Cookbook Publishing Facts: True or False?

Let’s get to the truth, shall we?

There’s so much information about how to publish a cookbook. It can be overwhelming! As a literary agent, I’m used to fielding a lot of questions from excited (and nervous) would-be cookbook authors. Talking to these authors is one of my favorite activities. There’s something so exciting about someone who wants to share their culinary traditions, explorations, and celebrations with the world.

To help guide you, we’ve developed several tools one of which is this article. This is a quick, down-and-dirty guide to what’s true and what’s false. Let’s dive into these cookbook publishing facts!


Crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter are frowned upon to raise money for custom publishing.


Crowdsourcing platforms can be great ways to mobilize the investment support you need to fund your cookbook publishing. The campaigns themselves require their own level of planning, which proves you can rise to the occasion.


If the cookbook author doesn’t earn back their advance in book sales, they’re responsible to pay the difference to their publisher.


Your advance is guaranteed money that doesn’t need to be repaid regardless of cookbook sales.


Publishers pay for author cookbook tours.


Cookbook authors are most often responsible for leading the coordination of publicity and marketing efforts. Rarely will they be sent on tour. Even rarer will they be informed of the publisher’s public relations and marketing budgets for their cookbook.


Whether you choose traditional or custom publishing, the author is responsible for marketing their cookbook.


No matter how you publish your cookbook, the more prepared a cookbook author is to market and sell it, the better it will do!


All cookbook sales are calculated when determining bestseller status.


Only certain cookbook seller accounts report to the bestseller lists.

Cookbook authors only custom publish if they aren’t picked up by a traditional publisher.


In fact, custom publishing can be a great choice for cookbook authors — they can keep a higher percentage of each cookbook sold and sell directly to their audience.


If you’re going to pursue custom publishing, you do not need an agent.


While you don’t need a traditional literary agent, having a publishing expert advise and guide your custom project is an often overlooked and essential role. And, yes, the Ekus Group does this.


If you choose custom publishing, you have to personally edit your manuscript, design your cover, print your cookbook, and store them yourself. There is no one to help guide you in this.


In custom publishing, you get to hire expert service providers to help in publishing your cookbook.

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