How to Structure a Best Selling Cookbook? [Cookbook Guide Part 4]

Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Jordan Alexo

Do you want to publish cookbooks with no generic content that would help customers and beat the competition odds? Are you bent on converting sales for your cookbook? Have you ever thought of how your outline goes a long way to influence your book content? Or you’ve even tried to create a good cookbook outline but failed at it?

If you answered yes to any(or all) of the questions, then congratulations! You’ve finally found the solution to your problems. Yes, right here in this post. I have actually been talking about cookbooks for a while now, and this is part 4 of the 5-article series. In previous posts, I talked about everything that has to do with designing a cookbook cover, analyzing your keywords for profitability, and so much more. Check them out here:

When it comes to creating book outlines, frequently publishers tend to get lazy and don’t give specific instructions as to what they want for their book. If you would be using professional, paid writers as I do- I use writers at, (Use coupon code JA5 to receive a 5% discount on your orders), then you must pay attention to your outline when giving instructions for your book. I mean, it’s not like they can read your mind or something. So don’t expect high-quality content if you can’t pay attention to your book outline and give detailed instructions.

Creating the top-notch outline doesn’t cost you much. It can only take a bit of your time. I believe that is nothing compared to the benefits of long term sales you’d enjoy because of this little task. Your main target is to figure out what your customers would love to see in your book. How do you know these? Follow through the steps below and make the best use of each one of them.

How to Structure a Best Selling Cookbook (Watch Video)


STEP 1) Go To Kindle Store

Go to Kindle Store on Amazon and search out your already chosen Keyword (mine is The Carnivore’s Diet). You get to see other books with that same Keyword – your competitors’ books.


Quick Tip: stay with competitors’ books that are by authors. How do you know the books written by the authors? They often have over 100 reviews.


STEP 2) Check the Preview of your Book You Want to Analyse

In the preview, you have the table of contents. From the table of contents, you get an overview of what your book should contain, how your ideas should be structured, areas of emphasis, and so on. It just helps you understand how to organize a cookbook and its layout in general.



Quick Tip: You should take down notes simultaneously in any text editor of your choice. This note is what would be forwarded to your writers as your description, so an introduction wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In your description(note), you can include the table of contents you want. Now, I am not saying you should have the same table of contents of the book (preview) you are analyzing. That would just make your book a cheap copy. The case study book is just there to guide you and give a good idea of what your book should include in each chapter.


Quick Tip: You should outline your table of contents and other things in your description in the bullet outline. Why is this important? When you have your description in bullets, the writers can easily attend to every one of your needs, and no aspect would be omitted.

In your cookbook outline, it’s important to be specific. If for instance, I am analyzing the table of contents of a competitor’s(author’s) book, and I see ‘meal plans’ included, I’d rather say ’21-days meal plan’. The number just gives it a better definition. You can also spell out the number of recipes you would like for each session, e.g., 15 recipes for breakfast, 9 for lunch, etc., so that your writers would know what to work with.

STEP 3) Analyze the Reviews of Your Choice Book

This is a good way to know what the customers liked about the book or what they were expecting and didn’t get. In short, you get to know public opinion as regards that book.


When I am trying to analyze reviews, I don’t really focus on the one-star review. Most of the time, their competitors leave those reviews. They are just trying to paint a nasty picture of that book to discourage buyers.

So when I want to know what people didn’t like about a book, I look through the two-star comments. It’s crucial for me that I see the loop holes-what customers expected but didn’t get or what they didn’t like. All of these are important because I want to provide a way better content for my prospective customers.

For instance, going through the reviews for this book, I am currently analyzing showed me that some customers would prefer more technical and sophisticated recipes. It’s a cook guide. That’s something my writers can work on my book, so I am going to include it in my cookbook outline.


When I am going over the reviews, I like to scale up. So, when I am done with the two-star reviews, I’d move to three. To four, then five. It’s like concentrating on making sure my own book I rid of the bad stuff, after which I can look for the good stuff that would enhance the quality of my cookbook content.

Quick Tip: in my years of experience of writing cookbooks, I noticed that people prefer cookbooks with backed up scientific facts for a recipe, the nutritional data, and all of that theoretical stuff. This obviously implies that your book should have all of these details.

STEP 4) Add all of Your Other Needs

Just in case you are wondering, “what extra needs are there?” You’d have to answer the question for yourself. The only thing I can do is guide you. There may be some things you have on your mind that you want in your book; they are in this category. Or maybe you came across an article that gave you a good idea for your book. That’s an extra.

Using myself as an example, for some time now, I have wondered what these ‘carnivore diet’ guys take for dessert. So that ‘ds something I can research and include in my book if I deem fit.

Quick Tip: you can add sections like ‘What I want in my cookbook’ and ‘What I don’t want’; this is important so you may get the right content in your book when it arrives. As a result, you will end up wasting less time asking your ghostwriters to edit your book.

Examples of things I outline in my ‘What I Don’t Want Section’ are:

  • I don’t want a copyright page. The reason I don’t like them adding this is that they add the words on that page to your total word count. The annoying part is that everything on that page is usually copied. Well, if this is your first book, then it’s not bad to include that page.
  • I don’t want generic/cliche introductions. Before I started using urban writers, the people I used to work with used stuff like “…thank you for downloading my book…” and some other introduction templates like that. The reason I don’t like all those things is that they make it appear like the book is cheap quality material. For one, I don’t want people thinking of my book like that.

In my book outline, I also like to add URLs that would serve as an example(s) for the writers. It could be a book on the Kindle Store, a YouTube video, etc.

STEP 5) Order Your Book Using My Coupon Code

Once you are done with your detailed book outline, save the file and send it to your team of writers if you’d be using urban writers(which I advise you too), use my coupon code JA5 to get a 5% discount on your order fee.

Quick Tip: Make sure you include a title and subtitle in your book outline. It’s also good you go over what you’ve written to make sure you are not missing out on anything. It’s safer to do that. Also, give clear instructions in your book outline.

ordering-my-cookbook-on-urban-writersWhen you are on the urban writers’ site, click on book services, choose a package. For starters, you choose the Rising Package to cut some initial costs.


For cookbooks, I keep the word count between 15.000 to 18.000 words. This provides about 80 to 100 pages of content, and you can add images to each recipe, etc. to increase the book thickness. Your content title should be your main Keyword, and content subtitle should sound enticing. I wouldn’t worry much about this, since later on, you may better adjust both. The author’s name should be your pen name. I prefer to upload my outline file and provide some basic instructions on “Outline and Requirements,” as you may see in my example below.


Afterward, add to the cart and proceed with the following steps. On the last page, you should add the coupon code to get a 5% discount on your order. Usually, they take about 20 to 30 days to write your cookbook. I will explain in my next post how you can then upload your book to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

Last Thoughts

It’s advisable you check the preview and reviews for 2-3 books so that you’d get the most of your research and analysis. Most importantly, don’t focus on the pain you feel for the 1-2 hours you’d use to do this task because the gain would be worth it!

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