MN: So far, what has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a business owner? How have you managed to overcome this challenge?
WC: The biggest challenge of running a business is having a continuous flow of working capital. I am a New York Times bestselling author. I put money back into my business. I maintain. The authors that I publish also bring in a profit, which certainly helps, although some books sell better than others.
MN: When did you realize that you had a viable business and what did you do to celebrate this milestone?
WC: I’m still on the grind and on my way to getting a viable business. When my business pays every last one of my bills that’s when I’ll call it viable. I’m maintaining. Rather than rest on my own bestselling book sales, I stay on the grind. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. Like Oprah, I love the grind. I have to stay busy. I have to be doing something. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit that drives me.
MN: What, for you, is the key to creating page-turning books that sell hundreds of thousands of copies?
WC: When I’m writing I’m thinking – okay – I don’t want my readers to be able to put this book down. I want them to keep turning the pages. I make my characters do things that make the readers say – okay – I can’t put this book down. My goal is to keep readers asking and wondering what’s going to happen next, what characters are going to do next. As a book publisher, I help authors develop that skill; I also look for authors who already have the skill.
MN: Which of your books landed on the New York Times bestseller list first and what was going on in your life when you got the news that you’d hit the bestseller list?
WC: Payback With Your Life landed on the New York Times bestseller list first. My agent contacted me to let me know. She said, “Your book landed on the New York Times bestseller list.” I asked her, “What does that mean?” Now I realize that it’s a milestone. It means you’re selling books.
MN: The Internet is changing the book industry, making it increasingly possible for authors to publish and sell their own titles. Tell us about three to five major changes you see the Internet having on the book industry over the next one to two years.
WC: I have no clue what additional changes the Internet will bring to the book industry. However, I do know that if you don’t embrace the technology, you’ll get left behind. In regards to what may happen in the future, I’m going to let technology surprise me and accept the changes that it brings.
MN: How many authors do you represent under Wahida Clark Publishing and what criteria do you use to select authors you publish?
WC: Currently, there are 18 authors under contract with Wahida Clark Publishing. I look for writers who know how to write page-turning books. I also look for writers who are open to constructive criticism, writers who are committed to developing their craft. Writers interested in publishing books with Wahida Clark Publishing, can read our submissions guidelines at our website and send their work to me. I’m always looking for new, talented authors. New, talented authors are the life source of new publishing companies.
MN: How has actually working in the book publishing industry differed from your expectations or dreams of what working in the industry would be like?
WC: I had no clue what it would be like to work in the book industry. I said I was going to get out and publish other books. It’s a lot more work than I expected it to be. Having your own publishing company is a lot more work than I thought it would be, so too is selling my own books. Your work just begins after you publish your books. Books don’t sell themselves. You have to build your brand, sell your book, market your book.