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Self-publishing a cookbook

Creating a cookery book of all those recipes, cut outs and ideas is a handy way to bring them all together. When self-publishing a cookbook, no matter if it’s a gift or a commercial project, it’s is an easier task than you might think…

Elizabeth Purcell got in contact needing advice on self-publishing a cookbook. After assisting her with her food-filled book, Kitty’s Kitchen, we thought we’d find out more about the reason behind the project.

self-publishing a cookbook: cover illustration

 Self-publishing A Cookbook: The Author

 Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I joined the RAF in September 1991 as a logistics officer and have been serving full time ever since. I have had many wonderful experiences during my career, all challenging, but the icing on the cake was the arrival of my daughter, Kitty, in March 2008. She is fantastic – and challenging at times!

 What was the purpose of self-publishing a cookbook?

My mother gave me a book in which to write recipes for Christmas around the mid 1990s. Over the years I have become a passionate cook, which has led to me being quite bold in my adjustments to recipes.

Kitty loves to make cakes and we always have great fun in the kitchen together (usually accompanied by loud music of her choosing). She has most certainly got the cooking bug. I therefore wanted to capture some magical recipes for her, including stories of where each recipe came from.

 Self-publishing A Cookbook: The Book Itself

self-publishing a cookbook: the end book

“It is so satisfying to see the final book.”

 What elements of the project were important to get right?

I am less interested in accuracy of weights and ingredients so the purpose of the book was to encourage Kitty to use her judgement when cooking. I feel instinct is the critical part to making a tasty dish and I hope this comes across to her.

 Tell us a little about the recipes inside the book. How did you decide on which ones went in and how long did it take you to write?

A recipe has to be magical to make it into my hand-written notebook. All of these special recipes have been included in Kitty’s Kitchen. I devoted about an hour each Sunday evening to typing them up, which took about six months. That was the easy bit. Taking the book to the next step was the difficult bit. This was because I had to decide on whether I should include photos. I didn’t in the end.

I had to find a company to help (my goodness TJ INK have been patient with me!) and I knew I just had to get on with it. With moving house and the family to Belgium, the process took a couple of years.

 Self-publishing A Cookbook: The Experience

 How did you find the TJ INK experience? Are you happy with the end result?

Kitty’s Kitchen is phenomenal and I just can’t stop looking at it. It is so satisfying to see the final book. TJ INK are a brilliant team – friendly, approachable, experts in the field and, as I’ve already said, very patient. The team therefore get my strongest recommendation.

 What advice would you give to people who are also looking to produce a book as a gift?

Do it! I found it a seminal experience – one that everyone should have in their life. I am now driving my husband and Kitty bananas by planning my next book… and yes I will use TJ INK again.


Have you been thinking of writing a recipe book? Or, maybe you want to self-publish a book as a gift? If you’d like to find out more, reach out to us on our Contact Page and we’ll help you achieve this goal.