Buderim health and weight loss guru Annette Sym.
Buderim health and weight loss guru Annette Sym. Kristy Muir

Coast author's cookbook success, 4 million copies later

A SUNSHINE Coast cookbook author has celebrated 20 years of success, breathing new life into the low-fat cookbook series that launched her recipes into the public eye.

When Sunshine Coast local, Annette Sym, released her first cookbook in November 1997 she had no idea what to expect. Fast-forward 20 years - book one is still a best-seller and there are seven cookbooks in the series.

Ms Sym celebrated the milestone on November 22 at a public event at the Maroochydore RSL Club, at the same venue the first cookbook was launched 20 years ago.

Annette has turned her own triumph over weight loss, having herself lost 35 kilos, into a multi-million-dollar business.

She has sold more than four million of her self-published cookbooks, far from her humble beginnings.

She started in the late '90s with an ironing board for a desk, a hired computer and a passion to help people win the battle of the bulge.

"I wanted to help people get off the yoyo dieting bandwagon and I knew that telling them to live on grilled fish and salad for the rest of their lives wasn't the answer," Ms Sym said.

"Self-publishing that first cookbook was a huge leap of faith. I asked my in-laws for a loan and printed 10,000 copies hoping I'd be able to repay the debt.

"It sold out in two weeks! Fortunately, local printer John Schroder saw the potential and printed 20,000 more copies on a promise of payment when I received my first cheque."

Earlier this year Ms Sym did a complete overhaul of all seven cookbooks to give them a fresh current appeal.

"I knew there was more life in these recipes yet, so I reviewed each recipe, had many of the images re-shot, provided step-by-step methods and a difficulty rating for each recipe," she said.

"This is not a fad diet, it's a lifestyle, which is why these recipes have stood the test of time.

"I have generations of people who have enjoyed my recipes. People whose mum cooked these recipes for them are now cooking them for their kids."

Annette's tips for long-term success in business:

  • Stay current - be the leader in your field and make sure you listen to the changing needs of your target market. Continue to offer something unique, fresh and exciting.
  • Know your why - just because it's a good business idea doesn't mean it will be successful. Build a business around your passion and it will stand the test of time.
  • Employ people who are passionate about what you do - I write great recipes and can talk under water, but the success of my business wouldn't have been possible without a bunch of other people who are passionate about their role in supporting me.