My Personal Experience Writing Recipes
In 2008, I was hired by The New York Times to write about bread baking on their subsidiary, About.com. I had no prior experience to writing recipes. Over the next 6 years, I learned the ins and outs of recipe writing and have written over 500 bread recipes. It is not as easy as it looks.
Why Write a Cookbook
People have to eat and, if they are going to make it themselves, they want their food to taste good and look presentable. Recipes teach and guide people how to make all sorts of delicious dishes. It is the writer's duty to make each recipe as easy as possible to make so that even a newbie cook can follow the recipe with success.
If you are skilled in the kitchen, if people love your cooking, and if you love, love, love to create original dishes, you will want to consider writing a recipe book. There is good money to be had writing recipes.
Choosing an Angle
Nearly all the popular recipe books available on Kindle have a very specific angle. For example, recipe books on:
- deviled eggs
- slow cooker
- quick meals
- make ahead meals
Your goal is to choose something you enjoy making. For myself, my best option would be to create a book on yeast breads because of my experience. If you make incredible jello shots, that would be your niche in the recipe world.
Know your strengths in the kitchen and use them to your advantage.
Endless Days in the Kitchen
After you have decided what type of cookbook you are going to write, your next step is to pull out all the recipe books you have. Go to the library and borrow more. Fill your kitchen table with possibilities. You may have to eat your meals in the living room for a bit, but I've been there and the kids thought it was fun change of scenery.
Compile your notes and possible recipes. Use a notebook to copy recipes and instructions to test out. If you cook often, you will know automatically how to make adjustments to recipes, such as adding more onions, more garlic, less salt or sugar.
With your notes, your next step is to begin testing out recipes in the kitchen. When I first started out writing about bread baking, I used my family and neighbors as guinea pigs. I had the greatest neighbors at that time, and they honestly told me if the bread was good, not sweet enough, or whatever. If you can find people to give you honest reviews on your recipes, hold them dear.
You will spend a lot of time in the kitchen, adapting recipes, tweaking this and that, and trying out different presentations. Keep notes all the way. If something doesn't work, you can adapt it and test it out again. When you have perfected your recipe, rush to your computer and begin typing out the recipe and the steps to making it.
The Scoop on Copyrights and Recipes
You cannot copyright a list of ingredients. This is because there are only so many ways you can make something, such as plain biscuits. If the recipe list was copyrighted, only a few people would be allowed to hold the copyright to making plain biscuits. A recipe list (ex. 1 tsp baking powder, 1-1/2 cups flour, etc.) can be copied.
The instructions for making the item is, however, copyrighted. The instructions for making the item are considered creative content (ex. in a medium bowl, add flour, salt, and sugar, and mix vigorously).