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An Interview with Author Wendy Walker

September 18, 2009

Wendy Walker and I met when my story was selected for the 2009 Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms book. Wendy was the book’s editor who selected my story. I have enjoyed getting to know Wendy. 

I am impressed with her diverse background, decision to leave the corporate world to be a work-at- home mom and nationally recognized author. She has done alot of the right things along the way to gain national attention. I asked her to be the keynote speaker at “Inspiring Success: The Women TIES Retreat” on October 15th (http://www.womenties.com/retreat) to share some of the success strategies she has implemented along her journey in order to inspire other women entrepreneurs interested in propelling themselves to the national stage. Today learn alittle bit more about Wendy in a brief interview I conducted with her. I hope it inspires you to come to the event to meet her in person. 

Wendy Walker Interview

Women TIES: Wendy, I’m thrilled you accepted my invitation to be the keynote speaker at the first annual Women TIES Retreat. As a nationally recognized author with two books and editor of three of the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, your rise to the national stage from your earlier career days as an attorney has been impressive. Without giving away too much of what you’ll be sharing with retreat attendees, what are some key turning points or decisions in your career that helped propel you to the national stage?

Wendy: For an author, the key turning points have to include getting an agent, getting a book deal and getting some good press to help promote the book. It’s very straightforward. What’s not straightforward is how any of us gets these things. Of all the fields I’ve worked in, writing and publishing has to be the most elusive. This is a business where people turn down books because they don’t feel “passionate” about it or because it didn’t “blow them away.”  Can you imagine a lawyer turning down a client because she didn’t feel personally passionate about the case? Or a banker turning down a deal because the client’s business didn’t “blow her away?” The lawyer takes the case because she thinks she can win and the banker takes the deal if there’s money to made. Publishing has not fully embraced the business world and this can make it very challenging for an author. My journey has been a crazy ride down a winding road, and I look forward to sharing the details with everyone in October!
 
Women TIES: Success never comes without a price.  Sometimes we are asked to compromise our vision for monetary gain. Has this happened to you along your journey and if so, what helped you stay the course? 

Wendy: From the start of my relationship with my publisher, there has been a difference of opinion about what type of books I write. I have tried to merge issue-driven women’s literature with realistic characters and situation that are found more often in “chick lit.” And I have also made the books fast paced and suspenseful. I think that by stepping outside of one or another mold, it has added to the dilemma of how exactly to market my work. With my first novel, Four Wives, I let them guide me and we ended up with sexy covers and jacket copy that really didn’t work. For the second novel, Social Lives, I paid much more attention to what they were doing and wound up in a major battle with them and a national bookseller. It was a risky move, but I simply could not live with the cover they were insisting on for Social Lives. Not only did it not fit the book, it offended me as a writer and a woman. I’m not sure what impact this will have on my career. But I will never regret standing my ground.

Women TIES:  During your rise to the national stage, how important has your “network” been in supporting you towards your largest goal?
 
Wendy: Invaluable! Never before have I understood so completely the importance of cultivating solid relationships with close friends and acquaintances. When I went up against a major bookseller recently, I turned to my network and they went to bat for me in more ways than one. I have tried very hard in my life to be trustworthy and genuine with the people I meet, and I don’t ask them for things I don’t truly need. Their response when I did ask for help was moving.
 
Women TIES: Can you briefly touch on one or two success strategies you have learned along the way that you’ll share in more detail at the Retreat that can help propel women entrepreneurs to the national stage?
 
Wendy: Networking is essential. From my work with Chicken Soup for the Soul to promoting my novels, there is nothing more powerful than personal relationships. It is frustrating at times to not be able to map out a plan of attack that is sure to work. I have come to accept that over time, but it hasn’t been easy! The truth is, you never know where these relationships will lead. Some are dead ends, and others turn out to be the key to success. I also believe that you have to be creative in your thinking. People tend to follow the same path.  You have to be smarter than that by always looking for new paths to your target audience.

Women TIES: If attendees want to learn alittle bit more about your before the retreat, where is the best place for them to visit?

Wendy: My website at  http://www.wendywalkerbooks.com.  Check out my blogs and book trailer, reviews, excerpts and more.

Women TIES: Thank you for your time. We all look forward to hearing more success strategies from you at the Retreat along with meeting you during the book signing session on  “Social Lives” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms.”

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