Tips for Appealing to Publishers
Getting a cookbook professionally published is not an easy task to undertake as the market is rapidly becoming saturated with a surplus of cookbooks. Not to mention, publishers are only going to invest the time and effort if they think that your book has the chance for mass appeal. Still, it's not impossible, and there are a few things that you can do to give yourself an edge.
First and foremost: find your niche. If you just market a generic cookbook to a publisher, you're likely going to get turned down. Even something like "Italian" or "Country" cooking is still too broad. What really makes you passionate about cooking? What are your favorite kinds of foods to create?
If you find that you love soups and stews, try focusing on a book on soups and stews. Specialized cookbooks dealing with subjects like health and food intolerances such as gluten-free cooking or lifestyle choices such as vegan or vegetarian cooking are often easier to publish because the market is far less saturated than the classic French cooking market. By meeting a very specific need of the market, publishers are likely to consider your book.
Don't expect potential publishers to want to market you - do it yourself! One of the fastest ways to catch the attention of publishers is to show that you already have an existing fan base. How do you get a fan base? It's actually relatively simple, and requires little more than some time and effort on your part.
Start a cooking blog and update it regularly with some recipes, tips and tricks you think your target audience would be interested in. Save your absolute best recipes for the book, of course, but pick fan-favorites and tried and true ones as an offering to free-readers.
Don't forget to share some personal stories as people enjoy finding out the stories behind recipes. By marketing yourself as both an expert and a likeable person, you're sure to build up a fan base that will show potential publishers that you are worth their consideration.
Take your time when researching publishers. Go to your local bookstore and see what publishers are marketing cookbooks, and what kinds they're looking for. Is there a specific publisher that deals only with cookbooks or seems more open to unknown authors? If you notice a publisher is only marketing TV chefs or already well-known authors, avoid them and try your hand at more specialized publishers.