticize or feel threatened by it. It’s not meant for you. Better to walk away and say to yourself, “I hope that the right people find that message and benefit from it”. You know that the author of that book …

6 Things to Write When You Get Stuck
6 Things to Write When You Get Stuck

One part of my morning routine involves writing. I set a timer for fifty-five minutes and I write. Sometimes I write blog posts, sometimes I write content for my weekly eZines, but sometimes I just write a list or an outline.

Many of my coaching clients struggle with the idea of a focused block of time to write. One reason they struggle, though, isn’t because they can’t carve out the time (although that can be a struggle for some) but, because they don’t know what to write about. They have a desire to be productive and a vision of themselves hard at work, but to sit down without any clear idea of what to write bothers them.

If you want to create a daily writing routine, you might be interested in this blog post on creating the habit of writing. Once you’ve created the habit, you’ll need some ideas of things to write about. The following 6 ideas are quick and can be done in less than an hour.

1. Write a list
Whenever I’m stuck and can’t think of anything to write I set a timer and make list. Sometimes it’s a list of projects I need to complete around the house, sometimes it’s a list of the flowers I want to plant in the garden. Recently, it was a list of landscaping ideas and ways to incorporate more native plants into our yard. If you want to get closer to writing a book or cookbook, write a list of major topics or recipes you want to include. I find value in collecting my thoughts in a free-form list. And these lists are never a waste of time.

2. Craft a fake rant
Sometimes we’re more prolific on the telephone, Twitter or Facebook , or with online comments, than we are with our writing. Plus, when we rant on Facebook, Twitter, or in a letter to the editor or on the phone to a friend, it’s usually because we feel disturbed or really passionate about something.

Pretend for a moment that you’re upset. Maybe your favorite basketball team lost to a bad referee call or that someone said something untrue about you, your spouse, or one of your children. Or maybe that dern politician on TV that makes you so angry that he or she needs to hear what you have to say.  Write a fake rant or letter about this topic. Let or passion or disgust for the topic show. Be honest and tell how you feel. Save the file if you want to, and maybe it will spark some other action outside of the fake rant, but I don’t encourage you to post this on Facebook, Twitter, or send the letter unless you work on a second and final draft. Sleep on it first. Better yet, delete the file, but remember how it feels to write about something you believe in.

3. Write a letter to your future self
I have sending letters to my future …

Eight Reasons Writers Procrastinate
Eight Reasons Writers Procrastinate
Procrastination means at its most pure form putting off what we need to do and doing something else instead. The “instead” isn’t always less important, or mindless, but sometimes it is. Sometimes I’m an expert at procrastination, especially when I don’t have a deadline. “Instead”, I look at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, work on my bookkeeping, Google my name, shop online for  shoes, run errands, make “to-do” lists, clean the kitchen, play Two Dots on my iPhone, check blog unsubscribes and newsletter opt-outs, watch YouTube videos, and fritter away my time with everything but writing.
Procrastination creates stress because my writing tasks don’t go away. And, if anything, when I procrastinate the writing project acts like a toddler and pulls on my leg until I pay attention to it.
Many aspiring cookbook authors struggle with procrastination too. For the next few blog posts, I’m going to write about procrastination. Today, I’ll cover common reasons why writers procrastinate. In the next blog post I’ll give some suggestions to stay focused on your writing.
Here are my top eight reasons why writers procrastinate:
1. We can’t do our project justice. We know we need to do more research or that we have the wrong answer. We need to do more background work in order to maintain our standards, but we don’t want to. We just want to write, not fix something or do research. So instead, we don’t do anything.
2. The project isn’t good for us. It may take our career in a direction we don’t want to take. Or maybe, it’s not right because we’re underpaid for the job and we’re working way too hard for the pay. There are even times when there’s no money attached to a cookbook for self-publication or when writing a cookbook for our families. We think that no one will ever know if we stop working since this project isn’t good a good fit or earning money.
3. The project is too easy. If it’s too easy, we become bored and when we are bored, we aren’t interested in working. It’s hard to sit down and work on an easy, boring project. Just ask any intelligent 6th grader. They’ll tell you if it’s too easy, the next step is boredom. Then comes finding other things to do that seem more exciting.
4. We are paralyzed by the idea that we and our book concept isn’t good enough. At the deepest level, we fear being exposed for the fraud we actually are. We ask ourselves, “Will anyone know that I haven’t earned this spot to write this book or article?” As a result, we seek out familiar tasks where we shine (such as writing status updates on Facebook or sending funny Tweets).  Our followers like these posts, plus it’s easier than writing where we risk our reputation.
5. We compare ourselves to writers with “natural talent”.  We have unrealistic expectations about what writing means because all we see from other successful writers is their …
Paying Attention the Wonder In Our Lives
Paying Attention the Wonder In Our Lives

Over the summer, I developed a habit of listening to audio books using the Audible app on my iPhone or iPad. Yes, I do still enjoy reading physical books, particularly at night, but I made the decision to use my time to catch up on some books I’ve been wanting to read instead of listening to the radio or watching the news while driving, folding laundry, or working in the kitchen.

One book I listened to recently was, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Ariana Huffington. In her book, Huffington encourages “readers” (or in my case “listeners”) to develop their “third metric” and to work to redefine success in their lives “beyond money and power”.

One concept presented that resonated with me was creating, or recognizing, wonder in our daily lives. Huffington asks readers to pay attention to the small details that often go unnoticed or under-appreciated as we move through our day. She argues that we’ve gotten so busy in our quest for career advancement and moving ourselves, and our children, up the ladder of success that we’ve lost our sense of wonder.

So, I decided to be more intentional and to pay attention to the small details of things that delighted me. First, the faithfulness of my pet dog “Maggie” – her favorite place is in the same room with me. Not on my lap, but nearby, ready to give me a tail wag or a look in the eye. I also noticed the beauty of the handmade Shaker broom one of my sisters gave me as a gift. It’s the perfect tool for sweeping up Maggie’s hair and the ever-present crumbs of food on the kitchen floor. Made here in Kentucky, in the traditional Shaker style, it’s all a broom should be. And, finally at dinner last night, I wondered at the eyes of my 17-year-old son as he smiled and told me about how great his senior year in high school was going.

Little did I know before I read Huffington’s book that Arianna Huffington and I share the same birthday, smack dab in the middle of the summer. According to Huffington this would be no coincidence. For when we look at the world through eyes of wonder we realize there are no coincidences. It’s just up to us to open our eyes to our own well-being, wisdom, and wonder, and to not brush off coincidences as mere chance, but instead, to see them for what they are – a gift of wonder in our lives.

If you’d like to read the book: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

And here’s a link to the Audible audio-version of the book for your listening pleasure: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of

5 Techniques to Create a Daily Habit of Writing
5 Techniques to Create a Daily Habit of Writing

Twice a day I brush my teeth. Once a day I cook a meal. Every night I sleep for seven hours. Every morning I eat breakfast, empty the dishwasher, and dress for the day. These are a few examples of habits ingrained in my daily routine. I can’t imagine a day without doing them and most of the time I do them without even thinking about it.

As a writer and author, I also have made an effort to create a daily habit of writing, whether I need to write a recipe, cookbook chapter, blog post, or newsletter. I know firsthand how difficult it can feel to write when we don’t feel inspired, but regular writing habits drive projects to completion.

When I struggle to take time to write I remind myself that whether I write or not, time will pass. So, I have a choice – do I want to let the minutes of my day pass away without progress on my writing projects? The answer is typically no. No, I don’t want the day to pass without progress. In order to make progress on my writing projects, I have five techniques I employ to create my daily habit of writing.

1. Schedule time to write
When I look up from my computer three months from now I want to have made progress on my new cookbook, regular blog posts, paid writing work, and my weekly eZines. In order to do so I schedule at least 30 minutes every day to write. I haven’t figured out any other way to make progress and I’ve learned that in order to be a successful and published author I have to do this every day. And here’s the real secret – most writers feel better about themselves, and their work, when schedule time to write whether they feel like it or not.

2. Pick your most creative time
When I have a writing deadline, I work every morning on my project. The morning is my most creative and prolific time of day. I like to sit either at my desktop computer or use my iPad (with a keyboard) at the kitchen table. I like my environment to be quiet. I like to light a candle and open a door or window if the weather permits. I block out distractions from email, text messages, and the strange attraction of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social media. I’ve realized these sites for me are a window to procrastination.

3. Write an imperfect first draft
Every writing project has a beginning and for me the beginning is rarely organized or publishable. In creating this “imperfect first draft” I set aside any hopes of creating something someone might want to read and I just focus on getting my thoughts out on the page. I’ll outline if I need to, but then I have to start filling in the blanks. This calls for perseverance knowing this draft will go through rounds of revising, rewriting, and editing. …

10 Reasons to Hire a Cookbook Coach
10 Reasons to Hire a Cookbook Coach

As someone who makes a large part of their income from writing, I feel grateful for the solitary time I have to write and that I’m able to earn money both writing and talking about cookbooks, cooking, food, and nutrition.  But, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post I often felt alone when I wrote my cookbook. At times I had nowhere to turn to get my food-writing questions answered.  Don’t get me wrong, my acquisitions editor at my publisher was lovely, but since she wasn’t a food person she couldn’t answer many of my food-related questions. I also didn’t retain an agent, so I didn’t have him or her to turn to either.

After my cookbook was published I heard from other authors concerns about these same challenges I had. This made me ask: If I had my first cookbook to write over again, would I entertain the idea of hiring a book or writing coach?

People work with coaches all the time for a variety of reasons -to improve their health, to eat better, to upgrade their business marketing, or to make happier and healthier life choices.  So, why would you, an aspiring cookbook author, hire a cookbook coach?

1. You feel alone in the writing process. A book coach is a mentor, teacher, consultant, and friend all rolled into one. A book coach is someone you can reach out to while you are working on your cookbook project and who cares about you getting the results you want from your project. They guide you while you write your cookbook proposal or provide accountability while you finish your manuscript.

2. You need someone to help you get started with your cookbook project. Who better knows how to start a cookbook project that someone who has written a cookbook? A cookbook coach can help you look at the goals for your book and then help you decide the best avenue to take to get your cookbook published.

3. You want a published cookbook author to explain the process of writing a cookbook. Maybe you think you need to write your entire manuscript before you approach an agent or editor. Maybe you aren’t sure about where photography fits into a cookbook. Maybe you need to know when and how to develop and test recipes. A cookbook coach can walk you through the steps of writing a cookbook so that you don’t get lost wasting time doing something unnecessary.

4. You feel afraid to start writing. You’re afraid of the mistakes, the judgments, and all the other negative emotions that could be leveled against you when putting your work out in the form of a cookbook. A book coach has faced those fears and can help you overcome your personal whim-whams or whatever is holding you back. They know that writing can be scary, but will help you get the words on the page and let your brilliance shine.

5. You started a book project before, but the

How is a cookbook coach different from an agent or an acquisitions editor?
How is a cookbook coach different from an agent or an acquisitions editor?

As I mentioned in my last blog post I often felt alone when I was writing my cookbook. Because I like solitude I didn’t mind working alone, but when I had questions, or when fear reared its head, I didn’t have many places to turn for answers or support. My acquisitions editor was great and she would have done anything for me, but she couldn’t always answer my recipe-specific or food-related questions. And, because she was busy with other authors too, she was unable to give me much personal time or attention. In addition, I never retained an agent, so when I needed someone to help me expel the fears that writing created, or when it was time to negotiate my contract, I was on my own.

After my cookbook was published I heard similar stories from aspiring authors about the challenges they faced without an editor and/or an agent. Or, as in my case, even when an acquisitions editor was in the picture it was not uncommon for the aspiring author to feel alone because of the difference between the support they needed and what their editor could provide. I also heard stories from authors who self-published their cookbooks and didn’t have an agent or acquisitions editor to answer their questions. And finally, there were stories from aspiring authors who were at the beginning stages of their writing project and had yet to develop a relationship with either an agent or an editor. They really had nowhere to turn for support, encouragement, and direction.

In the life of book publishing, there are three key players that appear in the pre-publication phase of the book: agents, acquisitions editors, and book or cookbook coaches. Let’s discuss what they do, how they get paid, and advantages of working with each.

Literary agents usually work for a literary agency, but sometimes work in a solo-owned business. Their job is to represent aspiring and established authors to publishers. Agents help authors in many ways. They are in close communication with publishers and have inside knowledge about genres or subjects of interest to a publisher. They may also know when a publisher is searching for an author to write a book on a particular topic and one of their authors just might be asked to write that specific book. Agents are essential in selling an author’s book idea to certain publishers and then the agent helps negotiate the publishing contract. Agents are not paid upfront. Agents are paid around 15% (or $0.15 out of every $1.00) of the author’s advance and royalties on the book. There’s no doubt, agents are a tremendous source of knowledge, support, and advice for authors. I know some authors who would never consider writing a book without an agent, but that said it is possible to write a book and get it published without an agent. This all depends on your goals and on the publishing options you are interested in pursuing.

Acquisitions editors work for traditional publishing houses. They …