Allergies affect so many people globally, and when Emma Amoscato’s children were diagnosed with multiple allergies, she couldn’t find a good guide to help – so she decided to write one!
Emma is a former national features journalist and started her blog FreeFromFarmhouse after her son had an anaphylactic reaction. She shares advice, recipes and supports other families dealing with allergies. She works with brands and the media to spread awareness and inclusivity, and is also a judge on the Free From Food Awards and Allergy UK Hero Awards.
Her book Living With Allergies: Practical Tips For All The Family is endorsed by Allergy UK and published by Pen&Sword on 30 March – buy it here.
What’s Your Why? Who is your book trying to help / support?
I have two children (6&3) who both have multiple allergies. Between them they are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, sesame, garlic and chilli, as well as environmental allergies, asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.
We were first thrown into this new world when my son was a baby and at 15 months old he had an anaphylactic reaction. That’s when I set up my blog FreeFromFarmhouse to start documenting our experiences, reaching out and helping others. I was still frustrated at the misinformation out there though and the lack of a good book bringing everything together in one place – so I decided to write one!
I’m hoping the book will help anyone dealing with allergies, but particularly those who are dealing with a new diagnosis and are feeling overwhelmed, scared and looking for some answers and reassurance.
What do you stand for?
I want to help families with allergies stay safe and sane!
That means arming them with well researched and easy to understand information but also helping them feel supported and listened to. There can be a lot of anxiety when with living with allergies. I want to lead by example and show other families is it possible to lead a full, inclusive life without their allergies holding them back.
How did you make sure you kept yourself accountable whilst writing the book?
My background is as a journalist so I work best when I have a deadline looming! So I tended to set my own deadlines for getting certain aspects finished. Also,once I had my chapters and structure in place, and knew the experts I wanted to feature, it was easier to work within that outline.
Did you have any content you repurposed from existing articles / social posts?
I repurposed a few old posts around school allergy management plans and dealing with birthday parties. Most my blog posts were around my personal experiences though and the book is a lot more in depth and detached, incorporating research and input from others as well.
How did you find the right publisher / agent?
I had been thinking about writing a book for a while but hadn’t actively pursued it. Then someone in a journalist group I am part of said they were helping my publisher look for new titles in a particular range. I pitched an idea, which they sad wasn’t quite right, but they looked at my blog and asked if I would like to write a proposal for a book on allergies. So I was very lucky that it all fell into place quite easily. Although now I am working on my second book, I am looking for an agent this time.
What did you learn from them?
I learnt more about how the industry works and the challenges of producing a successful book. I learnt that as an author, you have to be confident in advocating for what you believe your book needs. So I knew I wanted to go after the endorsement from Allergy UK and I knew who I wanted to design my front cover. My publisher got onboard with both things and it has already made a huge difference to the validation and perception of the book.
What is the book you would recommend that everyone reads and why?
Ooh, so many. I have just read Michelle Obama’s autobiography which I think is very inspiring. Also, Miracle Morning has real helped me focus my energies.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
Is it too cheesy to say my children?! I think blog and book wise, it has been finding my tribe and building a supportive network who have become great friends and trusted advisers. I have also invested in some sessions with a coach who has been invaluable for addressing my mindset and deep seated beliefs that can hold me back.
What was the most challenging aspect about writing a book?
Trying to distil down all the information and knowing what to leave out. There is so much to know and so many studies to read that you can end up going down a rabbit hole. There are also lots of related conditions I could have covered and areas I could have written about in more depth but I wanted to keep it simple and accessible for everyone
What is the thing you wished you knew when you started?
How much time and effort everything apart from the writing would take – the editing, proofreading, images, approving cover designs, marketing etc.
What would you tell someone thinking about writing their own book?
Research the market well first and read all the potential competitors. Where does your book fit in? What can you offer that is different, useful or new? Put together a strong proposal but be prepared to adapt it if an agent or publisher is looking for something slightly different. Be true to yourself, always consider what the reader is looking for and be prepared for it to completely take over your life but be totally worth it.
Find our more about Emma on her website FreeFromFarmhouse.