Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).
Welcome Fawn Weaver, author of Happy Wives Club, to Dreams Coming True! Leave a comment on this post for the chance to win a copy of Happy Wives Club! Winner will be announced next Thursday.
Tell us a little about yourself, Fawn
My name is Fawn Weaver, and I’m the author of Happy Wives Club: One Woman’s Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage (now a USA Today® and New York Times® Best Seller) and the founder of the Happy Wives Club, a community of more than 700,000 women in 110 countries around the world. I am a marriage advocate and never tire helping others create their own version of happily ever after.
When did this creative dream begin?
This creative dream truly began in 2010 with the start of my HappyWivesClub.com blog. After witnessing marriages falling by the wayside before ever having a chance to truly take root, I wanted to shine a positive spotlight on marriages around the globe.
Although I never fault the media with problems in our society as they are our greatest scapegoats, I do believe the introduction of more shows depicting wives as caricatures (Desperate Housewives, The Real Housewives of [fill in your town], and even as far back as the Stepford Wives) has caused women to become less confident in (and proud to be) a wife. I wanted to change that.
How did the concept of this book get started?
It began 18 months after I first launched my blog. I realized that on our Facebook community page (that now has nearly 710,000 women), whenever I would ask a woman married 25 years or more, “What is your secret to a happy marriage,” the answer of a woman in South Africa sounded the same as a woman in South America. A woman in the Philippines gave the same response as a woman in America. I wondered, “Is it possible there is but one universal secret to a happy marriage?” I pitched that to my agent and subsequently to my publisher and the rest is history.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
A book like this has never been written. At least not to my knowledge or to the knowledge of anyone I know in publishing. This is a marriage book, but it is neither a memoir nor a how-to book. I think it’s best been described by one of the editors at Brides Magazine who devoured the book in two days, “It’s like Eat, Pray, Love, but not down on marriage!”
The book is my journey around the world in search of the universal secret to a happy marriage. I traveled to 12 countries and 6 continents ,and I take every reader with me on this journey as I learn about the cultures, eat the native foods, and meet amazing couples who have been happily married at least a quarter of a century. It was quite the undertaking, but based on the overwhelmingly positive response I’ve received, this book was certainly needed.
What are the goals and intentions of this book?
To change the way the world sees marriage. I know that’s a lofty goal, but I have to tell you, it’s exactly what this book has been doing. For some people, just believing happy marriages exist is the precipitous for their determination to create their own happily ever after. When you can show people that the principles of building and sustaining a great marriage aren’t that complicated and anyone can do it, you inspire them to reach for greatness. I want people to stop asking, “What makes a marriage work?” and to begin asking, “What makes a marriage great?”
How does your project create community?
Well, it’s brought together over 700,000 women in more than 110 countries around the world, and we continue to grow by approximately 1,000 women each day. These are women who believe in this same mission of shining a positive spotlight on marriage and creating the marriages of their dreams. We are an active community and we are a community of doers. I love that!
Many have creative ideas but trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly . . . but then enthusiasm drizzles off?
I’m one of them. I have more ideas by the time I take a shower in the morning than many will have throughout their entire lifetime. What I’ve learned to do—and this project has been my greatest example of what happens when you learn to do this successfully—is to write down most ideas, but not to move on to the next until I’ve given the current idea everything I’ve got. Perseverance is the name of the game. There is still time to get to the other projects, but the one that has not only you excited, but has been vetted by those around you and you’ve confirmed there is a need for it, success will only come if you see it through to the end.
Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your book. Where did the ideas come from? How many are involved in the process? Does each contributer have a specific role?
For this book, it was me, my husband, and an amazing editor, Bryan Norman. I ran every idea through my husband (he and I are a team in every sense of the word), and as I was traveling the world, I’d write chapters and send them to Bryan. I’d tell him what I wanted to convey in each chapter and if I didn’t do that with absolute precision, he’d help me get there. For authors, the editing process can be the most tedious because we can take criticism personal. But when you are trying to write a book that will transform hearts around the world, a good editor is the second most important person in the process (and it could be argued, especially in the case of this book, that they are the first).
What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
This book has been an enormous blessing from the beginning. I was fortunate to have a publisher who not only believed in the importance of this book but backed it with the dollars and resources to see it through. So I guess the hardest part has been continuing to promote the book when I’d really prefer not to as most authors aren’t big on promoting their own work (hand in the air here). But if we want the message to spread beyond our core community, we cannot stop a week after the book has been released. We have to continue in the months and years ahead. That is what creates a successful book.
Oh, I could write another book just on this question alone. The most important is probably the power of perseverance. The number of projects I could have seen to success if I’d just continued without moving on to the next “great idea” is probably much greater than a number I’d like to count.
Have there been any unexpected surprises?
These questions just keep getting harder and harder because this is another one I could write an entire book about. My greatest surprise, I suppose, has been how much this journey has strengthened my own marriage. When you set out on a journey with the intention of being an intentional learner, rather than a teacher, the surprises never end.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about starting your project?
That it just happened overnight and didn’t take any work. Ideas to not make its way around the world with no work. The most successful bloggers work 12-14 hours a day. When I was a general manager for a Hilton-family property, I thought there was no way I’d ever have a job where I worked more hours. Surprise! Try being a blogger with a community of close to a million women and an author.
What are some ways you promote your book?
Social media and traditional media are two of the largest pieces. Many forget the importance of going beyond your community and reaching those in other’s communities (like this one).
Creating something is one skill. Marketing and promoting it is an entirely different skill set. How has that gone for you? Shocked by the amount of work marketing takes? Or pleasantly surprised?
I was a Director of Sales & Marketing in the hotel industry before I became a general manager so, thankfully, I was fully versed in what it takes to market a product successfully. That being said, doing it for yourself presents a level of discomfort you have to push through in order to be successful. It’s one thing to market someone else’s product and an altogether more difficult experience to do it for your own. Talking about yourself can feel more vulnerable than most are comfortable with (hand in the air) and having pride in your work while remaining humble is an interest tightrope to walk across.
Any marketing mistakes you would avoid?
Hmmm . . . I used what my husband called the, “Everything AND the kitchen sink approach.” So no, I wouldn’t avoid any marketing options. Just stay within your budget and do as much as you can yourself.
What social network has worked best for you?
Facebook. By far my favorite social network. I know it drives most brands crazy, which is why I recently wrote this post for other bloggers and authors on my Top 10 Facebook Best Practices.
Where do you see this project in five years?
Continuing to grow and spread around the globe. The book is in more than 10 countries now, the US, Canada, UK, and Australia being the largest, and is being translated by publishers in Germany and Latin America as we speak. I expect the book to continue being translated into other languages around the globe.
How can we find your creative dream come true?
Two places. HappyWivesClubBook.com is the site for my book and HappyWivesClub.com is the site for my blog. Right now, Amazon.com has the book on sale for more than 20% off, and you can also read all the 5-star reviews from readers there.