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 www.outskirtspress.com, 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.

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 https://www.outskirtspress.com/ 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.

 

Your Book Can Be a Worldwide Traveler Too!

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? What if you could simply travel anywhere you wanted? Imagine the sights and sounds, the incredible locations and cuisine!

Now imagine you could send your book all over the world. All those amazing places you’ve just imagined—and now your book is there! With Outskirts Press, worldwide distribution of your book is no longer a dream, but a reality!

Outskirts Press boasts the most extensive distribution in the industry! You’ll enjoy the luxury of a worldwide market AND circulation of your book with celebrated names, such as: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Bertram and more!

Once you choose to self-publish with Outskirts Press, you can count on us to handle all the thorny details of book distribution, like setting up with each distributor, foreign taxes and more. And the best part is that no matter where in the world customers buy your book, you’ll enjoy 100% of your royalties – no small print, and no strings attached!

Need help getting started? Our Publishing Consultants are ready to help. There are three convenient ways to connect:

  1. Call us at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
  2. Live-chat with us via our website
  3. Go online to schedule an appointment

July Fireworks: Sales Explode When You’re Prepared with Author Copies — Get Them with Free Shipping!

An opportunity to promote or sell your book can arrive at any given time — are you ready to seize the moment? Watch spontaneous sales combust, just by recognizing your opportunities to sell and making the most of them when they arise.

For example, in everyday conversations you’ll find you have common interests with others. Use these connections to offer your book to like minds. Then, instead of hoping your new friend remembers your name and book title long enough to order it later, let them know they can purchase a more covetable autographed copy now!

But this scenario only plays out in your favor if you’re prepared with hard copies of your book. By staying stocked up before these marketing and selling opportunities present themselves, you’ll make positive impressions, important connections and plenty of unanticipated sales! The simple step of keeping copies with you means you’ll be ready to make the most of:

  • last-minute book-signing requests
  • radio, TV and newspaper publicity offers
  • book award submissions
  • review submissions
  • book giveaways to promote on social media
  • gifts to family and friends

To help you prepare for these inevitable opportunities, Outskirts Press is offering FREE SHIPPING on orders of 50 or more copies of your book within the continental United States all through July. Plus, you can take advantage of high-volume discounts and receive up to an additional 50% off your order — and still get your shipping at no charge!

Here’s how to get free shipping:

  1. Log in to your Publishing Center, select “order books” and place an order for 50 or more copies of your book(s) in a single format before July 31.
  2. Select normal ground shipping with a delivery address within the continental U.S. and proceed with checkout. (No promotion code is necessary. You will see the free shipping offer reflected in your total once you place your order.)

Share with us how you plan to use your author copies in the comments below. Happy selling!

Publish today and your eBook editions are FREE!

The printing press made the written word accessible on a larger scale, but the eBook made entire libraries available to the world at the click of a button! eBooks give your book added exposure online and make your work accessible to millions more readers. eBooks also offer a great alternative to planet-conscious readers who want an alternative to paper.

Now you can make your eBook accessible to a world of readers perusing Amazon and Barnes & Noble bookstores — for FREE! When you purchase the Ultimate or Full-Color publishing package in the month of July, Outskirts Press will throw in Kindle and NOOK versions of your book at no charge.

To take advantage of this offer, simply:

  • Add the Ultimate or Full-Color publishing package to your
  • Outskirts Press shopping cart
  • Enter promo code KindleNook-Free at checkout
  • The free ebook editions will be added to your account within 48 hours

This amazing offer is only available for a limited time, so publish now to receive these valuable eBook editions FREE!

Need help picking a package? Call a Publishing Consultant at 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS), live-chat with us via our website or go online to schedule an appointment.

Building Your Platform, Part Two: Making Room On Social Media

These days, it’s entirely reasonable for consumers to expect their favorite companies as well as their favorite celebrities to have an active and responsive presence on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And while your favorite won’t be able to respond to each and every tweet or Facebook post lobbed their way over the course of a day, the fact that they respond to any tweets renders any person or company a more accessible figure to the average American.

The same principle applies to self-publishing authors and social media, even before they publish their first books. This is because your social media presence is a conglomerate, or a compendium, or sum total of your engagement online. If you haven’t engaged with potential readers before your book is published, you won’t be able to take advantage of those critical preceding months to announce your book’s release and build interest. And once your book is released, potential readers like to do their homework on you and your web presence before committing to buying your book. After all, if you wouldn’t want to spend time with a person in real life, why would you pay money to spend time with their voice, perspective, and favorite characters? Your web presence and your personal brand help readers get to know you and make an informed choice.

It is vital that authors know the ins and outs of Facebook updates and feeds and public profiles and so on and so forth, as the vast majority of any author’s potential readers will have Facebook accounts; however, it’s just as vital for a self-published author to establish a certain degree of comfort with at least a couple of the lesser-used platforms, because they will be both more “discoverable” and more visible without the throng of other authors competing for attention. Thus, the list of quote-on-quote “major” social networking sites we’ll address in this second installment of our “Building Your Platform” three-part series includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. It also, however, includes reference to some of the “up and coming” social media websites, including Tumblr, Snapchat, and Goodreads, because ultimately, it’s the tools we’ve neglected that end up most surprising us with their unexplored possibilities.

Facebook:

Facebook isn’t just a big deal for authors, of course. Some days, it seems as though everyone is using Facebook for twenty different things, and this social media website regularly makes headlines with both its successes and failures. While Facebook’s developers are constantly tweaking the algorithms and codes and format of things (it’s true, we must admit), the website itself remains fairly stable in a number of ways. First of all, the fact remains true that Facebook is where the people are — the people, the relationships, the possible connections, and the real market for your books. The people are staying put, and sticking by Facebook, despite the not-uncommon doomsday forecasts to the contrary. But that’s not the only aspect of Facebook that is stable: the features may alter a bit in form and function, but the concept of what you’re using those features for remains the same. It capitalizes on the four fundamental pillars of the online experience: findability, adaptability, usability, and authenticity. If any of these four aspects is missing from an author’s social media presence, they’re bound to suffer. If, however, you are conscientious in maximizing your Facebook presence, then you’re practically guaranteed to grow your reading audience.

Of course, you have to separate your personal usage from your professional usage, and this is the greatest hurdle of all. If you need a private place to vent among friends, make sure to keep that on your personal account, and to keep your personal account settings zeroed on “private”! Set up an author page dedicated to your upcoming book, however, and make sure to post to it regularly. Scheduling your posts to specific days of the calendar week is one of the most successful tips we can give, and it’s one of the least utilized. And of course, utilize Facebook’s event, photo gallery, and community features rigorously.

YouTube:

What is YouTube? It’s a video storage and hosting service which allows pretty much anyone who signs up for a free account to upload video files for public consumption (or private; like every other good social media platform, YouTube allows its users to toggle a number of privacy settings for each individual video as well as for their profile pages). Once a video is posted to YouTube, fans and followers can distribute the link themselves, which makes it a great platform for viral campaigns. And because videos are visceral in a way text sometimes isn’t, they make a fantastic impact on viewers’ — and readers’ — imaginations. Chances are, nine out of every ten video links you’re ever going to click (in this decade, at least) will link to something on YouTube. And self-published authors quickly found a myriad of ways to put this video hosting social media service to work in creating buzz about their upcoming books! It’s never been easier to put together curated video playlists of material relating to your book, or put together a book trailer (we even have a service to help with that!), upload behind the scenes footage of you working on your latest manuscript or delivering an impassioned excerpt reading before a rapt audience, or conduct a tour of book video blogs, giving interviews as you go. Details matter, but authenticity counts for more than pixel quality when it comes to using YouTube.

Twitter:

This social media platform is often described as a “microblogging” website, a descriptor which implies that Twitter users manage their feed and profile content the way they would a blogging website — only in smaller chunks. This is only partially true, in that some Twitter users who also have blogs may use the same parameters to manage both platforms, or in that some Twitter users treat the site as a tool for unspooling narrative. The keys to a successful presence on Twitter include setting up every detail of your account, from your picture to your avatar to your biography to your Twitter name or “handle,” in full … as well as setting yourself a daily and weekly Twitter task to drive traffic, using a third party website to schedule your tweets and keep them consistent, listening to your followers and engaging with others using hashtags and replies, and incentivizing interactions on Twitter by publishing “behind the scenes” information on your next book.

Instagram:

Instagram may just turn out to be one of the most useful social media websites out there for up-and-coming self-publishing authors. And a lot of established authors have created authentic and dynamic relationships with their fans on this website. All social media platforms present opportunities to connect in this way, but Instagram in particular has found a dedicated and loyal user base, and industry professionals are beginning to recognize that Instagram’s model of encouraging its users to post images of day-to-day activities is something we can rely on to stick around, unlike some other quote-on-quote “faddish” platforms. It’s also incredibly easy: snap a picture on your smartphone, then upload it with some filters for added visual effect, and maybe some text … and voila! It’s easy to build your Insta-presence early, even before you start self-publishing.

Tumblr:

Tumblr is kind of a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that even the White House has one, and the President of the United States has done a Q&A on one. This microblogging platform quite literally causes and feeds a frenzy of conversations, many of them controversial. And with over 81 million new posts going up every day, spread across more than 243 million individual blogs, the potential heft of any given piece of content is massive, particularly since Tumblr’s graphic-driven interface makes “reblogging” the posts of others so incredibly easy. Tumblr counts as an “up and comer” when it comes to the best programs to build your personal brand and web presence, but it has incredible potential to reach readers if your ideal audience includes teens and young adults.

Pinterest:

Pinterest is another heavyweight in the self-publishing world. Why? Because books are first and foremost a tangible object with incredible visual appeal, and Pinterest is a social media platform designed and built to showcase beautiful things. Emphasis on “things.” Pinterest is often described as a kind of digital bulletin board, and whether or not you actually use bulletin boards in real life, it is a powerful tool for collecting objects, most of them real and actual physical objects, together into one easy-to-access-and-modify place. It may not have been specifically designed for books, but Pinterest is definitely a book-lover’s dream … and a haven, too, for self-published authors. We love mood boards and “fan cast” boards as tools both to assist in the writing process and to engage with potential future readers.

Here’s the trick to being a self-published author on social media: You must always remember that you are, first and foremost, a writer. If social media helps you write your next book and spread the word, then it deserves a couple minutes of your time. It is our hope that by putting together this series, as well as our rich tapestry of social media services, we may take some of the guesswork and fear out of launching yourself into the world of platform-building, and find a new home, a new community, and an engaged readership in some unexplored corner of our digital universe.

Coming Soon … What Comes Next?

That’s all the room we have for this second installment of our three-part series! We’ll be back in our next and final post to discuss just how critical a fully-fleshed-out presence on Amazon can be for you, a self-publishing author, both as an independent part of your web presence and as an offshoot of a well-crafted biography and press release.

Interested in more helpful information about writing and self-publishing? Call Outskirts Press at 1-888-OP-BOOKS, chat with us via the online chat on our website or make an appointment with a Publishing Consultant.