Did you ever have one of those dreams, where you’re up on a stage, naked, and everyone’s pointing and laughing? Or worse, not even noticing you’re there? No? Oh. Um, me neither.
If I had, I’d say that’s sort of what it feels like to write a book. From the first moment the book idea pops into your head, you start to feel exposed. You doubt whether the idea is any good. You doubt whether the idea will sell. You doubt whether you’re good enough to actually write a real-live book. But you forge ahead anyway—you walk out onto that stage and take off your clothes. You write a proposal and send it off to agents, just hoping someone will notice it and like it.
If you’re lucky, an agent not only likes it, she likes it well enough to offer representation. If you’re super-lucky, you have more than one offer, and ultimately sign with a small agency, a partnership—two agents for the price of one. And then they work with you to refine the proposal, and compile a list of editors who might be right for the book. And then, they send it out.
By that point, you’re almost comfortable out there on stage. You think you’re past the point of fear, of worrying that nobody will like it—but it turns out the fear intensifies instead, and ratchets up further with each rejection. They’re kind rejections, all of them, filled with praise for your writing voice, your concept, and regret that they have “family cookbook” authors already on their lists. Each stings nonetheless. All it takes is one, you remind yourself.
And then one comes along. Your editor is young, painfully young, but she loves everything about your idea. Together you get to work.
There’s little time for fear during the writing stage—you’re too busy creating recipes and coordinating the testing of those recipes with more than 100 mom-volunteers, and actually, y’know, writing. But once the writing is done, the doubt roars back. Sure, your editor loves what you’ve done, your agent too. But they’re nearly as close to the project as you are. What if you’re all wrong?
Finally, finally, galleys arrive. You hold something that looks very much like a real book—your real book—in your hands, and marvel at the thought that someone else is going to read it. Once the euphoria subsides, you realize what that means: Someone who doesn’t know you, who hasn’t had a front-row seat for the proceedings to date, is going to read your book and judge your work.
Now you’re not just naked on stage. You’re naked and giving birth up there, sweating and writhing and moaning and praying for it to be over, but at the same time filled with anticipation, excitement even.
And then, with one last push, it happens: Responses arrive. If you’re the luckiest woman on earth, they look a little something like these:
“If only this book came with every box of newborn diapers or baby blanket! New and seasoned parents alike will find delicious and simple recipes. Debbie Koenig’s food feeds not only sleepy parents with little time to spare in the kitchen, but families, too—from first nibbles to toddler tastes and fullgrown meals enjoyed together.”
–Emily Franklin, author of Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 New Recipes and founder of Wellcookedlife.com
“I laughed, I learned, I dreamed up a hundred fantastic meals while reading Parents Need to Eat Too. Whether you’re looking for advice on feeding your family healthy food in a flash, making sure your own needs don’t fall by the wayside when you have a new baby in the house, or just how to make an incredible batch of chocolate chip cookies, this is the book for you. As the mother of two young children, I only wish I’d had it sooner. As a person who loves to eat, I suspect I’ll be cooking from it long after my sons have grown up, as much for Debbie Koenig’s intelligent, entertaining company as for her delicious recipes.”
–Melanie Rehak, author of Eating for Beginners
“Put your kids’ leftover chicken nuggets down and pick up Debbie Koenig’s cookbook. It’s filled with simple, yet tasty recipes—even ones you can make with one hand while singing ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider.’ Parents Need to Eat Too should be on every baby shower registry.”
–Jen Singer, author, the Stop Second-Guessing Yourself guides to parenting
“Finally, a book that reminds new moms: yes, your life may be totally wrapped up in feeding your baby right now, but you need—and deserve!—to eat well, too. And with wit, wisdom and empathy, author Debbie Koenig shows us how it can be done. Packed with crucial information like which foods belong in a new mom’s pantry, meal-saving tips like how to prep dinner during nap time—plus delicious recipes for everyone from “non-cooks” to nursing moms who are eating with one hand—Parents Need To Eat Too will help new moms and dads get the nutrition and nourishment they need as they adjust to parenthood. I’m recommending it to every expecting mom I know!”
–Meagan Francis, author of The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood
“Debbie Koenig’s new book promises and delivers the plan you need for the whole family to eat well. In a clear, comforting tone Debbie explains how to create the New Mom’s Pantry, stocked with all the basic ingredients you will need to make her delicious recipes. She even tells you how to turn grown-up food into baby food, which is both good for baby and efficient for the cook. With more than 150 recipes, intelligent health tips, and comments from real moms just like you, Parents Need to Eat Too will be your go-to resource and make you the confident parent you want to be.”
–Eileen Behan, RD, family nutritionist and author of The Baby Food Bible and Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
“This book is a must-have for new parents who enjoy eating good food with real flavor. It’s loaded with helpful tips for fitting cooking into a busy new-mom schedule (yes, it can be done!) and sneaking in needed nutrients, and Debbie is a great writer, including lots of hilarious anecdotes from her own life. Plus, the recipes are all tested by real moms so you know you can trust them!”
–Leah McLaughlin, Editor in Chief, Edible Communities/Edible Queens
You’re soaring. You’re floating on air. You can’t believe people are actually reading your book and liking it. And that’s when the applause comes that sends you over the moon: An email from a mom, just a regular mom who happened to win a galley in your blog giveaway.
I just wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know that I received Parents Need to Eat Too on Friday and I LOVE it! I have been reading it all weekend and I think I have dogeared just about the whole book to try. The food looks amazing and easy!! Now I just have to get to the grocery store!
I also wanted to tell you that your introduction was so heartfelt that I cried while I was reading it… maybe it’s the horomones or possibly I can relate to exactly what you were saying about wanting to be nutritious, but not having any time or energy. [My daughter] just turned 4 months old this past weekend, so life is starting to get a little easier around here, but man oh man, do I wish I had this while I was pregnant. I would have had my cupboards stocked and ready to go!
Oh, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the “make baby food” at the end of each recipe. So clever. I planned to do this all along (she isn’t on solids yet), but I just love that it is included and that you have instructions and tips. I feel like every cookbook should have this.
This book will now be my go-to shower gift for all my new-mom friends!
Congratulations, you did an amazing job! I am so happy that I got to share in the fun.
There is so much to be thankful for. If you’re reading this (and especially if you’ve stuck with me to the end of a very long post), I’d like to say: Thank you.