Olivia Hohl – Digital and Social Media Emphasis
Home Cooking for Everyone: Delicious Recipes for All Skill Levels
My cookbook project targets anyone who wants to improve their cooking abilities and will be available in physical and digital forms. It will feature a collection of easy-to-follow, budget-friendly, and delicious recipes for all skill levels.
The project also encompasses the creation of a paid Facebook ad. This is to increase awareness about the cooking project and see if I can get some interest in the book. I will report on the effects of the advertisement.
The ultimate goal of this project is to provide a resource for anyone who wants to become a better cook and develop happy and sustainable cooking habits. I hope to sell 15 books and provide anyone looking for a resource to improve their cooking abilities, have home recipes for life, and share their creations with friends, family, and loved ones.
The book was originally meant for college students. I wanted to make a cookbook that made it easier for me to get through college. As I started collecting recipes that I often use, I noticed that some of them were too difficult for the average college student. I have had a passion for food since I was young and so I’m so used to being in the kitchen and working on my skills. As I started looking around, I wasn’t the average cooking level of my peers. I saw dinners that were creative, to say the least, and truly I get it. Your first semester you go to the store and grab mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and maybe a tub of ice cream and call it good. As a student you aren’t thinking of cooking elegant meals, you are cooking whatever is easy, cheap, and fast. This is when I changed my mindset from college to households and homemade meals.
My meals are truly for everyone, they are affordable and easy with some in there that are more difficult and take time. These meals can be tailored from 1 person to a whole family. There are 7 sections that give a wide variety of flavors and difficulty. From Breakfast to Soups, American, Italian, Mexican, Asian, and of course, Dessert. There is something here for everyone.
I wanted the book to also showcase meals through photography. By setting up a little shotbox with backgrounds, lighting, and my camera, I was able to capture some amazing pictures of the food. I haven’t had too much experience with food photography before, but I really enjoyed taking photos of my food and hearing people I show “wow, that looks amazing” or “my mouth is watering right now looking at that” That is my ultimate goal is to make my food look so enticing that people want to buy my book.
The next step was my design. After all, the recipes were in the book and all the photography was edited and saved it was time to design. Now I fully admit that I fell into the trap of being a beginning designer and tried doing curved lines that were just too busy and crowded. After getting critiques from a mentor I found I needed to restart my whole design. I needed something that looks modern, fun, yet simple. I went with a color palette of two colors. Orange ( my favorite color ) and a baby blue. I also played around with patterns and fell in love with this geometric, light yellow/goal pattern that I added to the design. It is simple enough not to take over, yet is a good accent to the recipes. Overall I love my design of the book and think it goes well with the theme and feel I’m trying to convey.
Now I knew that this project was going to be more than just a book. I knew that I wanted to actually sell this book and try to market it to the event attendees. This posed a big question, how am I going to get my cookbook printed and how much am I going to charge? This put me into a spiral of research trying to figure out where is the best place to print that will keep my margins low so I don’t have to charge too much. With this, I decided to make one book hardcover and spurge to make sure it came in time for the event. As I waited for my book I figured out the only way I can make a profit and keep costs low is by making it a magazine. Even though it’s not as “nice” as I would want with a hard cover I found I can sell my book for $20 and sell an e-book for $5. If someone wants a hardcover I would sell it to them for the cost, but that’s about $75.
All right, so here I am with books ready, and a price figured out, but no way of getting their information. I came up with the idea of creating an Etsy shop. I can sell people my cookbook and it will ship right to their homes. No need for me to even touch the book because it will all be full-filled online. I also have a listing for my e-book. So if someone buys the e-book I will send them an email with all the different variations of a pdf so they will always be able to access the book.
Lastly, I am a marketer, I love marketing, and I now need to market my cookbook so people will want to buy my book and I can at least break even. So how am I marketing my book?
- Senior Showcase event. What better way for people to buy my book than an event showcasing it? I will be able to pitch my book through posters, flyers, and my personal favorite treats. I will be serving my famous double chocolate chip cookies on a napkin that has the recipe printed on the napkin. They get to taste one of my desserts right then and there and make it at home whenever they want. When they are sold on buying the book I have a flyer in the napkin with my QR code to go straight to my Etsy shop.
- Spreading the word: We all know word of mouth is an impactful marketing strategy. Throughout my whole experience of this project, I have shared my wins and my failures with my community on social media. I’m spreading the word the best I can through my network and growing word of mouth so when it’s time I can say “my book is finally ready, come and get one” and my friends and family will.
- Etsy ads: Etsy is a powerful e-commerce tool for creators. You know if you want to get something different or customized you go to Etsy. But what some people don’t know is they have ads that target people and searches. You can pay a little bit and get your listing shown to a target audience.
In the end, I am incredibly proud of myself for creating something in my hands that I know I will use for the rest of my life. This cookbook is more than a project, it’s a collection of a very important part of my life, which is in the kitchen. All of my hard work and all of my love is put into this book and I hope that you enjoy it!
Click here to learn more and happy cooking!
Photography & Editing: 11
Total Hours: 81
The goals and outcomes of my project were fulfilled in so many ways but lacked in one. In my project, I said I would run a Facebook ad, but that didn’t happen. I ran an Etsy ad, but that is not the same. I found that creating this book was bigger than I could’ve ever imagined. I set a very high bar for myself and was able to complete 81 recipes and over 125 pages in under 12 weeks. I am so proud of myself that I set a high goal and I was able to achieve my project. Even though I might have lost in a Facebook ad, I have a product I can now market, improve, and create. business for. The ads, campaigns, and blogs will now be coming and I am determined to sell my book the best I can moving forward.