Lindy Samery shares a few tips on how to create a published cookbook
Cookbooks are a peek into the heart and soul of food creators, with recipes echoing their talents and flair for flavour. We sat down with Lindy Samery, a local and well-known food editor to find out what goes into publishing a cookbook.
With 13 years of publishing experience at Human & Rousseau in Cape Town, Samery has a keen focus on food content and is responsible for spearheading the publishing of some of the most renowned local cookbook titles such as Fatima Sydow cooks.
With an abundance of knowledge in food publishing, Samery shares some golden nuggets of advice for those interested in publishing their very own cookbook.
How did you get into publishing cookbooks?
At my previous job, I would receive the cookbook review copies and the food on the pages always drew my attention. I instantly fell in love with the books, and I still have some of those books on my shelf today.
What three factors do you think make a best-selling cookbook?
1.Author: the author’s passion, perspective on food and credibility is one of the important aspects of a good cookbook.
- Content: needs to have tested recipes that work! I found that people don’t want to read long sentences, so the instructions need to be clear and short. An index is also very important.
3.Design: is important since it can attract a potential buyer in the bookshop
How long does it take to publish a cookbook from start to finish?
Between 8 months to one year.
Do you need to have writing experience to write a cookbook if it’s mostly recipes?
Ideally, yes. It works best when the person has some writing skills.
Tell us about the demands of writing, recipe-testing and promoting a new cookbook – what goes into it?
Planning and communication are crucial. Getting the content right, good teamwork, the overall relationship between myself and my authors, and sticking to deadlines are all important to the process. There needs to be a good author/publisher relationship and trust throughout the process.
What cookbook trends do you see taking shape in South Africa in 2022?
Plant-based otherwise known as vegan is a growing market, I find that our South Africans are prone to change, but they go back to what they know., traditional is always a winner. Home Food is going to be a trend and do not forget the Afrikaans nostalgic market.
What genres/categories of cookbooks will be popular for Christmas this year?
Nostalgic Home Food, Plant-based, Togetherness and some Children’s cookery titles. Be sure to look out for Mokgadi Itsweng’s book, Veggielicious, Hearty Home Food by Siphokazi Mdlankomo, Marinda se towerkombuis, by bestselling author Marinda Engelbrecht and a lovely baking book coming in February 2022.
What’s the best part of your job as a cookbook publisher?
The creative aspect to it.
What’s the worst part of your job as a cookbook publisher?
The stress of getting everything ready for printing.
What’s your view of the progress of transformation in local food media?
It is happening and I am excited to see what the next few years will bring. New voices, tastes and trends are important to remain in touch with the cookbook market.