Do you want to write a cookbook? Here are some great resources to get you started now.
Cookbook shops and great cookbooks go hand in hand - and these days some of the world's most exciting (and delicious) stories and literature are being written within the food writing and cookbook publishing categories. Have you ever wanted to tell your story through food and cookbookery? Do you need a little inspiration or direction to get you going on your way? Check out the links below to get you feeling confident on making your first steps towards becoming a cookbook author!
There are many, many books out in the world that help guide folks in the writing process, but these books are in point with writing advice specific to the food writing and recipe development realm. Some are out-of-print, but do pop up as used books from time to time (check back, we have some copies en route!).
Will Write for Food by Diane Jacob
Once you've gotten inspired by the podcasts above, order this pragmatic guide on how to break into the food writing industry. It's full of frank advice and excellent writing exercises that will get you moving and provide a testing ground for your ideas and writing skills.
Recipes Into Type by Joan Whitman and Dolores Simon
An out-of-print, but comprehensive, style manual and indispensable reference for cookbook writers and editors -- or for anyone who wants to write recipes that work.
The Recipe Writer's Handbook by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane Baker
Originally written in 1997 and currently out of print, The Recipe Writer's Handbook teaches you how to "think" your way through a recipe to make important decisions and troubleshoot potential problems concerning format and syntax, spelling, cooking terminology, weights and measurements, recipe testing, presentation of the final recipe, and many other areas.
Cookbook Writing Podcasts:
I've provided links to the websites for these pocasts to make it easier to folks to find the preferred streaming platform for their device.
Andrea Nguyen, Kate Leahy, Molly Stevens, and Kristin Donnelly together have over 75 years of experience writing cookbooks. With this podcast, they're inviting you behind the scenes to take a look at how they go from idea to publication, and they’re talking to experts along the way.
In this weekly podcast, host Maggie Green celebrates cookbook readers, writers, collectors, and clubs, with interviews and conversations about cookbook writing and the role of cookbooks in our lives. Maggie's mission is to build and celebrate a community of people who would rather write, read, and buy a cookbook over any other genre of book.
A fantastic resource for cookbook insight and inspiration. Mainly focused on women in the food industry, Radio Cherry Bombe features interviews with some of the most interesting people in the world of food. Each week, host Kerry Diamond, founder and editor of Cherry Bombe, talks to the chefs, bakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs making it happen.
Our mindsets can often hold us back in life more than we think. Self-doubt, anxiety, imposter syndrome…the list goes on. In this open, honest podcast, bestselling author Kristina Adams, and upcoming author Ellie Betts, share the highs and lows of their writing lives alongside interviews with authors, marketers, and content creators. You’ll finish each episode feeling inspired, uplifted, and ready to get writing.
Cookbook Proposal Bootcamp by Kristen Donelly
Over the past decade, Kristen Donelly has written cookbook proposals for authors to help them secure five and multiple six-figure book deals and worked on at least a dozen cookbooks in many different capacities from behind the scenes. She is also the author of several cookbooks (Modern Potluck and Cauliflower) and one of the hosts of Everything Cookbooks podcast. Her eight-week bootcamp is sure to put a fire under you to finally finish that proposal.
Cookbook Writing: Tell Stories Through Recipes by Sumayya Usmani
In this course, cookbook author Sumayya Usmani teaches you how to create content for a cookbook that tells a story as you explore narrative storytelling and recipe writing. Learn about the elements needed to write a clear, easy-to-follow cooking process, how to give your food context inspired by personal experiences, and how you can take your book from page to publication. Share recipes full of heart and flavor.
Writing and Publishing Recipes by Le Cordon Bleu
This course is designed to identify and understand the different styles of cookbooks, from historical times through the golden age of television and celebrity chefs. Learn how different tones and styles impact your audience. Take an in-depth look at the mechanics of writing and testing recipes. What makes one recipe successful and another fail? Writing and Publishing Recipes will help you find the best form of publication that suits your recipe audience for you to publish your own recipes.
How to Write a Cookbook by Tori Ritchie through Stanford Continuing Studies
A very popular course held each summer through Stanford Continuing Studies. If you are interested, the best strategy is to follow Tori Ritchie via her blog or social media to learn when registration opens. In this course, students will learn about the nuts and bolts of the writing process, from idea to execution. Students learn everything from recipes development, recipe adaptation, recipe testing, book concept and development, to publishing and design. It's very thorough.
There are so many fantastic food writing newsletters out in the world right now, so this is by no means an exhaustive list - these two are just the ones I return back to time and again for reference. Please note that both newsletters require a subscription or a fee to unlock detailed content. Personally, I've found them worthwhile.
Stained Page News by Paula Forbes
Paula Forbes loves cookbooks. And what’s more, she knows cookbooks: She has been a professional cookbook critic for over ten years, and her reviews have appeared on Eater, Epicurious, Lucky Peach, and Food 52. Stained Page News is where I share news, recipes, exciting upcoming books, details on new releases, my personal recommendations, and random cookbook-related content that I think is funny. If you love my writing, you'll really love hers.
Dianne Jacob's Newsletter by (you guessed it!) Dianne Jacobs
Dianne's extensive professional background has been in the food writing, editing, and publishing sphere. She is known for curated links about writing trends and best practices from around the web. Her job is to scour all kinds of websites, Facebook groups and publications so you don’t have to. She's frank and honest with her opinions and advice. She is direct, refreshing, and her paid newsletter has a lot of value for folks who are in the process of submitting book proposals. (Get her book, too! I'm a fan!)
How to Write a Recipe Like a Professional by The Kitchn
We will keep this list updated as we find more resources to share, but for now we hope you've found some amazing resources to get you going on your journey to cookbook authorship!