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While sales of books overall have decreased in recent years, sales of cookbooks continue to increase. What is the appeal of cookbooks? And, more importantly, how can you harness that appeal to sell your fundraising cookbook?

1. Motives.

Consider why people will want to buy your cookbook. Will they purchase it to support a worthy cause? Or are they buying it for the recipes—maybe even just one prized recipe? Everything about your cookbook—from the design to the recipes and even the marketing—should reassure your customers that they are getting what they expect. For instance, a cookbook whose proceeds are raising funds for a special project or person should include a Personal Page describing the project and how it will benefit the project/person. If creating a DIY Custom Cover specific to your project will help cookbook sales, then it’s worth the extra cost. Above all, make your cookbook personal and unique—that’s why people are buying it. There are thousands of cookbooks out there, but there’s only one like yours. Make it special.

2. Methods.

The motives behind a cookbook purchase determine the methods by which it is most successfully sold. Does your cookbook contain a recipe from a local celebrity? Use local media to advertise your cookbook in “Community Spotlights.” Set up a booth at a busy shopping center and ask the local celebrity to attend the sale. If your cookbook benefits a worthy cause or someone in need, social media such as Facebook can spread the news fast. Does your cookbook feature recipes using fresh, local produce? Set up a booth at your local Farmer’s Market and give away samples from some of the recipes in your book. Capitalize on the unique-ness of your cookbook and think about the best ways to make it available to those most likely to purchase it. See our Marketing Tips for more ideas.

3. Madness.

People are crazy about cookbooks! The average household owns 15 cookbooks. Three out of ten women and one out of ten men collect them.* Cookbooks, especially personalized community cookbooks, are treasured mementos passed down through generations. Sure, most of us print out recipes from the internet, but we don’t treasure those sheets of paper like our grandmother’s cookbook. Make your cookbook special enough to be someone’s future treasure. Build it…and they will come!

The bottom line is that it’s worth it to put some thought into your cookbook and its sale. Each step in the process is important to your cookbook’s ultimate success.

*John Kremer, Using Statistics to Plan New Editorial, 2011