Want to Write a Cookbook? First, discover the different categories

“Central heating, French rubber goods, and cookbooks are three amazing proofs of man’s ingenuity in transforming necessity into art, and of these, cookbooks are perhaps most lastingly delightful.”

M.F.K. Fisher

What category will you choose?

When you embark on writing a cookbook you’ll need to decide what kind of cookbook you’ll write. There are many different types of cookbooks to consider, from a single type of cuisine to a travelogue with stories about your adventures. This list will help you think about what kind of book you want to write. And don’ worry if you haven’t decided yet. This list will help steer you in the right direction.

Specific Cuisine/Regional: New England, Tuscany, Vietnam, Norway…Do your recipes hail from a certain location? Or perhaps you make Italian food or Indian or French? Or maybe you want to focus on vegetarian cuisine or BBQ? And these can be drilled down further: You could focus on pasta or classic French dishes (or modern French), updated Vietnamese dishes…and so on. If you want to hone in a specific cuisine or a specific area, then this is the category for you.

Examples: My Paris Kitchen, French Cooking for Beginners, The Turkish Cookbook, Made in India, 50 Favorite Jamaican Recipes, The Chilean Kitchen

Specific Meal: Is brunch your expertise? Or are you an ace at dinner? maybe desserts are your passion. If all your recipes revolve around one specific meal choose then this category.

Examples: Brunch Life, Brunch at Bobby’s, Dinner: Uncomplicated, The Cake Bible

Seasonal: Are all of your recipes from a certain season? Love those hearty wintry meals or summer grilling? Or you cook year-round according to the seasons? Whatever the case, choose the seasonal topic if that’s your passion.

Examples: Bake the Seasons, Cooking in Season, Cooking in the Moment

Single subject: Maybe you’re in expert in one type of foodor drink. You love making curries or stews or one-pot meals. You’re a cocktail expert or you love pasta (see above, some categories can cross over into others) or seafood. Perhaps cakes are your passion or ice cream or pies.

Examples: 202 Easy Stir Fry Recipes, Easy as Pie, The Ultimate Burger, Essential Seafood Cookbook, The Soup Book, The Perfect Scoop, Ramen Obsession, Tequila and Tacos, The Complete Cocktail Manual

Travelogue Cookbook: If you’ve been inspired by a trip you’ve taken or a place you’ve lived and you want to share stories about your experience along with recipes, then this is the category for you.

Examples: Rose Petal Jam: Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland, Saha: A Chef’s Journey Through Lebanon and Syria, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes, Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook

There are many categories to consider when writing a cookbook, even more than what’s listed above. In addition, there can be crossover: you may want to cover Italian vegetarian food, or vegan breakfasts, or desserts from the Caribbean.

You will also want to think about who you want to read your book: beginners or experts, busy parents or those with time to cook luxurious meals? Will you include just recipes or stories about your life? Will you give lots of instructions with photos or simple directions?

There is much to consider when writing your book, but the most important thing is to simply get started. Maybe you already know what you want to focus on and how you want to convey that, but if you don’t, that’s okay. Sometimes ideas come as you work and write. The most important thing is to just start!

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