SPS 059: The Ultimate Guide To Publishing A Cookbook That Sells (Growing Your Business As A Health Expert Using A Book) with JJ Virgin

Joining me today is JJ Virgin, who has been inducted into the Fitness Hall of Fame, television and media personality, and a four-time New York Times Best Selling Author. She has launched over 10 businesses and is a 2-time Inc 5000 Founder. She is recognized as an authority on transformational leadership, as a Top Ten Finalist for the John C. Maxwell Award, as well as winner of the Mindshare Summit Pinnacle award.

JJ’s first experience writing a book was with a screenwriter she was dating at the time. She had a connection with the publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul, who offered her several thousand dollars for the book. Instead, she decided to self-publish her book and sign a contract with her boyfriend that gave him 50% of everything she did for the rest of her life.

Her second book, “Six Weeks from Sleeveless to Sexy,” went out to lunch with a publisher, went to an editor at Simon and Shuster, took off her jacket, and the editor immediately wanted to buy her book! However, JJ says, “If you are going with a traditional publisher, that’s not what you want to do!”.

New call-to-action

When creating her cookbook, The Virgin Diet, another author published a cookbook with the same name six months earlier. The only reason JJ wasn’t able to get out ahead of the other author is that she was traditionally publishing, which takes a much longer process to get your book from idea to print.

She recommends self-publishing as you can easily create a second edition of your book with updates without a huge issue. Traditionally publishing costs a large amount of money to make changes to your finished first edition. JJ also gives advice about marketing and the creation of cookbooks that every cookbook author needs to know!

Listen in to find out how cookbooks are different from regular books, why a cookbook is harder, and what you should and shouldn’t do when you are writing a cookbook. Learn why you have to make sure your cookbook numbers are dialed in before you publish, and her tips on self-publishing cookbooks. 

Show Notes

  • [02:52] JJ’s first book was created while dating a screenwriter. 
  • [04:54] How JJ made the mistake of traditional publishing her second book.
  • [07:01] JJ’s process of frameworking her books as she doesn’t like to write.
  • [08:47] Pairing up cookbooks with a regular book. What’s the difference between writing a cookbook and a regular book?
  • [13:25] Why she can’t trademark her book name “The Virgin Diet.
  • [17:43] The best way you can find mistakes in your book is by doing a verbal readthrough out loud.
  • [19:21] Differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing a cookbook.
  • [22:57] Her tips and advice on creating a self-published cookbook.
  • [28:34] How her product line and her books evolved over time.
  • [32:07] The backend for her physical products  – what she is doing and how she is marketing her products.
  • [34:19] How JJ creates multiple income streams with her books and products.
  • [39:29] Building loyalty to the brand gives your company a raving fan base to buy your products. 
  • [43:48] The process of getting people on board with your brand.
  • [46:10] Advice for new authors that JJ wishes she knew before she published her first book.

Links and Resources

Darrell Darnell

Comments From The Community