How two busy homemakers became best-selling authors
Kerrville TX – When two busy homemakers, mothers, and career women bumped into each other at their children’s school, they instantly knew they would become friends. But they had no idea they were to become bestselling authors.
This is the story of how Linda Coffee and Emily Cale wrote and sold more than 2 million copies of their Four Ingredient Cookbook® collection.
It was 1990 when Linda and Emily met at their children’s school function. They immediately discovered they had a common interest in cooking: Linda held a degree in home economics and Emily studied gourmet cooking.
Both loved preparing food for family and friends. But it was while they were attending a food show together that they realized they just wouldn’t have the time and energy to prepare the detailed recipes most gourmet meals required. During the event, they did discover one short recipe that intrigued them. That gave them an idea. It soon became a game between them to collect short, quick, easy-to-make recipes.
Soon they had gathered more than 200 recipes that used only four ingredients. Voila! The idea for their first cookbook was born – The Four Ingredient Cookbook®.
At this point, it was still only an idea. The recipes were on their home computer, and they did not know what to do with them.
By chance, they read an article in the San Antonio Express News about a survey that showed most people still liked to cook food that tastes good, but they just didn’t have the time or energy to do it.
On impulse, Linda and Emily sat down and wrote a letter to the food editor of the newspaper, telling her about their 200 four ingredient recipes.
To their surprise, Karen Harem called them the day their letter arrived. Would they be interested in coming to San Antonio for an interview? The pair couldn’t believe their good fortune. They cooked up some four ingredient recipes and – since there was yet no book – printed out a manuscript.
The food editor interviewed and photographed Linda and Emily, promising to call if the article was scheduled to run. Driving back to the hill country, the new authors were good natured about the trip and agreed it would be a pleasant surprise if they heard from the newspaper again.
Exactly one week later the phone rang.
A man said he had just read the newspaper and wanted to order 11 cookbooks.
Stunned, Emily and Linda ran to the newsstand and bought that day’s issue. There, on the front page of the Food section, was a full page, full color article and photo spread, complete with sample recipes. (Obviously, the food editor forgot to call them!)
Their phone rang all day. By the end of the first day they had received 88 orders for cookbooks. Totally unprepared for the response, they had not even printed their cookbook yet. So they rushed their manuscript to a local printer and printed 500 copies, which they collated and bound around the kitchen table. By the third day after the article appeared, Linda and Emily had received orders for 500 copies.
Decades later, the orders have not stopped coming.
People loved this cookbook and asked for more. So, Linda and Emily went on to write More of The Four Ingredient Cookbook®, Low Fat and Light Four Ingredient Cookbook® (with recipes reviewed by a registered dietician, and The Diabetic Four Ingredient Cookbook® (which contains the nutrient analysis along with diabetic exchanges).
The ladies combined their original first three cookbooks and re-released it as one larger cookbook – The Four Ingredient Cookbook® Three Books in One!
Their most recent cookbook, the sixth in The Four Ingredient Cookbook® series, was completed in 2007 and is called The Four Ingredient Cookbook® Holidays and Celebrations. This cookbook contains dinner parties for eight for all of the holidays along with eight pages of entertaining tips, ideas, and décor.
Despite offers from publishing houses, Linda and Emily continue to self publish their books. They are still having fun with these cookbooks, and have sold over two million copies. The women who didn’t have a clue how to promote their books have been written up in more than 60 newspapers, taped an infomercial, appeared on television and radio, and even boast a Four Ingredient Fan Club!
Linda and Emily’s quest to make life simpler has been a fun and exciting journey!