Shhh.... don't tell anyone... but we at Wise Ink LOVE publishing cookbooks. Why? Well, it's not just because we love to eat, though WE DO. It's because cookbooks are super easy to market.
Firstly, cookbooks are always among the highest selling book genres, consistently. Secondly, cookbook authors have an easy way to market their books for years beyond their launch-- all they need to do is host a cooking demo event! And thirdly, probably MOST importantly, cooking bloggers have a consistently engaged audience and large platform. Win, win, win.
Cookbooks are a great way to give a cooking blogger legitimacy and a way of taking a part time passion into a full time brand. Here we talk with Wise Ink author Tonja Engen, author of Tonja's Table (based on her awesome blog!) about how she made the leap from cooking blogger to cookbook author:
Q1: Tell us a little about your blogging journey. How long did you have your blog before publishing your cookbook?
I started my blog in 2012 in response to my friends and families recipe inquiries on what to make for various occasions and events. I thought sending a recipe out once a week would be fun and a great way to connect. I maybe sent this out to 25 people at the time. It started to grow organically so in 2014 I decided to get a “real website” (I think we were using constant contact at the time) and added some different features to my blog. It was 2 years after that I started writing my cookbook which published in 2016.
Q2: Going from a blog to a book is a huge step. How did you know your blog was ready for a book?
I didn’t! I just loved providing recipes and solutions to everyone's cooking dilemas (weeknight cooking, entertaining, potlucks, etc.) and thought it would be another great vehicle for sharing recipes and my passion for cooking.
Q3: You have been very vocal about the importance of organizing your cookbook in a way that makes sense for you. What are some tips you have for recipe bloggers who might be interested in developing a cookbook?
I feel that every cookbook author has a unique story to tell. Finding your cookbook niche is the first step. What are you trying to accomplish with your book? What solutions are you providing? Maybe it’s just to entertain your reader, but that is still a niche. Ask those hard questions up front and the process with be much smoother. In my case, the recipes were very occasion-based and I wrote to my reader with their lifestyle in mind (cabin cooking in the summer, holidays, dinner parties, feeding the team, etc.). So I organized the book by menus to make it easy to know what to make. My ultimate goal was to get people back in the kitchen again without fear.
Q4: Who are some of your cookbook author inspirations, and why?
Julia Child! I have all her cookbooks and biographies. I studied in Nice where she had a summer home and I have such an affinity for French cooking. Her culinary passion is matched by few and she was fearless. I really admire that about her.
Ina Garten transformed how a lot of us cook and entertain now. She simplified things with exact details which is very hard to do. I have all of her books and have made almost all of her recipes.
Chrissy Tiegen came out with “Cravings” while I was writing my book (sort of like when your pregnancy follows a movie star). She’s hilarious and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She also has really tasty food and I hate skimping on flavor so I really enjoy her book and think we would have fun in the kitchen together.
Q5: What’s been the best part about having a book to go along with your website and brand?
It opens doors and creates so many opportunities I could have never imagined. I have done everything from book signings, holiday events, markets, cooking classes to Twin Cities Live cooking demos, and recently starting a Tonja’s Table Cooking Club.
Do you have a cooking blog and are ready to take it to the next level? Drop us a line!