Wednesday 7 May 2014

Publishing your own Recipe Book

Last weekend, my very special Mother in Law celebrated a milestone Birthday. One of the gifts we gave to her as a family, was a book we put together filled with all her recipes. Recipes that were from her own recipe journal (pictured below). Some had been passed down from her mother, and others that had been family favourites enjoyed and loved by my husband and his siblings as they grew up. 

Using a company called Blurb, we were able to self publish our own cookbook.
The final product- Under the Mulberry Tree- was paperback with just over 60 recipes and about 100 pages long. Named after the Mulberry Tree that was planted 35 years ago in the family back yard. It has been pruned over the years to become an outdoor dining room and a venue for many, many family meals, celebrations and good times. 

Like other recipe books, it was divided into the different chapters and featured lots of photos of both family and of special pieces from around the house like linen, cutlery, tableware, cookbook collection, etc. Each family raided their own photo collection and found photos that were all taken at home and around the table - so keeping in with the food theme. Photos that went as far back as to when the sibblings were small children, right up until now, to include the entire extended family. On each page and underneath recipes were quotes from every family member telling their favourite food memory.

Using Blurb-

I can highly recommend using Blurb as a great way of publishing your own book, ebook, magazine, etc.

In summary, there are three main options for publishing a book using Blurb. First, is using their own program called Booksmart which is available to download straight from their website. Booksmart has simple templates and has a basic range of fonts and backgrounds which can be used. Perfect for the beginner.

The next two options are for those who are competant in using InDesign or LightRoom. Where you download the plugins and once you have created your masterpiece, you transfer it back to Blurb and they organise for it to be printed. The advantage of these two options is that you have far more creative power and can really do whatever you want.

I found Blurb reasonably good to deal with. Booksmart is quite straight forward and simple to use once you have a play around. I did find the templates and backgrounds provided a bit boring and basic, but was able to work with what it offered. Importing photo files were also difficult (especially as I had a lot I wanted to use) and I felt it wasn't as easy to import photos compared to other programs I have used in the past. I was very happy with the final product though. We paid a bit extra and had the books printed on premium grade paper. We also had the choice of hardcover but decided paperback was more practical for us all to use. I did have a few issues uploading the file (which was not Blurb's fault but rather we have a very lazy internet line here!!!), and as Blurb is based in the States, I did have to wait a while for customer service to reply. This book cost us approximately $60 per copy (with postage) to make and took about 7-10 days to receive once ordered. It did require lots of blood, sweat and tears in editing photos (especially the very old ones) and deciding on layout, typing out recipes and the final edit.

I am very keen to now put all my recipes together and make my own cookbook. Another project, but a lovely keepsake to have and good to have all my favourite everyday recipes in one book!!!

Blurb also have an online bookstore, so if you want, you can list your book for sale (after you decide on the price) and sell it publicly through their site- how great is that???? A wonderful way to launch your own writing career!!!!

This book was written as a tribute to my Mother in Law, Catriona,  as a way of acknowledging her wonderful cooking and commitment to providing so many meals, each cooked with so much love over the years for her growing family. It is a book we will all cherish and use, and a lovely reminder of many good times shared together, under the mulberry tree.

If you would like your own family recipes made into a cookbook, but don't feel confident using the Blurb software, I am now offering a service, where for a fee,  I can do all the hard work for you!
For enquiries, please email me at kylie(dot)pickett(at)hotmail(dot)com
I also design photo books of family, children, travel, special occassions as well.


  1. Hi Kylie
    This is a fantastic idea and it looks so professional. I would love to publish a book with my vignettes. What a wonderful present to give.

  2. Yvette, you should definitely do that- they have one especially for instagram too! xxx

  3. Kyles, I didn't want this post to end! The images are so beautiful and I am already inspired to make Catriona's relish to accompany my home made sausage rolls! I know that you have put many many many hours into this project, and it has certainly paid off...I bet Catriona was overwhelmed with this gorgeous gift! Can't wait to view your copy! You should be very proud xx

    1. Thanks so much Claire Bear for your very kind words. Catriona's Relish would definitely go perfectly with your sausage rolls….enjoy! xxx


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