Inside an Author's Cookbook Advance and Expenses

One of the benefits of being a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals is the insider information I get in the monthly teleforum for the Editors, Publishers and Writers section.

Recently a first-time cookbook author provided ┬áreal numbers about her experience. That’s rare.

While I can’t direct you to the presentation, I can give you a few nuggets that lift the veil on what happens in a food writer’s first book deal and in subsequent marketing of that book.

First, let’s look at the costs to produce the cookbook. The publisher paid the author a $15,000 advance. From that she:

  • paid a photographer $7,000
  • spent $7,000 on food ingredients
  • spent $1,000 on props and incidentals.

What was left for her? Do the math. Nada.

Her book came out in Fall 2009. The lone publicist at her publishing company handled the [Read more…]