A Joy Strategist from Decatur GA, Wendy Watkins, 50, is the author of The Joy Factor Recipe Book – A Common Sense Approach to a Delicious Life – a 202-page book published in May 2012 and available in print on Amazon. A Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute, she is still attending the School of Life! The book is a great inspirational and motivational personal development tool. Connect with Wendy on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or read more about her work and her book on her website.
Wendy shares in-depth about her experience writing her first book. “I have always been a personal development junkie who loves food, so sharing my message on how to raise your Joy Factor in a “cookbook” format was unique and fun. When I became a Professional Coach in 2000, I knew I had an important message to share with the world; however, I was unclear on exactly what format it would take. I was asked to speak at a conference in New Orleans in 2008 and the concept of raising your Joy Factor became my topic. As I fine-tuned this concept of tapping into increased joy to manifest a desirable life, I realized this was the message I was to write about. I heard myself utter the words, “I am going to write a book”, and the process began.”
So what was the process like? “My first documents on my computer for this project were dated early 2009. Most of the information came from my life experience, as well as my clients’ journeys. For the majority of my adult life, I looked for joy outside of myself. I call this my sex, drugs and rock and roll era. In late 2005, I succumbed to the fact that I was a highly functioning prescription drug addict. The umbrella of shame that I lived under stopped me from experiencing true joy. When I stopped abusing drugs in January 2006, I was able to examine my journey a bit more clearly. In 2007, the quest to look at what brought me sustainable joy began and the ingredients for the Joy Factor started to become well-defined. The way the principles of attraction work, the more I put my attention on this notion of sustainable joy, the more I attracted clients who wanted to be in this type of conversation. My Joy Factor website launched and I blogged about these ingredients. There are 20 contributors in the book - I call them my Joy Posse. They all share recipes that use the ingredients I share with people to raise their Joy Factor. Their entries come from the blog as well as other sources.”
And the next steps were… “I hired a designer and editor to help me put the finishing touches on the book in late 2011. It was published in Spring 2012. There were times when that felt like the longest three years of my life and other times, it seemed to fly by. Staying focused on the project was a bit challenging. First, when you are working and writing, it can be challenging to make the book a priority. That first year I really worked on creating sacred space to write, taking retreats and spending time at gorgeous locations in the Southeast. The second year, I was feeling focused and enthusiastic. I entered a contest to be The Next Top Self-Help Author. My optimism was high - I was going to win the contest! It was a real blow when I did not make the first cut. That was March 2011. After that, I did not touch the manuscript for six months. I realized that I was writing this book from my ego, my desire to be famous and to be on Oprah. I did lots of soul-searching and shifted the format of my book from a very significant “this is my story” type of book, to its present format which is much more fun and easy to read - more like me! After I figured that out, I began writing again and finished the project in eight months.”
On her schedule and others who helped in the venture. “At first, I did not have a true schedule. I waited until the creativity struck me or I retreated somewhere to write. When I decided to finish the book, I committed to awaking each day at 5:30 a.m. to be able to write a few hours before I began working with clients. I did that every day for many months. Yes, as I mentioned, I had my Joy Posse. They were collaborators on my blog. I looked at some of their posts and put the appropriate ones in the book. I also invited others to write a “recipe” for the book. There are also at least 20 pieces of original art that were created for the book. I had both a designer and editor help me put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. I could not have completed the project without them.”
What about the publishing process? “Initially, I was hoping to receive an offer from a publishing company. After the debacle with the contest, I decided to self-publish. It was important to me to use a local publisher, since I am a proponent of keeping business local. I gathered a few recommendations and made my choice with Booklogix in Alpharetta. They were wonderful in working with me and walking me through the publishing process.”
The response to Wendy’s book has been great. “I had an amazing launch party at Cooks Warehouse in Decatur. It was the perfect way to introduce the book to the community. People comment that they enjoy that it is easy to read. They like that they can read it cover to cover, or open it at any point and get a tasty nugget to help them optimize their day. Many of my fans purchase the book as gifts after they read it. It is perfect for someone who loves personal development and food.”
Marketing tips are on Wendy’s website and blog. “As soon as the book launched, I began putting attention on attracting speaking engagements. That has been the best way for me to market my book. I am getting ready to publish it digitally, so I can offer incentives for people to purchase—buy a copy of the book and receive the digital version for free or a special price.”
Wendy’s Book is available locally in Decatur - it is at Eagle Eye Bookstore and Vivid Boutique. It is also available at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC. Currently, Wendy is busy writing blog posts and articles. She is also working on a project that aligns perfectly with the book, called Simply Flourishing, and will have more details on that coming soon on her blog. To aspiring writers planning to publish in the future, her advice is, “Be clear on what you want to create, stay focused and take care of yourself throughout the process. Hire support to make the book exactly as you want it to be.”
Thank you for your inspiring story Wendy, and hope many more will read your book and share their responses here!