Q. I will be developing a cookbook for a small country inn over the next year or so and was wondering if you knew of any materials out there that would give some guidelines or other information on cookbook development. I know there are a million cookbooks out there to reference, but I was interested in a book specifically designed to help a rookie cookbook developer. I have an AOS in culinary arts as well as a BSPH in
nutrition and am currently a chef for this small inn.
A. Good, there certainly aren't enough country inn cookbooks on the market
Seriously, it is a huge challenge these days to get a new book published, as the market is pretty saturated with cookbooks of all types, there is already a big group of known cookbook authors that publishers have to choose from, and country inn cookbooks are not, shall we say, at the cutting edge of the food world right now. To add insult to injury, cookbook authors don't generally make a bundle of money, either.
At the same time, unknown authors do get published, and why not you? You'll need a brilliant concept, great recipes, great writing, and the perseverance to find the right agent and/or publisher.
A couple of books on writing cookbooks came out in the last 15 years or so, including How to Write and Publish a Classic Cookbook and How to Write and Publish a Family Cookbook.
If you have a little time and money sitting around, you might find it much more useful to hook up with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The group has a section devoted to food writing and publishing, and an extensive meeting each spring where you'd have a chance to meet and talk with the well-known and not-so-well-known cookbook authors, as well as agents, editors, and publishers. It would certainly provide more of an education than you could get from an out-of-date book.