Aquafaba intrigued Rebecca Coleman, a food blogger and social media instructor who got a cookbook deal. A few years ago, she began experimenting with the garbanzo bean water, which vegans use as an egg replacer, in recipes.
But she never even considered writing a cookbook about this trendy new food. Yet she got a contract, just by asking a question.
She did not build her online expertise and followers first. That is the usual way to get a cookbook deal. This story is an exception. Perhaps it is easier to get a book deal if you know about a hot new trend and have experimented with the ingredient. That way the publisher can get a book out quickly.
While Rebecca was not a recognized expert, she was one of the first to suggest a book. And she became an aquafaba expert over the course of writing the book. She said she tested one obstinate recipe for macarons 50 times!
Here’s how Rebecca wrote a sentence that became a cookbook:
Q. How long ago did you notice that aquafaba was a trend?
A. In 2015. A girlfriend turned me onto a vegan Facebook group on Aquafaba. I joined and immediately broke out my food processor, bought a can of chickpeas, and started messing around with bean water. I wrote my first blog post on aquafaba that year.
Q. Did you have any intention of writing a book about aquafaba?
A. Never. I had no aspirations to write a cookbook! My blog is based on recipes I find online, and then modify in some way. Up until that point, I had done very little recipe development.
Q. How did the aquafaba book idea come about?
A. I met Robert Dees of Bob Rose at the International Food Blogger Conference, where I was a panelist. He asked if I’d ever thought of writing a cookbook. I told him no. He gave me his card and told me to contact him if I had ideas.
Later I pitched him on a book about how to manage interfood relationships, such as one between a carnivore parent with a vegan child. Then one day I sent him a one-line email that said, “If you don’t already have a book in the works about aquafaba, you should. It’s very hot right now.”
His response was, “Why don’t you write it?”
Q. Wow. Did you feel qualified?
A. No. I’d been working with aquafaba and I thought it was really cool. But I wasn’t a vegan, and I certainly didn’t feel like an expert on it.
But then one day a friend said, “Someone is going to write this book. Why not you?” So I decided to go for it, despite my doubts and fears. I had never written a cookbook before. I had no idea what I was doing.
Q. What did the publisher think about your lack of platform on this subject?
A. There was very little else out there. One publisher had a cookbook scheduled to come out a few months before mine. But not a lot of people (especially outside of the vegan community) were writing about aquafaba in print. Since then, some big articles in large publications have come out.
Q. Was the schedule very fast?
A. Yes. I signed the contract in June, though I was already working on the manuscript by then. My deadline was October 1, and the book came out at the end of April. It was less than a year from conception to publication.
The book has about 125 recipes, and I wrote most of them during the summer, when I take time off from my job teaching social media at a local university.
Q. How do you feel about being a sudden expert on aquafaba?
A. I love helping people, and this ingredient helps people. It opens up a world that was previously closed. I lurk in Facebook groups and Twitter, sharing aquafaba recipes and advice all the time.
Q. Any advice to tentative cookbook authors?
A. I was terrified. I had a ton of doubts. It was a really challenging experience, but I’m glad I did it, and now I’m a published cookbook author. It’s pretty cool to be able to say that!