Fall is upon us. And this time of year always means lots of delicious food! From Halloween sweets to Thanksgiving feasts to that fruitcake that…well fruitcake is just kind of a thing that’s always there, isn’t it?
One of the best parts of the holidays will be sharing culinary delights with our loved ones. In that spirit, Lulu is rolling out a new contest today – Cook up a Book with our Lulu Cookbook Contest!
We’re looking for everyone’s favorite recipes so we can create a user-created cookbook! Share your favorite entrée, most tempting dessert, or a finger-licking appetizer for a chance to be included in the cookbook we’re making!
The recipe collection is slated to include a handful of recipes from Lulu employees, and some from our favorite cookbooks already on Lulu. And a variety of cookbooks submitted by you!
If you’ve published a book before and have a recipe you think might be perfect for our cookbook, I bet you’re thinking “Paul, this sounds awesome. But how do I submit? All the cookbooks I have at home are formatted beautifully, but that’s not easy to do!”
If that’s what you’re thinking, or even if you’re just realizing that now, you’re absolutely right. Open up a cookbook and you’ll find some of the most complex interior formattings of any book type out there. Using columns, listing ingredients and instructions in a coherent order, an image of the dish and maybe even a picture or two highlighting the instructions; all of these elements greatly increases the difficulty of creating and formatting a cookbook.
Don’t sweat it though. We’re making the process a little bit simpler for you.
Some years back we had a tool that worked a lot like our photobook and calendar wizards, allowing you to operate from within a template to create a cookbook. That tool worked but left a lot to be desired. Namely, the versatility and control you expect when self-publishing.
We’re not bringing back that tool; rather we’re taking advantage of cloud-based sharing through Google Docs to provide templates anyone with Internet access can use online or download and work with at their leisure.
Let’s have a quick run through of the template to help make sure everyone can easily submit their recipes to our contest. And don’t forget—these templates are designed to layout cookbooks, so you can easily use them to make your very own cookbook and print it with Lulu!
NOTE: We offer a few different sizes templates for our users to create a variety of cookbooks. For the contest, feel free to use any of the templates. We’ll resize everything to match our cookbook.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s dive into the template.
First, head over to our cookbooks page – http://cookbooks.lulu.com/ – and either download the bundle or open the template in Google Docs. I’m going to review the MS Word file but the basic steps for adding content is the same no matter what tool you use.
You will notice we only listed two sizes, US Letter 8.5 x 11 and US Trade 6 x 9. This is because these sizes both work well for full color and are our most common sizes. While I encourage our cookbook creators to stick to these sizes, you can edit the Word or PDF files to a new size if you’d like. Just remember that these are simply templates to guide you.
The template is a basic two-page file. Here’s the first page of the template, viewed in MS Word:
You’ll see we’ve started with a placeholder image. In Word, you can right-click an image and there is a drop-down option labeled “Change Picture.” Use this command to add your own image of your dish here.
If you’ve got some Photoshop skills, it might be cool to make a collage with two or three images, but one high-resolution picture will suffice. With a cookbook, it’s always important to show readers what the final product will look like. Plus, a nice shot of the dish will entice them to get cooking!
Be sure the image is high resolution at 300dpi (dots per inch). Lower resolutions may not print well. A blurry picture of your soufflé is a bummer. If you’re using a smartphone, be sure when you transfer the image over to your computer you send it at maximum or original size.
Okay, you got that picture of your finished product on the page. Next step is to add the NAME, Prep Time, and Servings. Basic info that all recipes tend to include at the start. Be honest with these figures. Don’t list that a recipe only takes 20 minutes if it actually takes 2 hours.
For this text, you’ll need to replace the existing text in the appropriate places. We’ve included some text like “h” and “m” for the time and “servings” for the serving info, but your welcome to replace these as it fits your dish.
A good example is a bread recipe. Bread takes a lot of time to prep, and less time to cook. So you might change the time to “3h Prep / 1h Cook” or something similar. I can’t say enough how important it is to keep this as simple as possible and maintain the conventions we’ve laid out.
The last piece on the first page is the Description. Get creative here. Tell a little story about your dish. Where did it come from? Grandma’s secret Apple Pie filling? Chicken breading with twelve herbs and spices? Did you stumble across the most magical combination of ingredients one could ever imagine? Make this section unique.
Okay, on to page two.
We kept this really simple. Replace the ingredients list items with your recipe’s ingredients. If your recipe has fewer ingredients, just delete the extra list items. If you’ve got more, keep adding them. The columns will expand as you add more text.
The directions work the same. We’ve created a basic numbered list. If you replace existing [Direction text] with a step in creating your recipe, then click the Enter/Return key on your keyboard, a new item in the list will be added.
This is important to note: If you click Enter/Return twice, you’ll exit the list and lose the automatic numbering. And this section, unlike the ingredients, is not set up as a two-column list, so the instructions will run across the page.
While it’s generally great if you can fit all the ingredients and instructions on the same page, I know that’s not always possible. The template will adapt, adding more rows for ingredients and instructions as necessary, and pushing onto an additional page if need be.
Voila! You’ve got a recipe ready for submission! Save it with a unique name (please don’t submit a file or Google Doc titled “lulu_trade_interior_cookbook_template”, we’ll get confused).
That’s basically it though! Just replace the text and placeholder image with your recipe and a nice shot of your finished product, then send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter our Recipe Contest!
And if you’ve got a lot of recipes, you can always reuse the template to make an entire cookbook of your favorite dishes. In fact, please do. We love to see cookbooks on Lulu because we love to eat good food! Share your inspired dishes, give the cook in your family a book of their recipes for the holidays, or just make a nice keepsake book full of your favorite foods.
Cook up something fun this year with a custom-made cookbook from Lulu!
Paul is the Technical Writer at Lulu, responsible for all the words you see on our site (misspellings included). He also manages the community site – http://connect.lulu.com/en/ – and in his free time, he’s an avid reader and short story writer.