Suzanne Venker is an author and cultural critic who writes about relationships, marriage and work-family conflict. She has been married to her husband for 18 years, and they have two children. Her fifth book, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS, will be published in February 2017. Her website is www.suzannevenker.com. Read our interview with the lovely Suzanne below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Looking back, I suppose my entrepreneurial nature should’ve been evident when I was a public school teacher and kept running into “the system” that didn’t allow me to work independently. I remember when I was told it was time to join the union, and I was the only one who refused to do so. I eventually left teaching and began writing about my experiences in the classroom. I had no idea at the time that writing would become my life and that I would one day work entirely on my own, learning all aspects of the publishing industry and becoming my own editor, marketer, etc. But that’s what happened.
Tell us about your business.
I write about the culture and its negative influence on people’s lives -women’s especially. I encourage women to reject the messages that culture sends that conflict with their values, their desires, or what they know to be true from experience. Here’s what the opening page of my website states:
“Hi! I’m Suzanne Venker. I help women make smart choices in life and in love by imploding cultural narratives that undermine this goal.”
That means, I say things about men, marriage, work & family that run counter to what the culture would have you believe. American women are routinely besieged with false and misleading information that undermines their happiness and well-being. In fact, here’s what we know today: According to a 2007 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, “As women have gained more freedom, more education, and more power, they have become less happy.” This is true both in America and in the U.K. Does that mean women shouldn’t be free, educated or powerful? No. But it does mean progress comes at a price. And we all have to decide what we’re willing to pay. If you want to be happy, you must change the paradigm you’ve been taught to embrace. A paradigm is the lens by which you view the world and the people in it. It’s the attitude you’ve been conditioned to carry with you, which in turn governs your choices and behavior. If the paradigm is flawed, your life will be flawed too. Change the paradigm, and you change your life.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I just finished a giveaway for my long-time readers, where I offered a free advanced copy of my new book in exchange for a review on Amazon. I can offer the same to the first 5 readers of this interview who contact me via my website.
- My 2012 article, “The War on Men,” went viral and became the number one op-ed in Fox News history.
- My first book was translated into Spanish.
- I was invited to speak at the Oxford Union in Oxford, England.
Where is your business based?
I live in St. Louis, MO.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
There were no actual steps – it just happened as a result of my perseverance and the changing nature of publishing.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media, television and radio interviews.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
There have been countless challenges. As a politically incorrect writer (and person!), I write about hard truths that many people don’t want to hear. So it has been an uphill battle since the day I decided to write my first book more than 15 years ago. Getting an agent and subsequently a publisher (and then another agent, and another publisher, and then another) was such a feat that quite honestly, most people would have given up. It was a bit like I imagine trying to break into Hollywood would be. I can’t count the number of rejections I’ve had along the way. Rejection in publishing is rampant, so you have to really believe in what you’re doing. Of course, you also have to be a solid writer; but in my case it was the subject matter that caused problems. Most people don’t want to take something on that ruffles feathers, so it takes an extra long time to find a home for your work if it’s in any way controversial.
But here’s what I’ve learned: passion and perseverance are, quite literally, everything. Grit, you might say, goes farther than skill. Here’s a great book on that subject. And here’s my backstory, which was published in Kirkus Reviews.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I kept my eye on the ball; I had great support from family and friends; and I believed 100% in the power of my words.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I don’t know how to convey how I do this, so I must point you once again to the book Grit. Here’s the author explaining what grit is in a TedTalk.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My content distinguishes me.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
To be realistic with your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. You need a long-term plan and, if you have a family, you need a partner who brings home a steady paycheck. Entrepreneurs are not the norm because the income is sporadic or even non-existent at first. So depending on what business you’re in, you’re going to need to rely on someone else for a while. Either that or plan to eat a lot of Ramen noodles.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
“How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Marketing my new book, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage! I’ll be knee deep in publicity for the next few months. The best way to keep up is on the book’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/alphafemalesguide