Cookbook deal isn't easy to score

BURNING QUESTIONS

April 18, 2007|By Erica Marcus | Erica Marcus,Newsday

I would like to publish all of the recipes I have collected through the years. Which publishers deal with this type of book?

As a former cookbook editor, I can tell you that it is very hard for home cooks to score book-publishing deals.

If all you want are nice-looking, bound volumes that you can give (or sell) to friends and family, get in touch with Books by Bookends (booksbybookends.com), a New Jersey-based outfit that produces books from a manuscript, Word document or PDF file for a very reasonable price.

If you want a little more help (and are willing to spend more money), there are a number of what used to be called "vanity presses," now known as self-publishers: iUniverse, Xlibris, Authorhouse, Booksurge, Vantage. A company called The Cook's Palate (cookspalate.com) specializes in self-publishing cookbooks.

If you want to enter the torrid fray of commercial book publishing, let me try to dissuade you. First, honestly answer this question: How different are your recipes from the ones already available in the world's thousands of already-published cookbooks? Then answer this one: How many cookbooks did you buy last year? Then: How many cookbooks not written by TV hosts or restaurant chefs did you buy last year?

If you're like most people, the answer to the first question will be "not very," to the second, "very few" and to the third, "none at all." So here's the fourth question: How many people who have never heard of you do you think are going to buy your book?

Still interested in getting your cookbook published after all this abuse?

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to burningquestions@newsday.com, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.

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