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If you happen to be a design savvy blogger, you can look to inDesign, iBooks Author, or a similar desktop publishing software to create your own unique cookbook and extend your food blogging empire. However, not everyone has the means to support a pro software habit. Fortunately, plenty of easy-to-use, affordable tools are available online for DIYers.
You’d be hard-pressed to beat Cookbook Cafe if you plan to self-publish a digital cookbook. The service, which is provided by BakeSpace.com, is free (and easy) to use. You can upload videos, images, and recipes to create an ebook that’s searchable and interactive as well as an iPad app that works across most devices.
If you plan to sell the ebook on your food blog, Cookbook Cafe takes 50% of your earnings; however, that commission covers both your Apple appstore fee and your credit card transaction fee. It also covers all of the visibility that your cookbook will receive on BakeSpace.com.
If you want to create a real, honest-to-goodness cookbook that your followers can hold in their flour-coated hands, take a look at Blurb. Although this tool isn’t made specifically for chefs, it offers several options for creating gorgeous, full color, and reasonably priced cookbooks. You can take advantage of any of the available formats – from trade books (starting at US $2.49) to photo books (starting at US $14.99) to magazine-style layouts (starting at US $3.99) – and Blurb offers several cookbook templates to make designing a beautiful creation simple.
From the Blurb site, you can easily add your glossy, new cookbook to Amazon or any number of other booksellers. The pros at Blurb also provide insight on using Kickstarter as a marketing tool for your cookbook project.
While several sites like Issuu and Calameo allow users to publish and distribute online magazines, each assumes the design has already been undertaken, which can be tricky if you’re lacking design software. However, Lucidpress offers both free and premium online (and print) publishing with design software included.
If you’ve got a tribe of food bloggers, why not pull together and create a monthly magazine to offer your readership? It creates added value for all of the participating bloggers while providing opportunities for cross-promotion, and Lucidpress makes it easy to do. You can embed your magazine (or newsletter) on your blog or social media, or shoot it out to followers via email.
Each of the tools above provide opportunities to create and distribute cookbooks to your followers. The tools streamline the publication process, making it easy for you to take your blog empire to the next level.