Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Writing a Cookbook Part 4: Sign that contract!

I would like to apologize for being so late with part four of my ‘Writing a Cookbook’ series, but I have been very busy… writing the cookbook! Will you forgive me? Thank you XXXXX

In this post I wanted to talk about the contract that you will sign with a publisher. The publisher will send you the draft of your contract: read it well, every page, since it is possible that you will have to sign every page!

Remember, this is only a draft, if there is anything that you would like to change, talk about it with your publisher, and if there is something that you don’t understand don’t be afraid to ask: sometimes the terminology can be a little ‘obscure’. If you have friends in the book business, ask them for their advice. Most first time authors have unrealistic expectations from a contract, especially in regards to royalties and rights. If you are famous, a cooking star, your lawyer or agent will check everything for you, but if you are not… well, you can always use a literary agent to help you with this step (actually, a literary agent can also help you finding a publisher in the first place) but remember that agents with take a percentage from your royalties.

Ask your publisher how many copies they are hoping to print, and if they are planning to export. Ask for a realistic picture. Then ask if you can have an advance on royalties, if you need it to work on the book (but don’t expect too much… unless you are a chef star, that is!).

Also set a realistic date for delivering the work: a good author respects deadlines. How long does it take you to write the book? And to supply the images? It is likely that you will be asked to supply the manuscript first, and then the images shortly after. Then you will also agree to check the proofs and make the necessary changes required by the editor and the designer.

For me? It takes me at least one year to make a book, but often by the time I am looking at the contract I have already started writing. English is my second language so I need to take time, not like blogging, for a manuscript I need to present something readable. It is a good idea to ask someone to read it at least once before sending it to the publisher.

But the thing that takes the longest is planning the recipes. Next post will be about writing.

Ciao for now!


  1. Of course your forgiven.

    I've enjoyed reading your entries on Writing a Cookbook.

    Warmest of wishes as always.

  2. How's the book going actually? Will you be done before Xmas? I booked! Will be back on 7th Dec, hope to visit!

  3. Great, see you then Sasa ! The book... actually we are shooting this month, I'll guess it will be ready for May. I did said one year neeee! :-)

  4. Ciao Alessandra, piacere di conoscerti. Che bello dev'essere l'avventura di scrivere un libro di cucina avendo già firmato un contratto. Io ho due libri nel cassetto e molta paura a buttarmi O.o Avrei sicuramente bisogno di qualche tuo consiglio! Intanto ti faccio un grande in bocca al lupo e buon lavoro!


  5. Ciao Francesca, ma capisci l'inglese? Se vuoi ti do qualche consiglio in italiano :-)


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