Secrets to Writing a Cookbook – by Jenn McKinlay…

on Career Authors:

First, a little backstory. I started writing the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries thirteen years ago—beginning with Sprinkle with Murder and on through Strawberried Alive and now am currently writing the fifteenth volume in the series Sugar Plum Poisoned with the sixteenth on deck. To be perfectly honest, I thought this series with cupcakes as a hook was going to be done in three books, maybe five if I got really lucky. It never occurred to me that I’d be penning them into the double digits.

And they’re not just cozy mysteries. Each book contains at least four cupcake recipes—recipes I create—a process which usually entails me thinking about what I want to eat while writing and putting whatever that is in the book as I go. For example, on a particularly tough writing day, I decided a Mojito Cupcake would hit the spot—and then had to double back to my kitchen to figure out the recipe particulars after the manuscript was finished. I average four recipes per book, so that’s a lot of cupcakes.

To my surprise, about seven years ago, readers started asking for a cookbook with just the recipes in it. I had no idea how to go about such an endeavor so I put it aside for when I had more time. As you can imagine with three mysteries and one women’s fiction due every year, time is a precious commodity in my world.

Still, the idea wouldn’t go away, so I urged my agent to ask my editor about the feasibility of self-publishing a cupcake cookbook. The publisher thought about it and thought about it, which I believe was them taking a beat to determine who really owns the copyright on the recipes and did they want to do anything with them first.

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