Creating your own custom cookbook is one big step easier when you have a database of recipes on hand, as Karina Allrich realized when she created her Gluten-Free Goddess cookbook from her popular blog. Featuring 45 of her readers’ favorite recipes, the result is a polished, professional-quality book she’s using to help promote a seriously delicious gluten-free lifestyle (and make sales). We took a moment to speak to Karina about her process (and learned she has more ebooks on the way—yum).
1. Can you share a little bit of your background story?
2. What did you think a book could do for your brand?
I never think about "the brand." I didn't plan on becoming a brand, or a persona. I had no strategy. I just did my own thing. I called my blog Gluten-Free Goddess because I had written a sweet little paperback cookbook years ago (now out of print) called Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess.
What I did think about was how publishing was changing. And how I was buying fewer and fewer mainstream cookbooks, turning, instead, to food blogs—and the Internet—for inspiration. When I received an iPad for Christmas, I started using it in the kitchen immediately. I loved the instant access to all my Gluten-Free Goddess recipes and seeing them with the original photography. I thought readers might feel the same way.
I have a lot of content on GFG—over 400-something recipes. So I started pulling together an ebook cookbook of my personal favorites and the most popular recipes on the blog (judging by page views and ongoing views and a few of our family favorites). I ended up with a collection of 45 recipes.
3. What tips would you give to someone who has never made a cookbook before about making their book?
Take the time to create big, beautiful photographs. Photography makes a cookbook more appealing. Browse food blogs to familiarize yourself with the various styles of food photography. Light the food with soft, natural light. Use a decent digital camera. Learn how to edit photographs, and adjust contrast and color. Save your images in 300 DPI.
4. So while we’re speaking of food photography, can you share a little about your background and food photography you admire?
I studied photography in art school, and also worked as a photo assistant on studio shoots in Los Angeles and New England. I also paint. So visual creativity is important to me. I have worked to develop my own style in food photography. I like a light, casual mood. Not too fussy. We actually eat the food I make for the blog.
5. Did anything surprise you about our book-making tools?
Blurb's book-making program (BookSmart) makes it so easy to create and edit a cookbook. I was surprised at how clean and simple the process was.
6. How are you using your cookbook?
The Gluten-Free Goddess ebook is a complement to the blog. I see it as a take-away—something more intimate and manageable than the interactive live blog with all its posts, comments, and social media. It's a piece of the blog. A menu of favorites. A taste.
7. What has the response been?
Very strong. Very encouraging.
8. What do you have coming up? What's the future of Gluten Free Goddess?
I hope to create more ebook cookbooks with a theme, or particular slant. It might be a seasonal approach, or a focus, such as cookie recipes, or muffins and scones. There are endless possibilities as I continue developing recipes.