How to Write a Cookbook & Make It Sell on Amazon


Publishing your own cookbook and selling it on Amazon is amazingly simple. Amazon uses a self-publishing program called "Create Space" with easy-to-follow instructions that allows you to assign an ISBN code, create a cover and set your own list price. With their basic print-on-demand service, you will not have to make any upfront payments; costs are deducted from the sale price. For an additional $39 (as of May 2010), you can enroll in Amazon's expanded distribution program, making your book available not only on Amazon, but also to other book-selling outlets.

Things You'll Need

  • Recipes
  • Kitchen measuring tools
  • Digital camera
  • PDF file convertor
  • Make a list of the recipes you want to include in your cookbook. Test each recipe to ensure the dishes can be accomplished the way you have them written. Use proper measuring tools. Even if you have been making a particular recipe for 10 years, you must assume that a reader is completely unaware of how a recipe is created.

  • Display the finished recipe on an attractive serving platter and take a picture of it using the highest resolution possible. Amazon's Create Space recommends 300 dpi for best quality.

  • Create the recipe/book pages by typing the information as a word processing document first, insert the photos and save. When you have the entire cookbook completed in your word processor, convert the file to PDF format and save. Most word processors have a built-in PDF convertor; if yours does not, you can download one free from the Internet.

  • Visit Amazon's Create Space publishing website at and set up a member account. Select the link "Make your books available" and then click the link "Create One" under the "Books" heading. Read and sign the member services agreement to proceed.

  • Click the link "Do-it-yourself" and select "Set up book now." You will need to complete four steps providing the basic information about your book, including the assignment of an ISBN. After you have completed all the steps, review your information and confirm it is correct.

  • Upload the PDF version of your cookbook. If you don't already have a book cover prepared, you will be given the choice of creating an original one with Create Space or selecting a ready-made cover template at no charge.

  • Review your book to make sure everything is correct and ready to publish. Click the "Submit" link to upload your book to the review team at Create Space. Within 24 hours, you should receive an email confirming your submission or requesting further details. Upon submission approval, you will be mailed a proof copy of your book for a final review. After approving the proof copy, your book will be listed and available for sale within 15 business days.

Tips & Warnings

  • ISBN stands for "International Standard Book Number." It is a 10-digit number-identifying individual books worldwide.
  • If you can afford it, strongly consider using the editing services offered by Amazon and Create Space. Copy editors offer a valuable expertise that most writers do not possess.
  • Book publishing can be quite complicated. Make sure you read and understand everything you are signing.


  • Photo Credit meat thermometer image by Kimberly Reinick from
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