Writing a Keepsake Cookbook – Part 2

Creating your Own Recipes Family Cookbook

Publishing Choices for Your Recipes Cookbook 

Notebook or Scrapbook Method
Printed by a Publisher from the material you submit.
Hand Written Journal
Do it all yourself (the method I chose)
Let’s look at these choices in a little more detail, starting with the notebook or scrapbook method. You can use an acid free paper or copy paper and cover the pages with protective plastic sleeves. The pages would be 8 x 11.5 inches, which gives you a good area to work with. You can format the pages on the computer if you have computer skills. If you don’t have computer skills recruit some of the younger family members to help you. I learned so much about my family while I was working on ours that I would of never learned if I had not decided to do a book. After all, it’s their history also. It will be easy to add additional recipes to this type of book over the years, as new recipes become family favorites.
Letting a cookbook publisher print your book for you is another solution. I investigated four different companies and actually thought it was a good value if you are going to do a recipe only type of book. For these books, most of the companies had pre-designed covers and formats you could choose from. Most let you choose the type of recipe format you would like and a choice of the type of font you would like it printed with. With this type of cookbook, you can type or print the recipes on sheets they will provide to you and select the category you want the recipe to be in. You can do this type of book for around $5.00 a copy, but you have a minimum order of 100. Comparing it to the other book styles it is a great value and involves the least amount of work on your part. To easily find cookbook publishers, do an Internet search using “cookbook publishing” as your search term. You will be able to get sample books and see the choices you will have directly from the publishing companies.


A hand written journal is another choice if you are only doing a few for a gift or as a tribute to someone. This involves getting family members to write their favorite recipes or memories into a journal that is given to someone for a particular occasion. If the book is going to have to travel across the country and to several different families, make sure to start early to insure you get it back in time, don’t forget to add in the time for the mail as you figure the schedule. I’d include instructions, postage and mailing instructions just to make it easier for everyone. If the book were going to several families or a dozen, I’d also include a list with the address of whom the journal is to be sent to next so that the book can make its rounds. Make sure to send a note ahead of time or telephone to let them know the journal is coming and make sure someone will be home to receive it so that it gets sent on its way again. If the book is for a wedding gift, you might have family members add personal notes of tips for a successful marriage.

The last option we looked at was to do it all ourselves. I formatted the recipes in Word. I used the scanner for all photos and hand written recipe cards that we were using. The choice I decided on was to print it all myself on a laser printer. To print all 50 copies took just over 50 hours of nonstop printing. The cookbook was formatted to be 6 x 9 inches, printed both front and back. It was printed on 32 lb. paper. I had the book cut down to the 6 x 9 inch size I had selected after printing. I decided that if the book were left to the original 8 x 11.5 size it would be too bulky. After we collated them I knew that was a wise decision. I designed the cover and copied that to a floppy disc and I had the copy place print the cover in color on a heavy vinyl paper. It was bound with a plastic comb and has a vinyl back. Average cost was $20.00 a book, not exactly the cheapest method but I am very pleased with it. Okay, I heard some of you gasp! Our book included almost 275 recipes, 100 history pages and almost 400 photos so in the end it was much more than recipes. It was adding so many photos that really drove up the price. This method I felt gave me the most control of how the book would look when it was finished.

You could also just print one copy and then have additional copies made from their original copy. This way the place copying the book will also collate it for you. It will be less time consuming and should be cheaper than the costs I accrued. It of course will depend on the size of your cookbook.

Once I decided on how the book was to be printed and where, I worked with the same person at the store until the book was completed. They helped me with the page formatting and gave suggestions along the way. You might want to bring along a plate of homemade cookies each time you go there, it helped!

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