Getting Ready to Publish Your Cookbook – 5 Self-Editing Steps

Cookbooks are a ton of fun to write! And they’re a great way to convey your expertise in any of the health or healthy eating fields. Even with more and more recipes being online, cookbooks are still being purchased and used – especially cookbooks that are around a single topic or theme.

You want your readers to have a great experience with your cookbook – it’s not just about yummy recipes, it’s about creating a literary culture that they enjoy.

During these 5 editing steps, you’ll want to do the step to the WHOLE book. Then do the next step. Yes, that means (at least!) 5 read-throughs of your book, but it’s been proven to be a more effective way of editing – rather than editing each recipe for ALL things and then moving on.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Standardize how you’re listing measurements
During a read-through of my first cookbook, I found that I used the following:

  • tablespoon
  • Tbs
  • TBS
  • Tbsp.

That’s four different ways to say the same thing! Decide on one standard format and will be keeping it the same throughout the book. (And using the same format for cup, pound, and teaspoon, etc.!)

It doesn’t matter what you’re using, but it needs to be the SAME for all instances in the entire book.

You can use a find & replace function to help you make this standard but you need to check EACH and EVERY place you say it – not use the “replace all” function.

2. Read and review all your instructions
Do you want to list any preparation instructions IN your list of ingredients, or only in the instructions? An example is saying, “1 head of lettuce, washed and chopped” in the list of ingredients rather than putting the washing and chopping instructions IN the text of written instructions.

If there are any sets of instructions you say over and over, then create a standard way that you say it and make all the common recipes use the same set of instructions.

You’ll want to reach EACH recipe’s instructions carefully to make sure you’re clear.

3. Finalize the order of your recipes!
Some cookbooks have subgroups (Main Courses, Desserts, Drinks, Snacks, Appetizers, etc.) so you’ll need to start by deciding if that makes sense for your book. You don’t have to have an equal number of recipes in each category BUT if you’ve got 4 drink recipes and 58 main dishes, you might want to rethink categories! (Or have a super-small category be a “bonus”.)

Next, you need to finalize the order of recipes. Alphabetical order doesn’t usually make sense!

Start by making sure that bringing all your recipes into ONE document – and making sure that each recipe is on its own page. (Adding page numbers here can help!)

5 must-know editing tips for your cookbook. #cooking #amwriting #cookbook Share on X

Then, print the document and sort the recipes into an order than makes sense. Finish by putting them into order in the digital version of the cookbook.

You’ll also need to decide if you need to fill in any recipes – either to get to a target goal of recipes you’re offering or to flesh out any categories that you want to keep but that are a bit too skinny.

4. Write the OTHER things your book needs
At a minimum, your book will need an Introduction and an About the Author page. To know what other pieces of content your book needs – including which are optional – see “What “Extras” Does Your Book Need?”

5. Run a final spelling/grammar check
By this time, you’ll have done 5 or 10 or 15 read-throughs of your book. And you’re probably SICK of the whole thing! But you still need to do a complete spelling/grammar check. The onboard spelling and grammar checks in Word (or other word processing programs) really aren’t that bad – so take advantage of their capabilities and do another run through.

Then, save your finished file as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file!

This is a tiny taste of all the cookbook publishing know-how you’ll get in my all-new workbook, “Publish Your Cookbook: A workbook to get your recipes ready to publish!” To grab YOUR copy (and finally get your cookbook finished) go to

Kim Galloway
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