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If you’re curious about Self Publishing a Cookbook, Chelsea Cole is telling her experience and shares her process for how to self publish, how to design a cookbook, and more! Chelsea was inspired to create her first cookbook and shares about how the experience changed her blog and opened many doors for her and her blog!

A photo of Chelsea Cole with the text on the photo "Chelsea Cole of a Duck's Oven." on the Chopped Podcast.

About Chelsea

Chelsea’s site is called A Duck’s Oven, a play on the term Dutch Oven. She decided to share her journey of weight loss through cooking at home and started her site to encourage others to do the same.

She also traveled and lived internationally which had a huge impact on her diet as well. As a result of her time in South Africa, she learned to enjoy international foods and also to create her favorite home-based foods. This experience has encouraged her to want to travel more.

Chelsea started studying early education and brain development. She was offered a job as a teacher and as a result was able to keep up her blog. Then they moved to Portland she decided to work in a restaurant. She learned that just because she loved food didn’t mean she loved work at a restaurant. Her blog suffered during this time because of the exhausting nature of the work and the long hours.

Chelsea has explored several different fields of work and she’s settled on and found enjoyment as a marketing manager for a local restaurant. Chelsea loves food marketing because it keeps her up-to-date in both food and marketing which helps her with her blog in addition to her work.

Self Publishing a Cookbook

Chelseas says most food bloggers have the dream of writing a cookbook. In fact, she describes food blogs as a sort of digital cookbook. To have a physical collection of our work in the form of a cookbook is so appealing. Chelsea dreamed about this for years.

She reached out to food blogger, Melissa, of the site Well-Fed who published her own cookbooks that have been hugely successful. Chelsea said Melissa responded and broke down why she chose to self publish and how she went about it.

Chelsea described how she loves to get into the weeds and figure things out so she spent time better understanding self publishing while waiting for the right cookbook idea to come her way. She got into Sous Vide cooking and decided it was the topic for her cookbook.

Testing the Topic

Once she found the topic, she was inspired to write a cookbook. She describes how it uses an immersion circulator and Chelsea discovered there were very few resources to learn more about this style of cooking.

Her first step was to begin blogging about Sous Video. She had been blogging for around 8 years at that time but she wasn’t known for Sous Vide so she wasn’t sure how her audience would respond to it. So, she published a post with a recipe and it soon became the third highest traffic driver to her site.

It’s another example of how keyword research is important but it’s not the only way to deliver traffic for your site.

Chelsea says: Your food blog should ultimately be about what you’re most passionate about it and it’s not always going to be what’s popular.

Chelsea describes herself as very confident on Instagram so she used that platform as another testing ground for her cookbook’s recipe ideas.

Writing the Cookbook

She spent time researching what recipes would be good for her cookbook. And she was in a FB group for Sous Vide and asked if anyone would be interested in being recipe testers and she received a lot of responses.

This process opened her eyes to writing more clear instructions for her recipe.

Chelsea wasn’t looking for a certain number of recipes for her books, she simply wanted to include the best of the best.

It took about 6 months to write the book which included about 50 recipes.

Self-Imposed Deadline

Chelsea had a publish date in mind because of Black Friday. She noticed Sous Vide was becoming more popular and she wanted her cookbook ready by Black Friday weekend.

Having a deadline helps SO MUCH!

For the design, she has a friend who is a graphic designer design the cover and beginning content. For the rest of the book, she created a template that Chelsea just filled in and this process saved her a lot of money.

Chelsea hired someone to edit recipes and that was affordable. She also hired someone to do the index edit the copy. All of that was pretty affordable. And she found all of these people through FB groups.

She polled her audience and they all wanted a physical book so that is why she went with Amazon publishing because they do print on demand.

Marketing a Cookbook

When she was officially in the process of cookbook she created a lead magnet on her blog so she would have people interested when the book launched. She also spent time on social creating a following related to the cookbook topic.

A local kitchen goods store was doing open houses and featuring Sous Vides and Chelsea reached out to them. As a result they had her to do book signing session there. She’s also had two TV appearances since publishing the book as well.

She also created an Amazon shop recommending her favorite equipment related to her style of cooking. She’s been able to refer people to those resources as a result.

When she announced her book in her email, she had a “how you can support me section.” She asked her readers to buy her book, but also to go to Amazon and search for her book. That encourages Amazon to recommend her book.

Amazon is like its own search engine in that way. Within a week her book was on page one. You can do ads on Amazon. So if someone searches for a certain term, her cookbook displays on the top.

Opening Doors

The doors have opened as a result of having her book. She’s been able to be on TV as a result and go on podcasts and speak at events. All of these opportunities have come because of her book.

SEO talks about EATS – Expertise, Authority and Trust and having a well-researched book over such a specific topic has give her lots of EATs for her site as well.

Next Steps

Chelsea learned a lot throughout this process of self publishing a cookbook so she created a guide to help other food bloggers interested in doing the same. Click on the link to her site below where you can find the guide.

She’s also been experimenting with more Sous Vide recipes and she’s hoping for more TV appearances soon too.

Show Notes

Here are specific notes related to self-publishing a cookbook.

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