How I Wrote a Cook Book: The Story of COOK, EAT, RUN…

Cook Eat Run - runners recipe book - food for athletes

I can hardly believe that my first cookbook is being released 3 months from today!

December 26th… (yes, festive lovers, that means you have less than 3 months until Christmas)

It’s already available for pre-order here – this REALLY helps if we can get the book on the Amazon hit list before release so I would love if you added it to your basket next time you’re shopping!

Sign up here to get a free PDF with three of my favourite recipes from the book!

COOK EAT RUN RUNNERBEANS COOKBOOK

How did the book idea come about and how to get a publisher? 

Let me start at the beginning… if you’re a newish reader, you might not know that I started my working life interning at food magazines before landing my dream job at Good Housekeeping Magazine as the Cookery Assistant (and then Acting Deputy Cookery Editor). I wrote and tested recipes and assisted on photoshoots with food styling. It was at GH that I developed a love for healthy cooking and eating (and running, because with all the recipe testing, I was doing a lot of eating!).

I avoided sharing recipes on my blog, although that was what I had originally set it up to do, because I didn’t want to share poor quality images. Having worked with some of the best food photographers in the business, my iPhone snaps weren’t cutting it.

Whilst on holiday with my Mum last September in Seattle, I picked up a copy of Shalane Flanagan’s newest cookbook and decided that I had to stop making excuses and start sharing more recipes. I wanted to get back into the kitchen and share easy, quick, nutritious recipes. I told myself that I would just start and perhaps put an e-book together of specific runner’s recipes.

TWO DAYS LATER…I opened an email from Sarah at Quadrille asking if I’d ever thought about writing a cook book for runners.

I met up with her for a G&T when back in London and put together a book proposal, explaining why I’d be perfect to write a book like this and my ideas for content.

I was lucky that my friend’s sister is a book agent, so she helped negotiate the contract with Quadrille to help cover costs of recipe testing etc, which was all signed off in October 2018. If you’re looking to write a book, I would highly recommend investigating book agents as although they take a % of your fee, they negotiated a much higher advance than I would have been comfortable (or aware of) asking for!

COOK EAT RUN RUNNERBEANS COOKBOOK

How did I establish the content of the book? 

I asked you guys! The feedback I had from instagram was that you wanted easy, quick recipes, info on what to eat before/during and after your run, and you wanted ingredients that you recognised! So that’s what I set about creating, alongside some recipes from elite runners.

The chapters you’ll find in Cook, Eat, Run are;

Homemade Running Fuel 

Breakfast

20 Minute Meals

Pre-Run Fuel

Refuel – Sweet

Refuel- Savoury

Snacks 

Interspersed are ‘Eat like an Elite’ recipes from Molly Huddle, Kara Goucher, Kathrine Switzer, Sara and Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor, plus runner specific, simple nutritional advice.

I pitched these ideas to the publishers who were really happy with the ideas, and they let me pick the recipes myself. So it includes a lot of what I eat generally at home (and there’s no dill anywhere in the book because I don’t eat it!)

How long did it take to write 75+ recipes? 

A long long time. I was used to working in the GH test kitchen where there’s someone washing up, multiple hobs and ovens to use, and a seemingly endless supply of tins/bowls not to mention ingredients. Working in my own kitchen was a different matter, and although I roped in Tom and my Mum to wash up or help on occasion, it still took months to finish them all. The kids that I nanny ended up being test subjects, as did friends and family. The baked goods took the longest to get right, especially the Monster Workout Cookies (in the end I gave up trying to make these lower sugar, and have just gone all in!).

COOK EAT RUN RUNNERBEANS COOKBOOK

How many recipes are vegetarian/vegan? 

Where possible, I have given suggestions to make recipes vegetarian or vegan friendly, plus there are plenty of recipes that are meat/dairy free already. In total I counted there were 62 recipes that were veggie/vegan or had adjustments to make them such out of the 75 recipes!

Who took the food photos? 

I was really keen to work with a food photographer that I’d worked with at Good Housekeeping, someone I knew and trusted, so was thrilled when Maja Smend agreed to shoot the book. Plus her studio is around the corner from my parents house in London which was so handy! I also worked with Pip Spence and Libby Silberman who cooked all the recipes for the shoot – this was so helpful to have other people triple check that the recipes worked (I’d had a minor panic that my oven wasn’t set to the right temperature!).

COOK EAT RUN RUNNERBEANS COOKBOOK AVOCADO LOAF

Why isn’t it available before Christmas? 

Sadly, with the turnaround time needed to get the book released before Christmas, it just wasn’t possible. However, it’s out in time for the New Year and for all of you training for Spring and Summer marathons!

Is it available to purchase in the US and globally? 

YES! The link for Amazon should automatically update to your region, although I do know that the publication date is a couple of weeks later in the US. If there’s somewhere you’d like the book to be available worldwide, just let me know!

Are you doing a book tour? 

Yes, or at least I am planning on it. I’ll certainly organise a couple of events in the UK, and plan to visit some cities in the US with Amanda (Run to the Finish) who has a book out at the same time. But if you have any location requests, feel free to leave a comment below.

Sign up here to get a free PDF with three of my favourite recipes from the book!

Don’t forget, you can pre-order the book on Amazon here. 

13 Comments

  1. Christina Eason
    26th September 2019 / 8:11 am

    Huge congratulations and a Fascinating post! How did you get the elites involved? And why no GB athletes?? Thanks!!

    • Charlie
      Author
      26th September 2019 / 6:25 pm

      Sadly I didn’t get any responses from the GB athletes and agents that I emailed!! Either no reply or a ‘no thank you!’ 😥

  2. 26th September 2019 / 12:27 pm

    Fascinating to learn about the process, and I can’t wait to try out the recipes! Hope you have Scotland on your tour…😊

  3. Ashley Wynne
    26th September 2019 / 6:45 pm

    Can’t wait for your book to come out! I’d love to see you in the US! Hopefully somewhere like Charlotte or Greenville SC where I live!

    • charlotte
      Author
      29th September 2019 / 4:52 pm

      I’ve never been to South Carolina so would love that!!

  4. Gilly
    27th September 2019 / 4:52 am

    Hey there – would love to see the book, and you!, in Australia! Good luck and well done.

  5. Teal Gove
    28th September 2019 / 11:31 pm

    Congratulations Charlie! Would love to see a Calgary book tour stop 😉

  6. Holly
    29th September 2019 / 8:12 pm

    Congratulations! I can’t wait for your book to come out and would love to see you in the US. Hopefully somewhere close to NH where I live.

  7. Kate
    3rd October 2019 / 5:28 pm

    Pre-ordered! To me from me. Hope your book tour brings you to NYC 🙂

    • charlotte
      Author
      4th October 2019 / 8:02 pm

      Thank you and don’t worry, it definitely will!

  8. Amanda
    6th October 2019 / 10:00 pm

    Congratulations! How exciting!

  9. kristi O'Donnell
    16th October 2019 / 5:11 pm

    Congratulations. I have had a ban on buying cookbooks, but I will lift this ban for your book! I hope you come to Texas, specifically Houston. It’s the fourth largest city in America.

    • charlotte
      Author
      17th October 2019 / 10:13 am

      I would LOVE to come to Texas – Houston and Austin are on my wish list of travel destinations! and thank you – appreciate you lifting the ban for it 🙂

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