How to Self-Publish Your Church Cookbook

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Have you seen church cookbooks from other churches and wondered what would be involved in publishing your own? You’re in luck! This article will tell you everything you need to know to get started on publishing your church’s cookbook. You will be pleasantly surprised by how cost-effective and simple it can be-and by how much money you can make for much-needed programs.

The first step in publishing your church cookbook is to determine the initial budget. You want to be sure you establish a start-up budget that is not overly optimistic. It should be based on real numbers you obtain through research. You will be printing and binding the publication yourself, so you will need to purchase paper and binding equipment. There are many types of binding machines available. You can look into plastic comb, plastic coil, UniBind, VeloBind, thermal, ProClick, and wire binding varieties. While all of the different varieties offer their own benefits, the most common binding for church cookbooks are plastic coil, wire, or plastic comb binding. The machines and supplies vary in price based on their capabilities and capacities. Be sure to choose a machine that can handle the volume of pages you are planning to publish.

In addition to assembling the right equipment, you will need to organize a project team to help you organize the cookbook. Begin by choosing a chairperson or co-chairpersons to lead the project. Once you have established leadership for the whole project, the next step is to divide it into smaller sections or tasks and assign responsibilities to members of the team. You can divide responsibilities according to document sections or according to task. For example, you can ask people to assume responsibility for the entire chapter on main dishes or desserts or you can divide people by tasks such as typing, editing, creating the table of contents, or designing the cover. Some combination of both approaches may yield the best possible results.

Obviously, to have a cookbook, you will also need recipes. Place a call for recipes in the church newsletter and on the church’s website. Be sure to list the various recipe categories you seek. You will also want to publish any rules you may have for submissions, such as limits on the number of recipes per person or the number of submissions per person per category. You can save some time and frustration by asking contributors to email you the recipes. If they are emailed, you won’t have to spend time typing them. For some older or less technologically proficient parishioners, you should offer to type their handwritten recipes.

As you begin to sort and type the recipes, you should establish a style guide to maintain consistency across the sections of the publication. The more consistent your choices in font styles and sizes, margins, and the like, the more professional looking your cookbook will be.

Once you have assembled all of the recipes and sorted them into chapters or sections, you will want to make a table of contents. People love to see their names in print, so consider listing the contributor’s name next to the recipe’s title in the table of contents. Check and double-check spelling and formatting. Word processing programs will catch many mistakes, but not all of them. There is no substitute for a personal review by an expert speller and grammarian. Ask an English teacher from the congregation to lend his expert eye to the editing the cookbook.

Print the covers and pages and bind the cookbook using the binding equipment you selected. Advertise the cookbook on the church website and in the bulletin. Set up a table at the busiest church events to sell copies of the cookbook. Encourage parishioners to buy copies for themselves and as gifts for their friends and families.

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