MN: Tell us about three to four effective marketing strategies you use to spread the word about your books, your brand and Wahida Clark Publishing?
WC: (1) Email blasts; (2) interacting with my readers; in other words, when readers send me a Tweet, Facebook message or letter I respond; (3) social media; I stay active on social media. I’m on social media every day. It’s work. For example, to stay active on 20 or more social media networks, you need one to two people to dedicate themselves to working the networks full-time for you. And (4) I attend book signings. Some authors don’t like to do book signings. However, book signings are effective for me, because again, it’s important to interact with readers.
MN: How did you get affiliated with Prodigal Sons and Daughters Redirection Services, a nonprofit organization headquartered in East Orange, New Jersey, an organization you serve as Vice President of? And why do you think it’s important to give back?
WC: My husband mentored the former president of Prodigal Sons and Daughters. He sat back and watched what I was doing in prison and he told me I was the epitome of someone who represents Prodigal Sons and Daughters. He saw that I didn’t waste my time while I was in prison. No one can waste their time while they are in prison. For example, if you don’t have your GED, get a GED while you are in prison. If you want to use your culinary skills when you get out of prison, take culinary lessons. You’re going to need skills when you get out. You’re already labeled as a felon which is already a strike against you, so gain skills, take training, start a business, etc. all behind the wall.
I’ve been Vice President of Prodigal Sons and Daughters since I got out of prison. It’s important to me to give back because you reap what you sow. Plus, I saw the state of affairs firsthand while I was in prison. You see, prison is a revolving door; I saw the same women going in and out of prison. I saw the ages of women coming into prison getting younger and younger, women not knowing how to keep their cubicle clean and how to keep up their hygiene. I asked these women, “Where’s your mother?” They’d tell me their mother was in a crack house and their father was in prison. As mothers we raise the nation. If we aren’t doing anything with our young women, where are we going? We have a lot of work to do to change the mindset of young people, who, many are babies of the drug war.
MN: What advice would you give to women who have a burning desire to launch and manage successful businesses, women striving to redirect their lives after struggling through a setback, be it a bad relationship, incarceration, financial setback, etc.?
WC: Don’t give up. Let go. Do the best you can to let go of the past and move forward, because you only have now. The past already happened. You have to make the best of now. Use the power of NOW. Just because you were down at one time doesn’t mean that you have to stay down.
MN: What’s next for Wahida Clark and your publishing company? Where would you like to see yourself and your company two to three years from now?
WC: Two to three years from now, film and plays are coming from me and my company. That’s what next for Wahida Clark – the author and the publishing company. I want to take my authors’ books and my own books and turn them into plays and major motion pictures.
Rhonda Campbell (http://www.chistell.com), an East Coast journalist, is the owner of Off The Shelf radio and publisher of the books, Long Walk Up and Love Pour Over Me.
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