I’ve often said that it has been easier for me to write a cookbook than to maintain a food blog. I say this because I’m writing my 3rd and 4th traditionally published cookbooks and have never had a food blog. Maybe you want to write a cookbook, but you think you can’t, or worse you shouldn’t, dream it or write it because you don’t have a food blog. I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. A food blog may draw attention to your work and for many cookbook authors a food blog forms the foundation of their platform, but you don’t have to write and maintain a food blog to write a cookbook. In fact, for me, I enjoy the cookbook-writing-process more than the thought of maintaining a food blog. Here are my five reasons why I don’t see a food blog in my future either:
1. Physical product
A book can be held, carried, shelved, sold, and traded. I’ve always loved books. I love having a book to show to my audience and sell at events or cooking classes. I like cookbooks to give as gifts and I frequently donate by books for fundraisers and silent auctions. Plus, from a cookbook user perspective, I like the ability to write notes, thumb through the pages, and refer to a book when I need a recipe. I realize that digital books offer the ability to write with a stylus or electronic pen and that a Kindle or iBook offer a “thumb through the pages” action, but that doesn’t provide the tactile enjoyment of a physical book. Plus, in the kitchen, we interact with knives, cutting boards, and ingredients. Those are real, tactile things. So is a cookbook belongs there, inthe kitchen, with other things I can touch. And I like that.
2. Food Photography
Food blogs that stand above the rest are highly visual and I suck at food photography. I’ve never had the desire to invest my time and energy to learn how to be a better photographer of food so that I can have a food blog (or photograph my own cookbooks for that matter). Nor have I wanted to invest money in a camera orthe software to edit photos. I do enjoy content creation, but I’ll leave the photography to someone else. In addition, I have success at negotiation with my publishers to pay for the photographer for my books, so book over blog is a cost-effective proposition for me.
If you generate a cookbook concept and write a proposal about it, it is possible that you can find a publisher for your work. And, there’s a very real chance that you will receive an advance for your work or the very least royalties. I choose to think positively about the money surrounding a publisher. They make more money off my book than I do, but they also help me get my book into the marketplace. I don’t earn all of my income off my cookbooks, but I do earn a portion of my income off my books. And to me that beats a food blog where I spend an equal or higher amount of time doing the work and may get no monetary return unless I sell ads, write sponsored posts, etc.
4. Project Timeline and Brain Rest
Every book project (the writing, editing, design, and production of it) has an end. There is a point where the book is printed and in the hand of the reader. This never happens with a blog. A good blogger will always need to create consistent content for their audience. Book marketing and sales go on as long as a book in in print, but the actual writing of recipes stops. This pause in the recipe development process gives my brain time to rest and study, and regroup, rather than always being challenged to come up with new recipes idea (and photos! See #2.)
5. Techy Stuff
Writing a cookbook is less techy than writing a food blog and I like that. One (the blog) is a digital platform and the other (a book) is a physical product, so I don’t need to know as much tech stuff or be concerned about as much tech when I write a cookbook. I could even write my whole cookbook on a yellow legal pad if I wanted to and have someone type it for me and then let a traditional publisher take care of the rest. Some would argue that you need to have a website for book promotion, and that requires tech knowledge, but if I choose to I can have someone build and maintain the website for me too. Some would also argue that you can hire someone out to do all the work for a food blog as well, but if you want to understand what’s behind a successful digital product like a food blog, and digital food photography, and SEO, and ad, and sponsored posts, then you’re standing in more techy world than you are with a physical book.
If you want to write a cookbook, I encourage you to not let the fact that you don’t have a food blog, or don’t want to write a food blog, stop you. If you have an audience waiting for a cookbook idea that you have that solves a problem or presents a solution to a kitchen-related challenge, a food blog is not a requirement. I don’t have one, I don’t want one, and I don’t need one to write my cookbooks and get them published. All you really need is an audience, an idea, a print publisher, and commitment to your idea and your project. That’s what takes to get you from cookbook idea to physical, cookbook product.
Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. If you want to write a cookbook, and wonder if you’re ready, download her 11-point checklist Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook? Applications are now open for Hungry For A Cookbook Mastermind Group beginning in September 2017. Read more about the mastermind group here.