Business Class: Janet Evanovich, a “Mother Working”
By Randall Kenneth Jones
Originally published in the Naples Daily News
Friday, February 7, 2014
Has the term “working mother” been bounced around so long that we no longer think about what it really means?
Ask a mother her thoughts and the responses are passionate—everything from “’Working Mother’ is redundant” to “I don’t have time to talk about this.”
Sure, all mothers are celebrated on one day every May.
In other words, we set aside .365% of the year to work at honoring moms.
The bottom line: all mothers work. Period.
New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich is, in her own words, “a mother first.”
Throughout her impressive literary career, the assiduous Evanovich has already written almost as many books as appear in the Bible.
For those keeping score: Bible = 66, Evanovich = 53.
And Evanovich isn’t done yet.
With staggering career sales in the millions, Evanovich quips that her books have been translated into “everything but Farsi and Klingon.”
Her 24-volume “Stephanie Plum” series—currently represented by “Takedown Twenty”—is responsible for more than 40 million books sold.
When asked the secret to her success, Evanovich sites “respect for the consumer” and “family support” before finally being pressed to credit herself with: “some talent.”
Just what you’d expect coming from a mom: others come first.
However, to Evanovich: “If it’s all about you, you’re never going to be a success. Your concern should be for your audience—and proving you are a part of their group.”
Advice that should resonate regardless of your business.
Essentially, Evanovich was a “committed mother”—no pun intended—long before she became “Bestselling Author Janet Evanovich.”
Prior to selling her first book at age 48, Evanovich test drove any number of jobs before eventually creating the car-maiming Stephanie Plum.
From the telemarketing room to the mail room—from being a CSR for a colonoscopy bag manufacturer to a half-day career selling used cars, Janet Evanovich has most certainly lived in the real world.
Of course, to author Evanovich, “I produce a product for me and others like me. I’m a ‘working girl,’ not a ‘lady who lunches.’”
Moreover, with her MOM hat firmly in place, Janet Evanovich pulled off an enviable magic hat trick: transitioning from “working mother” to “mother working.”
Today, Evanovich’s maternal sensibilities are vividly displayed in her flawed yet relatable characters, her wicked sense of humor, her 15-hour work days, her almost superhuman ability to multi-task, her celebration of her blue collar roots and, above all, the importance she places on family.
“We all have an agenda as creative people. My books reflect families, communities and values. If I thought I would never do my own laundry or go to the supermarket again, I would lose an important connection to my audience—I’d lose Stephanie Plum.”
For her core reader—including countless mothers, sisters, daughters and grandmothers—Evanovich is proud to place herself on the same side of their table.
“I’m the ‘happy’ writer. If you read my books and don’t feel like kicking the cat or yelling at the kids, then I’ve done my job.”
Marketer, publicist, business humorist, professional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.
Photos: TOP — Janet Evanovich, photo by Roland Scarpa (top–used by permission); TAKEDOWN TWENTY by Janet Evanovich (used by permission); THE CHASE by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (used by permission); BOTTOM — Randall Kenneth Jones.
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