Tag Archives: self publishing

Publish The Book You’ve Already Written, A Family Recipe Cookbook

Had a great phone conversation with one of my besties today and as the conversation always does, we got onto the topic of FOOD!  We are unabashed foodies and as such, we are forever inspiring each other with our latest creations. Well, truth be told, she inspires me more than I inspire her because she has a hubby to cook for everyday. Me? I’ll make a pot of soup and eat it everyday for a week.


My buddy also has a rather large family, with 5 children.  Each of her kids is married and there are grandchildren numbering  in the double digits. As you can probably imagine, Christmas can be a bit expensive for her and her hubby. Especially when you consider she has to ship most of these gifts cross country or travel to deliver them in person.

enter, my brilliant idea

After her mouth watering description of the Greek salad she was making for supper, I asked her what she was giving the kids for Christmas this year.  Yeah, you could have heard the crickets, what with this being July.  When it looked like she was thinking too hard about the answer, I suggested she put together a cookbook!

I remember that a few years ago, she tasked herself with creating something crocheted for each of the grand babies. She allowed herself one month to finish each project and by gosh, it took her a year, but she did it and now they each have something their grandmother made specifically for them. To me, the idea of a cookbook is much easier. Not only does she have great food ideas, but she has also written and self published several other books. She has skills with a camera and a computer.

Winner/winner, chicken dinner

I could hear the wheels turning while I was yapping about how great it would be for the kiddos to have this to remember her by, as well as to have a go-to for a new meal idea when they are hungry. (more wheels turning) Then I reminded her that as she already has a website AND an Author Central Page on Amazon, she might actually sell a few copies.

burning rubber here

So, why would this have anything to do with YOU??? Because most of us eat, many of us create recipes without thinking.  We are forever tweaking this great soup we had, changing up a salad our favorite restaurant makes or we are the family cake maker for all the important occasions. This means we are in recipe creation mode much of the time. If we are writing these down, even on scraps of paper that we then stick into a folder, we have RECIPES!

 follow me 

In our family, my mother collected recipes like a boss and she was forever hosting gatherings where she could serve up something yummy for the tummy. By the time she passed away, she had amassed a collection we have yet to explore fully and she has been gone 8 years.  Even though she loved her new found gastronomical delights, us kids would rather eat those things she made for us when we young. Things like Mexi Hots or Scrapple.  Let me tell you what, there might not be many out there who would know what either of these two dishes contain, let along taste like, but our mouths water at the very thought.

There aren’t nearly as many grand children in our family as in my friend’s, but as my brother now has a granddaughter, I have been toying with the idea of putting together a cookbook for her, as well as my nephews. Of course, I have nearly 30 first cousins (on my mother’s side alone) they might get a kick out of a book filled with food they remember my mother making. And you might want those recipes I mentioned earlier…

but don’t stop there

Cookbooks SELL!  People love to read them, collect them and even use them. This means that cookbooks that are published and promoted, stand a pretty good chance of being purchased.  They don’t even have to be about food someone would eat all the time.  I have a book about oriental cooking that I have used twice in 35 years. A New York Times cookbook I have, has hundreds of recipes from that grand old newspaper and I have made four of them 10 times. And there is a recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi in The Moosewood Cookbook  that I made ONCE in 1982. Yesterday, another author friend of mine, hand delivered HER latest book, a COOKBOOK!

I am probably going to  be making several of her recipes so this is game on!

How do I know you can do this? Because I know that you can write out a recipe!  List the ingredients, tell us how much of each to use and how to bring it all together. Make sure to let us know how to cook it (if it requires cooking) and you have a recipe written!  Of course, you can look at other cookbooks to see how people spell out their recipes.  That might be a good place for you to start. But my suggestion is that you look to your family recipe box. You might even have a family recipe book.  I am blessed to have my mother’s mother’s hand written recipe book. And yes, I have been writing out her recipes to publish one day.

Let’s keep it simple. Choose a dozen recipes. Write them out and add a dozen pictures, you will have a book that could be published on Create Space. How do I know this? Because I know their minimum page count for a book is 24 pages and putting 12 recipes on 12 pages and 12 pictures on 12 pages….   Remember, there are also pages for a table of contents, an introduction, glossary of terms and thank you/acknowledgements too, so in reality you could go with 10 and 10 and still pull a book together.

The pictures can be of ingredients, your garden, or the finished products.  Heck you can even do a step-by-step tutorial using several pictures. One day, I decided to take photos of the steps to make my recipe for Pureed Root Vegetable Soup because I was considering sharing it in a magazine. Now, I have all those photos that could accompany my recipe in a forth coming cookbook.

wheels turning 

There are as many cookbook ideas out there as there are different ways to make a burger. You can choose what works best for you and create something really neat.  Many non-profit organizations have used companies that take all their recipes and format a book for them to sell as fund raisers. Our church did that years ago and our book, Holy Chow!  (yes, they let me name it) was and still is a huge hit. This can be an expensive project for an individual, but if you have a large family and everyone wants to contribute recipes as well as cash, you could go that route. Keep in mind that you will only receive so many copies for the initial price, have to go back to them to order more copies and it really isn’t YOUR BOOK.

 Create Space will tell you that they offer no template for a cookbook, but it really isn’t necessary. Once again, if you know how to write out a recipe, you can take whatever size template of theirs you choose and create a cookbook.  After all, a cookbook is, is a book filled with recipes!

I know you are all digesting this and I can only imagine the tasty ideas floating around your heads now. It will be terrific to see what you create.  Need a hand with that?  Contact me, this is what I do, I am for hire.  innerchildart (at) yahoo (dot) com

All right, who asked if I’d work for food… funny, very funny

My Author Central Page



Publish The Book You’ve Already Written, Your Blog Posts

Had an interesting email conversation the other day. A fellow blogger was asking how I felt about them using their blog posts as material for books they would publish. I was totally supportive!

Their biggest concern was that people had already seen it, so what would be the point of putting it into a book. A most thought provoking statement indeed,  but once again, I did not see that as an issue.

Let’s say that you, like me, have written poetry and that you, like me, have already used that poetry on your blog. Even if you have thousands of followers, I can guarantee you that not all of them have seen everything you have posted. I can also guarantee that everyone you know or are related to, cannot be counted among those who follow your blog, or who have read your posts. So, it’s not like millions of people have already read what you have written and might be a bit “over it.” Putting some, if not all, of what you have blog-lished (my term for publishing on a blog) into book form,  is a great use of your material. It’s stood the test of time and it’s yours to do with whatever you wish. I’ll just bet that those who have read what you have posted are some of your biggest fans and would be most supportive of you creating a book from your blog posts! 

Finding content, seems to be the biggest stumbling block for those wanting to write a book. There are a myriad of publishing options available. By that I mean, there are several self-publishing companies, vanity presses and traditional publishing houses out there, all you need to do, is have something to submit. By taking your blogs posts and with some editing, you can most definitely create a book, ready for publication.

Still not convinced? Okay, I didn’t want to have to do this…  Of the 9 books I have self-published to date, 3 of them are straight from my blog. All 3 of my Haiku Perspective books contain the poems I used in haiku challenges which  were posted on this blog. Yes, I added some additional haiku, because I could (well because I had written them and didn’t know what else to do with them).  They rounded out the books. It made creating content easy because I created the content a bit at a time.

With the first book, I was thinking that it would be a wonderful way to share what I had written with my family and friends who might not have any other way of reading my haiku. After that, I actually planned to publish a haiku book each year, using my blog content.





When it came time to write the second book, I was geeked to see it in print and found something else really cool to do with my haiku books. Because the poetry is relatively short in nature, it is easy to read. So, I put a copy in my Doctor’s waiting room. People who didn’t know me would stop me from time to time and comment on how much they enjoyed reading the haiku, especially because they weren’t sure what it even was before picking up one of my books. One man even said, “Know why I like this? Because these poems are short. I can stop when I want and continue reading where I want without feeling I am missing anything.”  High praise, indeed.

 Because I used everything I wrote in 2016 for the 3rd book, I rang in the new year by laying it out. No, I didn’t get it done in one day but it gave me something exciting to look forward to without the party mess to clean up or leaving me with a hangover. What made putting this book together so special, was that it was, by far, the longest book I had written, to date. I felt so accomplished.



Perhaps this inspires you to use your blog content to create a book (or two). I’d be happy to help you with that, if you feel the need to have someone coach you through the process.  Reach out to me via the contact information here on my blog and let’s help you publish the book you’ve already written!





Encourage a Young Writer Day


It has been said, that on every April 10th, we celebrate National Encourage a Young Writer Day, funny thing is, I’ve been unable to track down the origins of this auspicious day. Oh sure I found celebrations dating back to 2013, 2014 and 2015, yet nothing to indicate who started this tradition So guess what? This gives us the opportunity to initiate a tradition of our own right here and now!

It IS up to us to encourage young writers and not just for a day but each and every day.  Young writers have an illustrious history of contributing to our literary world. After all, Anne Frank was a mere 13 years old when she penned her poignant diary, giving us a glimpse into a world many of us, thank goodness, would never experience.  And Stephen King, it is reported, sold his first story for the paltry sum of a quarter when he was 13. Makes one wonder, what other glorious works might we have gotten from Miss. Frank, had she lived longer?

These two examples are but a surface scratch and they are not the youngest people on record to have written stories/books and to have them published. C.S. Lewis was said to have been 8 or 9 when he began writing The Chronicles of Narnia. And the book The Young Visiters was penned by 9year old Daisy Ashford! They are not the youngest to write and publish; no.  Ten years ago in London, Christopher Beale wrote a story about his favorite stuffed animals titled: This and Last Season’s Excursions. And when four-year-old Dorothy Straight’s mother insisted she address the question, ‘how did the world begin?’  the child not only wrote the story but illustrated it too.  Albeit, Dorothy’s book, How the World Began wasn’t published until she was 6, let’s give credit where it’s due.

Granted, there are hundreds and thousands of other young people out there who are writing and publishing books. Truthfully, we may never know about them. Still, there are young people you DO know. Children, siblings, neighbors, students, nieces or nephews come to mind. Somewhere in your sphere of influence is a child who may be waiting for some encouragement to start or continue writing.

Probably the best and most effective way of encouraging a young person to write is to read to them. Let’s face it, ask a writer what they spend much of their time doing and they will most likely tell you, it’s reading! It’s like priming a pump, planting seeds or fertilizing nutrient deprived soil to read to someone. Once they learn how to read for themselves, the chances are pretty good they will continue the habit.

It’s never too early to start. In our family, my parents read to us every day. They made time to read to us, take us to the library and fill our home with as many books as finances allowed. Two of the three of us have either written or illustrated published books and the one that two of us worked on together, became a national award-winning publication!

 Gift a young person tools of writing such as notebooks, pens and the humble diary.  Boys as well as girls keep diaries, they might write about different experiences but they DO write in their secret books. Many an interview with an author has centered around the scribbles and jotting of notes, tales and rants that filled the pages of notebooks and journals. Much of which lead to them publishing books.  Actually, you’ve be hard pressed to find an author who doesn’t have a stack of notebooks or journals filled with the next best-seller!

Create writing prompts for them, especially if they have exhibited a tendency towards enjoying writing already. Write down words or phrases on small pieces of papers, fold the papers and put them into a Prompt Jar.  Papers can be chosen at specific intervals such as each month or each week, or the young writer can feel free to pull one whenever the mood strikes. It doesn’t have to be rigid but like many of us who write, we appreciate the discipline of some sort of schedule.

Start or suggest starting a writer’s group in your church youth group, scout troop, at your school, in your neighborhood or even in your own family should you be lucky enough to have the numbers to pull that one together. Maybe your local library has one, I know ours has several for young people of all ages. Under the guidance of someone who can offer instruction as well as constructive criticism, young writers can hone their skills and perhaps find talents they weren’t even aware existed. In some of these groups there may even be the opportunity for them to branch out into competitions or contests. The group themselves may hold an event where the young writers can share their works with an audience in one fashion or another. And possibly, the group can actually publish a book!

Whew!  My head is swimming with ideas right now and the first is to become more involved with my local library. There may be something I can contribute, even if is only to share what they are doing via my social media outlets. Also, there was a project I wanted to do for Christmas gifting last year and of course I started it a little too late… That was to put together packages of journals, pens and writing prompts for several young persons in my family and amongst my friends. The added gift was to let them know that they if they wanted to turn those journals into books, I would help them self-publish. I have the time this year, especially if I begin right now.

So yes, this may be the first many of us are hearing about National Encourage a Young Writer Day but it doesn’t have to be the last. I read where people are being asked to use the hashtag #EncourageAYoungWriterDay throughout social media today.  If you can have a chat with or slip a note to a young writer in your world today, to encourage their interest in writing, do THAT! You never know how that small connection could make the biggest difference. After all, don’t the smallest connections like that sometimes turn out to make the biggest differences to you as a writer?