Four Tricks to Make Your Cookbook Marketing Plan Sizzle

Cookbooks are unique in the publishing world. They’re not quite coffee-table books, even though they rely on visual impact in much the same way, and they’re definitely not like novels, biographies, travelogues, or any of the other genres of book out there, even though they certainly contain elements of all of the above: narrative, history, globetrotting, and personal context abound in cookbooks. As Walt Whitman might say, cookbooks contain multitudes, and this makes marketing them a unique challenge.

Have you written and published a cookbook recently? Here are four tricks to boost your sales of your beautiful, oh-so-personal treasure of a cookbook.

1. Give, give, give.

This one ought to come easy, as cookbooks are already a gift unto the universe, and the act of writing one can often feel like offering up a part of yourself and your personal history for others to make use of. A fantastic way to entice users to purchase your cookbook early on in your marketing strategy is through giveaway promotions. Offering up a discount on your other books or products, especially if they relate to the cookbook’s central theme, is always a good plan. If this is your first book, you may not have other items to discount, but that’s okay! Goodreads and Amazon giveaways are a great way to raise the profile of your book and put its cover before the eyes of new readers, and you can offer a time-restricted discount on the cookbook itself, say for the first week it’s for sale, or around a holiday. Offering a week-long discount is a great way to get people to make the decision to purchase your book. Even though you leave some money on the table in the short term, the boost to your Amazon Sales Rank will allow you to make more in the long run.

2. The giving doesn’t have to stop there.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to cut into your profits from the cookbook, you can offer a unique PDF file with select special recipes not in the cookbook for people who order your cookbook during a certain period. This “bonus” file is often a great way to introduce your next cookbook idea, too; so if you’ve already published a book of entrees, the “bonus” file is a great place to premiere a dessert recipe or two as you start putting together a book of desserts!

In addition to your giveaways and discounts, don’t forget about the other opportunities for giving your readers more of what they want as a way to whet their appetites! Leading up to your book launch is the perfect time to start posting a steady stream of free content from, around, or relating to your cookbook on your blog, author website, and social media platforms. This not only builds anticipation for your book’s release but also adds to your newsletter distribution list, follower counts, and other outreach connections and provides great examples of what your book will be covering. If your book is already out, don’t worry! These strategies still apply after the fact, although the language you use to frame them may change to reflect the context. Instead of building anticipation, your goals and your language can feature select excerpts and reviews from fans. After all, word of mouth is the most effective marketing strategy of all!

3. Partner up.

Working with other cookbook authors is a highly effective way to drive traffic to your own author website, book sales listings, and social media platforms. Food bloggers, after all, more or less rule the Internet, especially on visually-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. You can offer these bloggers and social media stars free copies of your cookbook or the aforementioned “bonus” sample files to give to their readers and as an enticement to partner up for interviews, video spots, and “guest chef” adventures, and you can offer to feature them on your blog or website in return. These partnerships produce material that operates much like a high-powered review would for a more traditional book, and potential customers really appreciate seeing someone they admire and respect confirming their taste and judgment in cookbooks. Better still, if you’re able to organize a blog or social media tour and coordinate all of these articles and video blogs and so forth to come out at the same time, you can create lots of momentum leading up to your launch or an upcoming sale.

4. Don’t be shy.

Selling cookbooks can be difficult. Everyone already has an established sense of what they like when it comes to food, and they very rarely take risks and branch out … unless they hear a good story. Narratives are what capture the cook’s imagination every bit as much as they are what capture the imaginations of readers of novels and biographies and so forth. There’s a reason why Julia Childs became a superstar, and it wasn’t just because she knew her way around the kitchen: she wove stories into her food, and wasn’t shy about what she loved. Successful food bloggers today are the same way!

It’s so easy to be shy about selling a cookbook. After all, you’re trying to sell your own personal story as well as your favorite recipes! But in the end, it’s the story which will grab peoples’ attention–the story, plus some beautiful photographs or illustrations, and competent recipes. But mostly the story. If you want to sell your cookbook, you need to be up front about how much you love what you do, and how much you love your cookbook, and how this cookbook of yours is a part of your life. Your wonderful, magnificent, flavorful life!

Still not sure where to start in marketing your cookbook? It may be time to lean on an expert! If you’re looking to market your cookbook, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at, where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs.

To see our staff picks of amazing cookbooks from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

Buy a Great Publishing Package, Get a Better One in Honor of Give Something Away Day

Yesterday was National Give Something Away Day — did you get anything? Well, here’s your chance, because Outskirts Press is keeping the giving going: When you purchase the Ultimate or Basic publishing package during this limited-time offer, we’ll automatically give you a better package for free!

Interested in Ultimate publishing? Pay for Basic instead and get the Ultimate at no extra charge. Or, put the Ultimate package in your cart and receive our top-of-the-line Full-Color package!

It’s a no-brainer. Publish now and you’ll receive hundreds of dollars’ worth of extras that aren’t normally included in the package you purchased, including:

  • additional options for book formatting
  • more professional cover design choices
  • additional author copies
  • greater profit margins
  • other optional products and services that come with the upgraded package

There’s no better time to self-publish. To claim your free publishing package upgrade:

  1. Add our Ultimate or Basic publishing package to your cart.*
  2. Enter the promo code Upgrade-July18 at checkout.
  3. We’ll upgrade your package within 48 hours.

*Need help choosing the right publishing package? Call a Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS), or chat with us using the live chat option on our website for help selecting the option that fits.

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on!

Over the Rainbow: The Path to Success, Health and Happiness

by Swot Zhai

Price: $25.95

Swot Zhai’s “Over the Rainbow: The Path to Success, Health and Happiness” is a compelling story, both entertaining and thought-provoking. It was written from the unique perspective of a Chinese author who has lived through multiple stages of life and recognizes that professional success, happiness, and health are intertwined aspects of a balanced life. “Over the Rainbow” provides a simple set of rules on how to stay balanced and enjoy success, happiness, and health.” —Jim Owens, President & CEO of H.B. Fuller

 Learn More 


Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit©, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon,, the logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates., 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.


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Feed Your Soul by Writing a Cookbook This Fall!

Cookbooks are special, aren’t they? They contain so many disparate elements that it’s almost difficult to conceive of them all making a perfectly unified whole … but they do! Consider the cookbooks you have in your house. It’s likely that you have several, especially if you’re already of the mindset to write one of your own. People who are drawn to write cookbooks often enjoy using them, don’t they? In any case: pick one up and turn it over in your hands, and flip through the pages. What catches your eye?

Very likely, you’ll immediately be able to name several key features. Beautiful pictures or illustrations, easy-to-read text, interesting recipes, and an easy-to-navigate index. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, including the world-famous More With Less cookbook–a cookbook so famous that it even has its own Wikipedia page. Why would people be so fanatical about a forty-year-old cookbook with no pictures and very little flair to its recipes? Here’s a hint: it has to do with the story behind the cookbook. While images and all those other features we’ve named above are indeed critical elements of a modern cookbook, they must necessarily be accompanied by something more. And that something is the story which you are sitting down to write!

Maybe you’ve already gotten started. Maybe you even have a finished draft, and a manuscript you’re wrangling into shape. Whether you’re just setting out to write the first few recipes or touching up the final backmatter, there are two things to keep in mind about writing a successful cookbook.

It’s all part of a whole. Everything in a cookbook must work to complement the other elements, or else you end up with a confusing cookbook which will frustrate your readers and culinary collaborators. There are a lot of ways to “do it right” when it comes to cookbooks, but one surefire way not to succeed is to provide something messy and difficult to parse. So take the time to trim things down, to simplify and streamline, and to make your cookbook a beautiful, unified whole wherein every element works to support the others.

It’s not ultimately about the food. Well, sure it is also a little bit about the food. In fact, a great deal may be about your food. But it’s also mostly about you and your story and what you bring to the kitchen. Later on, when your book is published and you start to sell it, you’ll be selling yourself and your story as much as you will be selling a beautiful book full of recipes. Knowing this at the outset is vital to writing a cookbook which celebrates your story and makes room for it as a living, breathing part of the aforementioned whole.

And there you have it: two important ideas to keep in mind as you whip up your next cookbook. For more information, visit us online at to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it ready for publication.

To see our staff picks of amazing cookbooks from many of our published authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.


Summer Series – Marketing Your Book on Amazon – Part 3

Welcome to Part Three of a three-part summer series focusing on successfully and efficiently marketing your book on Amazon. In Part One we discussed writing reviews for other products and books and explained why it is an important part of book marketing. Last time in Part Two we discussed three different techniques for soliciting reviews for your book and how to do it properly. Part Three will introduce you to three fun and interactive steps you can take right now to improve how Amazon’s search algorithm identifies your book.

Part Three: Using Reviews to Create “Activity” Around Your Book on Amazon

There are two obvious components to using reviews to generate book sales on Amazon — writing reviews and getting reviews. But there are also lesser-known elements of online reviews, and those are what we will discuss today. You see, Amazon rewards “activity” around your book by pushing it higher in its search results, because online activity signifies interest, and Amazon displays search results based upon what it “thinks” people are most likely to buy. So by including these steps in your ongoing “Review Process”, you tell Amazon’s program (algorithm) to “weigh” your book heavier than other books or products where these other steps are not being taken.

Step 1 – Indicate that positive reviews for your book are helpful. Each Amazon review includes a question that says “Was this review helpful to you? Yes or No.” As you receive new reviews, indicate that the positive reviews are helpful.

Step 2 – Every time you ask someone to write an online review for your book, also ask that they indicate other positive reviews as helpful. Clicking that little “Yes” button is fast and even kind of fun!

Step 3 – Comment on every review you receive for your book. If you receive a positive review, thank the reviewer for reading your book and for taking the time to write a review. It will encourage OTHER people to buy, read, and review your book. Bonus: If you’ve written another book, different from the book being reviewed, sign-off your comment with “your name, author of the new book, such-and-such.”

If you receive a negative review, ask yourself if you can address the negativity in a positive, non-confrontational or defensive manner. If you can’t, then simply ignore the review (being defensive or argumentative here will do more harm than good). If you can diplomatically and politely address the negative review, do so in a positive, and brief, manner.

If your book is receiving more negative reviews than positive ones, take note! Those comments may not feel like it at the time, but they’re worth their weight in gold. Save all of the feedback you receive and start working on a NEWLY-REVISED edition of your book. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as using the “Insert Product Link” (discussed in Part One) to point a negative reviewer to your newly revised book that incorporates their criticism. Why? Because nine times out of ten, they’re going to buy the book again just to see if you listened to them. Cha-ching!

Building Your Author Platform, Part Three: The Press Release & Finding Your Footing on Amazon

You’re in the process of writing your book. Is it too soon to start thinking about the possibility of writing a press release? Perhaps a better question would be: Are you ready to amplify your voice? Of course you are! And a press release may just be your next step in crafting a healthy and rigorous personal brand and web presence. In this, the third and final installment of our series about building your platform, we know what you’re thinking: Once you’ve written your book, you’ll be on track to building a marketing campaign to do it justice. But only once the hard part’s over … right?

Ah, but it’s never easy getting word out to new readers about a brilliant new book they should be reading. And while there are few events you might think worth publicizing with a press release, publishing your book should definitely be one of them. In order to really do it justice, you need to spend some time before your book is published … and perhaps even before the manuscript is finished … thinking about what makes your book special and formulating a written testament to those exact things.

Writing the Press Release:

Your book’s press release is a mission and vision statement for what goes on within its pages, a kind of written form of your elevator pitch. Just as it’s never too soon to start refining your elevator pitch, so too writing your press release can and maybe even should be a parallel activity to finishing your manuscript.

A press release is typically sent to the staffs of newspapers, magazines, bloggers, radio or television stations, and the administrators of various popular websites. If this sounds like a lot of work for one person to organize and distribute, that’s because … it certainly can be. But the benefits of a press release are extraordinary: the resulting national and even international exposure cultivates the interest of new readers who otherwise would never hear about your book. And publishing your press release before you publish your book is critical to drumming up interest and driving pre-orders as well as engagement on your author website and social media platforms, as we’ve discussed in previous installments of this series.

There are a number of ways to go about writing and posting a press release. You can write and distribute your press release yourself, or you can work with a self-publishing company that will partner with you to produce the press release for a small fee. Every company is different in what it bundles together, but Outskirts Press offers its authors the opportunity to have a professional writer draft a press release as a part of its Book Launch Bundle.

Generally speaking, no matter which company you opt to run with, you ought to be able to make moderate changes and corrections before the final draft of your press release is published and distributed. You should then receive a copy to use in your own marketing campaign, while the company makes use of its existing connections to distribute your professional custom press release.

Whether you write your own press release or opt to seek out assistance, the finished press release will help drive sales by piquing the interest of reviewers, journalists, bloggers, and members of the media by encouraging them to pick up copies of your book. It will also produce a wealth of polished written material for you to mine as you set up your Goodreads and Amazon author pages!

What’s the deal with Goodreads?

No list of author-friendly social media websites would be complete without mention of Goodreads. All users can create profiles, log the books they’ve read or are reading or want to read, rating them out of five stars and posting book reviews as they go. You can find your friends by interlinking your Goodreads account with Facebook or Twitter or Amazon, or by using their email addresses. Goodreads was purchased after its stratospheric rise by Amazon, so a lot of its features, like reviews and “buy from these retailers” links, are already well-integrated into that other behemoth of the book industry. Authors get even a little more love, in that you can create a specialized “Author Page” that lists your books (including pictures of their book covers), link to blog posts, and create and manage book giveaways.

The Goodreads Author Page is critical. Much like your Amazon Author Page, which we’ll get to a minute, your Goodreads Author Page drives a great deal of web traffic and will automatically be indexed by search engines like Google and Bing, making it a veritable treasure-trove for potential future readers. Once you have your Goodreads Author Page set up, you can announce the impending publication of your next book and create book listings which make note of the exact date.

Your Amazon Presence as Platform

There are two elements to your digital footprint on Amazon: the Author Page, and the book listing, and both of these elements can be crucial components of your marketing strategy once your book is published. But you don’t have to wait for your book to be published to set up your Amazon pages!

Your book listing page is what readers see when they conduct a search for your book by title, and it includes the cover image, summary description, publisher information, and reviews. The author page is what readers see when they conduct a search for you by name, and click the search option to display all books you’ve published. Your author page includes a headshot, brief biography, and a visually pleasing display of all of your book cover images, each of which is clickable. Book listings tend to be a more popular point of access, but the author page ought not to be overlooked, as it provides crucial cross-referencing information. You can mine the biographical information from your press release and include that information on your author page, and you can mine it for content specific to your book’s plot and genre and include that information on your book listing.

Amazon also allows for pre-orders, if you yourself decide to make pre-orders an option for your future readers. Whether or not you do, your Amazon pages are, like your author website, blog, and social media presence, critical components of driving interest in and web traffic to your upcoming book. The sooner you set these pages up, the sooner you can start generating “buzz” about your book’s upcoming release!

There are many ways to effectively build your personal brand and web presence on Amazon, some of which we’ve covered in detail on the Self Publishing News blog, and all of which boil down to intentionality. If you put in a dedicated effort to flesh out the information presented on your book listing page and your author page, and if you make an intentional effort to utilize the other tools Amazon has made available (hosting an Amazon giveaway and offering a limited-time discount are two fantastic examples), Amazon will almost certainly become the bedrock of your future sales and distribution systems.

Bringing It All Together Now.

When we first started this series, we posed the question: What is your platform and why is it important, even before you publish your first book? We hope that, over the course of this series, you have become convinced of the importance of crafting a healthy and rigorous personal brand and web presence, far in advance of actually publishing your next book. Self-publishing authors are most often building their platform from scratch, a daunting prospect for even the most silicon-savvy, and we likewise hope that you have found in this series a number of ways forward toward doing so. And in the meantime, we’re here to help you get started and to answer your pressing questions about the process. Please don’t hesitate to visit us online at to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it … and you … ready for publication!

Click here for Part One and click here for Part Two if you missed it!


Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on!

Mind vs. Matter

by Konrad Koenigsmann

(5 Stars – 9 Customer Reviews)

Price: $16.95

Konrad Koenigsmann’s “Mind vs. Matter.” The world has been carved into empires after World War III and the mysterious leader of a shadowy organization makes plans to take over the entire planet. A new force emerges, a father and son, who have unparalleled mental capabilities and they begin to use their mental prowess to battle for control of the world. This book is a gripping and thought-provoking award-winning novel.

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Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit©, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon,, the logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates., 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.


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