WAHM Beats Stress with a Book

Leah BorskiThis week, I interviewed Leah Borski, author of “Eat to Beat Stress: 10 Super Foods to Prevent Major Symptoms of Stress” about her new ebook, her plans to self-publish a recipe book and ebook publishing for DIYers and WAHMs.

Briefly tell us about yourself.

My name is Leah Borski, and I’m a WAHM of two. I worked at home as a medical transcriptionist for 7 years, starting when I was pregnant with my son. I recently left that profession to pursue my true passion – family health, nutrition, and cooking with my kids.

I’ve loved cooking since I was a kid, and some of my happiest childhood memories are of being in the kitchen with my granny, baking pies, kneading bread dough, and making applesauce and berry jam. As I continue the tradition of family cooking, I hope to make lasting memories with my children in the kitchen. I truly love having that bonding time with them, teaching them about what healthy foods do for their bodies and learning together as we experiment with different recipes and flavors.

I didn’t really appreciate healthier foods until becoming a mother myself, and the challenges of being a work at home mum (WAHM) prompted me to develop a more manageable system for balancing motherhood and career, while learning how to create and demonstrate a healthier lifestyle for my family. I’ve studied and learned a lot, and I enjoy reaching out to help those who are looking for a simple starting point, as I was a few years ago, and connecting with other moms who are also striving for balance and wellness.

Now, about your business.

I’m currently in the process of writing and self-publishing ‘The Family Table Cookbook: Cook Smart, Stress Less, Eat Better…Together” which is tentatively scheduled for release as an e-book in June 2013 and as a print book in September 2013.  That book will feature over 150 nutritious, time-saving recipes for real life. There will be a section devoted to homemade baby food purees, and all of those purees are used to boost the nutrition of many of the family recipes in the book – everything from casseroles and soups to pancakes and muffins. Each recipe includes specific adaptations for every age, from 6 months old. The book I’m currently promoting, “Eat to Beat Stress” is sort of a combination of practice run for the self-published e-book arena and sneak preview of some of the recipes that will be included in the full cookbook.

I’m concurrently working to build my brand and connect a community of parents who have similar struggles with everything,  from dealing with picky eaters to having limited time for cooking and creating budget-friendly meals that cater to every age group in the family. I recently taught a Mommy & Me Healthy Cooking class locally, and I’m scheduled to instruct another soon. That class was so much fun, and I got to meet some great kids and moms!  I’m thinking of offering similar classes on a regular basis in the future, locally and perhaps online.

I have also recently begun health and wellness coaching as a Beachbody coach. I help clients decide on an appropriate home fitness program to suit their goals and then provide motivation and accountability through online personal coaching and group support. My focus is on mommies, so I provide extra tips for getting workouts in, and recipes that are simple, calorie-conscious, and kid-friendly. My goal is to orchestrate cross-promotion between my two businesses and then integrate them as a one-stop wellness & nutrition resource for busy moms. My website offers resources and information for both fitness and nutrition, specifically geared toward moms and families.

Why did you decide to write a recipe book?

The idea of writing a family cookbook actually took shape when my son was a young toddler. My husband and I didn’t have very healthy eating habits, but I had been given a homemade baby food book and used it to make my son’s fruit and veggie purees. As he began to transition from purees to finger foods and beyond, I struggled to help him maintain his love for healthy foods. After spending a lot of hours searching for and trying new recipes, I continued to have a hard time finding nutritious meals that would satisfy all of us.

I started experimenting with combining elements of several recipes and eventually began to develop my own family recipes. I realized that a lot of other moms had similar frustrations, and I thought that putting my recipes together into a book could save so many others from the hours I’d spent frivolously searching for something I couldn’t find. That was the beginning of The Family Table Cookbook.

“Eat to Beat Stress” is actually the result of having been invited to speak at a local event focused on helping people survive the stress of the holidays. The event ended up being cancelled after I’d already prepared my presentation, and so I decided to re-format my information into a mini e-book that could help many people, while also serving as a tool to promote awareness of my upcoming full cookbook.

How did you come up with the name?

The “Eat to Beat Stress” book was originally put together as a PowerPoint presentation for the event I mentioned, and so the title simply popped into my head as an easy way to introduce my material to a room full of people!

The title for my upcoming cookbook, ‘The Family Table Cookbook: Cook Smart, Stress Less, Eat Better…Together’ was an entirely different undertaking. It began as ‘Simple Healthy Family Food,’ but when I started researching more about self-publishing and authoring a book in general, I realized I needed something more catchy and descriptive. I struggled with working on it myself for awhile and eventually hired a copywriter to develop a title and subtitle that would convey the concept of my book. They came up with ‘The Family Table Cookbook’ which I liked and based my logo on. We then went through three rounds of subtitles, all of which were bland and very generic sounding. I paid what I owed and went back to brainstorming the subtitle on my own with the generous help of a dear friend. It took a couple of months and probably hundreds of ideas, and then the process of having my logo developed led me to research tagline development, and that’s when I found the best advice that helped me piece it together.

I read that the most effective taglines focus on the benefits, not the features. I had been racking my brain trying to fit all of the features into a brief and concise phrase, and it wasn’t working. When I realigned my process to describe the benefits, it came together so much more simply!

What’s your favourite recipe in the book?

‘Eat to Beat Stress’ breaks down the benefits of 10 super stress-busting foods and mainly focuses on serving suggestions, shopping tips, and easy ways to include the foods in everyday meals. There is a small recipe section, and my favorite from that is the Honey-Vanilla Yogurt, Fruit & Granola Parfaits which use homemade Honey Cinnamon Flax Granola (this recipe is also included in the book). My kids and I enjoy these as snacks, with lunch, and sometimes for dessert, and they include five of the 10 stress-busting foods in the book!

How hard was it to put together? Did you do the whole thing yourself or get help?

This e-booklet was fairly easy to put together. The most time-consuming part was actually formatting the e-book for conversion to Kindle Direct Publishing. I did this book myself, but I do plan to hire a company to do the e-book conversion for my upcoming Whole Grain Pancake & Muffin recipe e-book and the full version of The Family Table Cookbook, both of which will have more complex layout, more images, and more content.

What would you say to other WAHPs who are thinking of publishing their own ebook?

#1: Use “Building Your Book for Kindle” – available free on Amazon.  This is a formatting guide for self publishing to Kindle, and it’s published by Kindle Direct Publishing, but is a lot clearer and easy to understand than the guidelines that Kindle/Amazon provides on the actual publishing site.

#2:  Plan for the process to take about twice as long as you expect!  You’ll be less stressed about a looming deadline, and unexpected hiccups do occur. They did with mine.

#3:  DO NOT put a ‘#’ in the name of the file you upload to Kindle Direct Publishing.  I did that, and it took two weeks of back-and-forth e-mails with KDP (there’s no way to call) to figure out that’s what was preventing my e-book Table of Contents from functioning within my published e-book.  Thank goodness that’s all fixed now!

Grab a Copy of Leah’s Book!

eat to beat stressLeah’s ebook “Eat to Beat Stress: 10 Super Foods to Prevent Major Symptoms of Stress” is available FREE on Amazon on February 6th and February 7th (beginning and ending at midnight PST)!  After that, it will be available for $1.99 (or free via Kindle Lending Library).  Link to ebook:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AS074VA.

Cas McCulloughAbout Cas McCullough

Author, speaker, activist and prolific blogger Cas McCullough empowers women as mothers through her startup Mumatopia, and she empowers women solo business owners (and a few enlightened men) to drop the sales pitch and harness the power of content marketing through her Content Marketing Cardiology program. Cas is the author of Diving In: Practical tips for starting up and growing your home based business and writes a regular column on home based startups for www.startupsmart.com.au. Find Cas on Google+