Self Publishing

How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Cookbook – Design (Part 5)


How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Cookbook – Design (Part 5)

Design and imagery were by far the biggest expense items on my budget for the production of the High Cookery book. Both are critically important to the creation of a successful product, but I feel that the designer is the most important professional to identify in the book creation process. Maybe it was just my personal case, but I found the designer to be a great sounding board and, in fact, a partner in this journey.

While you can definitely have a successful cookbook with bad imagery you cannot make it without a great design. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to choose the right design partner for your creation. This is where you would want to take your time, check out portfolios and see whether you two click. If you have the time and money, I’d recommend a trial mini-project as well. Good designers, in my opinion, think and have an inherent sense of professional truth. They will not simply do as you bid but rather be very opinionated and (at times) stubborn when they are asked to design something they disagree with. I was fortunate to partner up with a phenomenal designer who not only worked her magic to create this book but was also provided very significant critical feedback.

Once you’ve started engaging with the designer, invest ample time to talk about your inspiration and brand. Together you should discuss the book’s target audience and identify the types of design that will appeal to them. Should it be very clean? have an innovative vibe? be cheeky and loud? – it all depends.

The work between the cookbook author and visual designer is fairly intense. After the creation of the style sheet, iconography, and various templates, the designer starts going over the tedious work of cooking up the cookbook. This is where the back and forth begins and will continue until the proofreader has given the ok to move forward to print. Once you started the printing process, your designer is essentially, the person the printing facility wants to satisfy the most. When I printed my second cookbook in China, the designer literally made them print the whole 5,000 books run again as they did not meet the standard she approved of.

The total cost of design for the book came up to $10,571 and included everything from brand and template work to cover design and obviously the book itself. Considering 264 pages for the book this comes up to roughly $40 per page.

Next – editing and proofreading