Sunday, July 24, 2011

25 Delicious Meals in Under 30 Minutes

Author: Megan Sara Jones
Genre: Non-Fiction Cookbook
How long it's been on sale: March 29th, 2011
Current price: $.99
Marketing: Facebook, Kindle Writers Cafe, Contact list
Total sold so far: 17
Link to book on Amazon: 25 Delicious Meals in Under 30 Minutes

Product Description:

Non Fiction by Megan Sara Jones. A little book of 25 delicious recipes that are easily prepared in 30 minutes or less. Great meals in no time at all, using ingredients that are readily available.Good ideas for busy people.

First 300 Words:

This is a collection of 25 recipes which are easily prepared in 30 minutes or less. They are all delicious as well as being ready in no time!

All of them serve four and all of them can be made using ingredients that are readily available.

Some of them require preparation beforehand and I have made a note of this. This can either be done before you leave for work or prepared the night before and refrigerated.

I have compiled these because whilst I like to cook, sometimes I just don't have the time or inclination to stand in the kitchen!

Vicki's Comments: I think the cover design is holding this book back. The black doesn't say "Cookbook" at all to me, and most of the time cook book covers are bright and cheery. I'd go looking at different cookbook covers to get some ideas. Sometimes they tile different photos too, so you can get more ideas of what is inside the book.

I've never done this, but here are two covers for cookbooks that I found appealing. Maybe they will give some inspiration.

The description could be better too. I would like to know at least some of the names of the recipes in the book. In fact, I downloaded the sample just to see what kinds of things I would get and the first recipe sounded like something my kids would really love, and it's such a quick and easy thing. I might put the first recipe in the description to give potential buyers a "taste" so to speak of what is in the book.

Judging from what I found in the sample, I think these recipes are good and I don't think the issue is in the quality of what you're giving. (With the one possible exception being the number of recipes, you're competing with other low priced books with more recipes. The fact that you get 25 here might be hurting a little bit when other books have 101 recipes, or 500 in them.)

All in all, I think a new cover and more description of what you get in the blurb will help this book tremendously. And some word of mouth, once people start making these and enjoying them.

In fact, I just bought the book and will let everyone know if my picky eaters love them!

What do you guys think?


  1. I agree about the black border. I'm not sure why, but I associate this sort of design with Asian food, so I guess it can be food-oriented, but a lighter overall design (and I would think borderless as well) might get more positive attention.

    I would take "Non Fiction by Megan Sara Jones." out of the description. This should be a given, so stating it up front is not using your description space effectively. I recommend not referring to it as a "little" anything -- that is a negative word, and you want people to feel positive about it. "Compact" might be better, if you feel you need to refer to its size/length. Also, there is no space preceding the last sentence in the description, which (for those with an eye to such details) can imply sloppy preparation, which can also detract from the overall presentation.

    I suppose it's a personal style thing, but I would avoid referring to myself, as you are currently doing in the first 300 words. I would try to keep it focused on the reader. For example, instead of "Some of them require preparation beforehand and I have made a note of this" perhaps "Some require preparation beforehand, and you will see these are marked accordingly."

    Those are just some thoughts off the top. I plan to download the sample if I get some free time later today. Good luck with it!

  2. This is my reaction as a potential buyer in case it's of any use.

    I could be interested in this...but I got less keen as a) the recipes are for four, b) some you have to prepare the night before, or in the morning and I wouldn't do this, c) you don't give examples of the ingredients I would need in the blurb and d) with only 25 recipes, there might only be one or two I'd use, once you cut out the pre-preparation dishes and those with fish.

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  4. Cover cover cover. That was my immediate reaction.

    Blurbs - I'm missing a "hook" here. They're FAST? If that's the case, don't talk about preprep. As a mom who works full time and cooks dinner every night, I can't stand being tricked by fast recipes that leave me chopping for 30min. So if I saw that I wouldn't buy the book.

    So don't undercut your premise. They're either fast or not. And DELICIOUS. You're forgetting delicious!

    I mean, look, on the preprep thing, if I were so organized I could do nightly preprep after wrestling the kids into bed I wouldn't need fast recipes. Know what I mean.

    So maybe fast shouldn't be your hook. maybe the hook is EASY.

    And who are you? What makes you an expert? Let us know. Been doing this for 20 years? Have seven kids? Professional chef? Chronic watcher of Food TV? The personality behind the book can be be a BIG driver of sales. I need to know what makes YOU special. (And you are special. Everyone is. You just suffer from a lack of branding)

    I would buy this cookbook, and I think a kindle cookbook is an excellent idea. Except now I know about the preprep ;)

    You will sell this book - I believe it. You just need a laser focus on what your brand is.

  5. I have to agree with Vicki on the cover. (By contract... as in, she'll take a contract out on me if I don't! Ack!)

    But seriously, I love black covers most of the time; but not for cookbooks. (Unless they're entitled, TO SERVE MAN.)

    Also, for a more effective cover, in addition to getting rid of the black and adding in more photos of great-looking food...

    I think you need to reduce the amount of text on the cover.

    For example, your title's a bit wordy.

    25 Delicious Meals In Under 30 Minutes

    Not to mention it's potentially misleading as written, because one could grammatically interpret it as "I can make ALL 25 meals in he same 30 minutes."

    Sure, most people KNOW you mean 30 minutes per meal, but... that doesn't mean it's not awkwardly phrased. :)

    So, at the MINIMUM, I'd cut out the adjective:

    25 Meals Under 30 Minutes

    The trouble is, such a title reads as very generic and lacking in personality (kind of like the generic font work on the cover).

    I think a revised title might be a better way to go. Something catchy and attention-grabbing.


    Gone In 30 Minutes!

    Have that on the cover, maybe with a stop-watch incorporated...

    On the inside (don't clutter the cover) you could add a subtitle:

    25 Quick and Easy Meals To Keep You and Your Family On the Go!

    Keep everything but the main title, and maybe a stop-watch logo, off the main cover. That's what an interior title page is for.

    Instead, fill up that cover space with gorgeous pictures of finger-lickin' good food!

  6. 100% agree, Vicki.

    I also agree with Stuart's comments on the blurb. Actually, I think the entire blurb could use an overhaul. The idea to put a sample recipe in the description is pure gold, IMO.

    Good luck with the book :-)

  7. Okay, Craig is a flipping genius! Love his title tweak. Your title could be stronger.

    And I completely agree--I want to see pix of scrumptious food on the cover. More than one dish. And I want to know what some of those recipes are in the blurb. You're being too vague.

    Also, I agree, the pre-prep would probably be a deal-breaker for me. What I'm reading (between the lines, of course) is it'll take hours of preparation, but only 30 mins to cook. And I'm not going to do all that prep work.

    Before I buy a cookbook, I want to know:

    A. What kinds of dishes are included.

    B. What sorts of ingredients are required (it's not enough to say "readily available", sorry)

    C. How complicated the cooking process is for the dishes. I don't like to cook. So I'm not particularly good at it. You use fancy names for cooking techniques, or require me to do something difficult, and you're going to lose me).

    If you don't give me some notion of those, I'm going to skip to the next cookbook. There are SO MANY out there to chose from.

    Hope that helps!

  8. The number of recipes was my first thought. The cookbook I did w/ a trad publisher needed well over 100. They would have preferred 200+, but couldn't swing that on the topic (chocolate) in the time give (about 4 months).

  9. I have to disagree at least to some degree on the topic of the number of recipes. for a 99 cent cookbook, I think 25 is pretty darn good value.

    The photo on the cover looks yummy, so why not use that and get rid of the black? And the title could be better, something that isn't as long and sounds positive. You can immediately get rid of the "under" since that's implied, I think. Easy Family Meals for example works for me (to me quick kind of implies fast when it comes to cooking). Something like that. I

    Besides that gets away from the whole thing on pre-prep. Don't promise they can be done in 30 minutes if they can't. You have to include the time for prep work.

  10. I personally find the cover very elegant and would buy it for it. The blurb is fine too. The only thing is - why would I buy a book of 25 recipes when I can find thousands of such recipes for free on the web? That's the thing. The book must show me that there is something very special about these recipes, something I can't get on the internet. Or if it's centred on something specific I love - chocolate, ginger, etc. I don't know how helpful this is, but this is what I think.

  11. I would also be more attracted to a cover with more colors and dishes on it and more professional looking typeface. With the title, why not have 30 recipes instead of 25? You could do a sort of 1 for each day of the month theme! With the blurb, I would love to know about some of the sample recipes in the cookbook itself and the degree of complexity, sort of, "If you know how to X and Y, you can totally whip up a Z in 30 minutes or less."

  12. My primary concern about electronic cookbooks in general is that I might get the reader messy.


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