Back a few months ago, I wrote something in my 30 before 30 list about working on a cookbook (in fact, it was #24). Honestly, I never really thought anything would come of it. I just wanted to work on a cookbook for me. I even said in this post, “It might never get printed. It might never be on a bookstore shelf. It might take me 10 years. But it’s something I want to accomplish.” And that’s true! I really just wanted to work on it for me.
So I did. I worked on it. Without any interest from publishers or agents or, well, anyone.
And then, a few weeks later, I was sitting out by the lake, watching Craig fish and I checked my email on my phone. An email popped up from an editor asking if I’d ever considered writing a cookbook. After flipping out, scaring all the fish with my squeals and almost doing a cart-wheel into the water, I replied back that I had definitely considered it and couldn’t wait to hear what she had in mind! Turns out, she hadn’t seen my talk of writing a cookbook, and just independently came up with the thought that I might just be a good fit to write the next cookbook for her publisher.
Over the next six weeks or so, we went back and forth talking about lots of ideas and themes for a cookbook. There are so many things I’d love to write about! My editor was really interested in getting my book on the fast track, so we talked a lot about doing some smaller scale book ideas. We talked about all kinds of themes, ingredients, cooking methods, and ideas, but throughout the whole thing, it was important to me that the final idea be true to my food philosophy—healthy, real food that is totally delicious and simple enough for everyday eating.
So, what did we land on?
Greek yogurt! Once we landed on this idea, we both knew it was “right”. I love cooking with Greek yogurt, and I couldn’t think of a better topical cookbook for me to write. My editor and I pulled together a quick proposal, she pitched it to her bosses, they loved it, and, suddenly, I was a cookbook author!
My cookbook will include dozens of ways to use yogurt in recipes and dishes you never thought would be possible. Each recipe will include full-color photos, nutritional information and some fun little anecdotes from me. You’ll be seeing some of the recipes that are already on the Wholefully pages (but with new photos, reworking and tweaks) plus a whole bunch of new, never-before-seen recipes that will totally knock your socks off. I absolutely cannot wait to share what I have rattling around in this brain of mine with you guys!
And, in just-as-awesome news, not only am I doing the writing and recipe development for my cookbook, but I’m also doing the photography and the design! Not to be a control freak or anything, but it makes me very happy that I am getting nearly complete creative control over this final product from the visual standpoint. I’d have a really hard time handing my baby over to another graphic designer, so it’s been amazing that my publisher is being so flexible with me. I know a lot of authors don’t get much say in the look of their book—especially the cover. But I got to design my own cover! How fun is that?
We’re planning for the book to be on store shelves January 2014. Which, if you know anything about publishing, is a pretty crazy timeline. I officially signed my contract this past week, and my manuscript is due August 1st. That’s about 50 days to develop and test recipes, write, and do my own editing. Because we’re on such a tight timeline, we’re going to go with a lower number of recipes (probably between 50-75) and really focus on making sure they are amazing, delicious, and fool-proof, instead of trying to ram 393,540 recipes in a short period of time. Quality is very important to me.
After I’ve written the thing, then it’ll go through a hefty a hefty round (or ten) of editing with my publisher. After it’s finalized, it’ll come back to me to shoot the photos and do the design—all before it has to go into production around mid-October. Sleep? What’s that?
I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m a little more sporadic with posts, answering questions or replying to social media over the next few months. I promise it’s only a temporary break, and I’ll be back to my old over-sharing self come Fall.
I am so grateful for this opportunity, and, even more so, grateful for all of you. I would have never, in a million years, been given this kind of chance if it weren’t for each and every one of you reading, sharing, and making my recipes. You guys are helping make my dreams come true, and for that, I can never repay you.