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August 4, 2022 41 mins

Zibby Owens is the author of Bookends, the force behind the new publishing house Zibby Books and the host of her award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. 

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
I'm Sam Edis and I'm Amy Nelson. Welcome to What's
Her Story? With Sam and Amy. This is a show
about the world's most remarkable women, their professional and personal journeys. Together,
we'll hear from gold medalists, best selling authors, and leaders
of the world's most iconic brands. Listen every Thursday or
join the conversation anytime on Instagram at What's Her Story Podcast.

(00:30):
Zimby Owens is the author of Bookends, the force behind
the new publishing house Zimbi Books, and the host of
her award winning podcast, Moms don't have time to read books,
they let start with the web story. You were a
married Mamma four and fell in love with your tennis coach.
What happened? My pads crossed with Kyle in a way

(00:51):
I never expected, nor was I looking for. He was
filling in for my son's regular tennis coach, and my
son really didn't like tennis, but I was kind of
forcing him to do it because he was seven and
a half at the time and had boundless energy, and
it was the middle of winter, so what else was
I going to do? Anyway, Kyle filled in for this
lesson and after being on the court with my son

(01:13):
for maybe twenty minutes. He called me onto the court
and said, you know, your son really doesn't like tennis,
and I was like, yeah, I know. And he's like, well,
maybe he shouldn't. I don't think he'd be taking tennis lessons.
And I was like, well I do, and he was like,
well I don't think he should be taking tennis lessons
with me. I was like, okay, I'm like, first of all,
he wasn't even supposed to be the tentnis teacher today,

(01:35):
Like what what is this? So um, I was sort
of annoyed by the whole thing. But then he was
sort of explaining how he had coached people on the
w A tour and was like recruited you know. It
was like obviously he was just doing his buddy a favor.
So then I was singing, well, what maybe this will
be good for me because I love tennis. I've been
playing my whole life. And I was like, well, I
bought all these lessons. Maybe I'll just play. I'll take

(01:57):
your lessons in the spring or something when I start playing. Anyway,
we got to know each other playing tennis, and very
innocently just I was helping him with the girls he
was dating, and we were getting to know each other,
and then by the end of the summer, I just
didn't want those sessions to end. And we did have
this one moment where I was crying one day coming
to tennis with an issue with one of my kids,

(02:19):
and we were just sort of walking down the court
on the way to the lesson, and I was crying,
and just like any nice person would do, he kind
of put his hand on my back and he like
didn't want to take his hand hand up. He told
me later, but at the time I was just like, oh,
my gosh, no one has been this like, this is
just so kind and I feel so seen and understood.

(02:41):
And anyway, it's You'll have to read the book to
find out the rest. But basically it was un planned
and I thought my life is going one way and
it ended up going another. And I know this sounds
cheesy to say he was my soulmate, but I really
do feel that are like the energy between the two
of us, it's really well aligned, and it's being together

(03:03):
has allowed both of us to pursue our professional passions
and build businesses and have this home base that allows
us to be more creative, and it's just this very
great thing, not to say every moment it's perfect, which
you know, we've been together now for what, I don't know,
seven years or something, we've been married for five years.
We are just you know, we are still just a

(03:24):
married people with stresses of family and doug and whatever.
So it's you know, nothing is perfection, but we do
have this just amazing connection Zimby. I would imagine at
the time, even moms who weren't gossipy, we're probably in
some ways jealous that here was his mom, seemingly just
like them, who had taken a leap and been briefed
and pursued love at a time when as moms we're

(03:47):
constantly told it has to be about the kids and
sacrificing and for other people, and it can't be about ourselves.
So what was it in you that created that bravery,
that said, you know, I know for a short period
of time, I am going to hurt people, but long
term it's better for everyone. One piece I think is
having gone through a lot of loss at a young

(04:07):
age or young ish. I was in my twenties when
I lost my best friend at nine eleven, and she
had been my roommate for many, many years, and and
she just disappeared into thin air. That day, she worked
on the floor that the first Tower had, so we
assume that's where she was, but who knows. I learned
in that instant that nothing on this earth is permittent,
and that all of us, from one minute to the next,

(04:30):
it could be over and we only get to do
this once. You know. My dad has this whole motto
of life's too short to be miserable. You know, that's
how he lives his life. And I really feel like
I got to a point where I was like, I
only get to live once, and I can't go down
this path really anymore, and I have to do something.

(04:53):
There was this moment which I read about in the book,
where I had this real turning point. I was just
sitting on the side of the road sobbing after Kyle
like sent me this nice song and um and the
song basically was saying to me like I love you,
I'm gonna let you go type of thing like where never,
this is never going to happen. And I just was like,
how how can I do this? And I was just

(05:16):
so and I felt so trapped and so and Ultimately,
I just decided like I just couldn't go on the
way life had been rolling out for me, and so
I did it. And of course I'm lucky and that
I had the resources, I had support of my family
and financial wherewithal to be able to do this and
make this decision, which I know many women do not,

(05:37):
and I'm aware of that, and I feel very lucky
that I was in that position. And I don't take
it for granted for a second, but ultimately, true love
like this, and you know, how do you how do
you just say no because it's I don't know. I
just felt like it was a gift from God and
I couldn't turn it down. Do you think most people
marry for that idea of true love or do you

(05:59):
think it's different and our culture today, I think that
people marry young and that even if you're thirty or
thirty two, but like it's young, there's so much change ahead,
there's so much life, and it's almost a miracle. I
have friends I was just talking to you last night
who have been married for twenty years and I was

(06:20):
just looking them like, how, like that's amazing to me.
That Also my background, my parents are divorced. My grandparents
are divorced. Everyone's very, very happy with their second husband's
Everyone has very nice relationships with everybody. I mean, it's
it's fine. It's just like, how are you doing that?
How are you keeping it interesting? How are you? Although
then I say that to my to Kyle, and he's like, well,

(06:41):
what do you mean, We're not gonna marry in twenty years.
I'm like, well, of course we are. You know, I'm
just joking. But I do think that we change as
we get older so much. I am completely a different
person than I was my d n a. Everything has
shifted and as things happen to me and to the world,

(07:02):
and it's hard to match. Right If you're looking for
this perfect puzzle piece, you might have one at the time,
but then if your shape changes, then the other shape
is not going to fit in perfectly anymore. And it's
not their fault. It's you growing, expanding, going in a
different direction. So do I think people marry for the

(07:24):
right reasons? I think yes, not everybody, but I think
there's something so hopeful. I love weddings. I I love
that moment of excitement and seeing the families all excited
and the love and all that. I feel like there is,
there's a lot of hope. I don't think most people
go into that day of their lives being like, all right, fine,

(07:44):
So I believe at the time, and I think that
a lot of things happen to people that are that
are not in their controls, things they couldn't have seen
coming that either. You know, it's like a it's like
a rocky boat at sea. You're it can sometimes throw
people together and on side of the boat even closer,
but it could also split them up. And it's not

(08:05):
their fault. It's not because they weren't trying to hold on.
It's funny. I agree with a lot of what you said,
but I don't agree with the part about age because
I know some people that you know are incredible couples
who are college sweethearts, and then I know other people who,
let's say, use their age in the other way and said,
oh no, I'm thirty nine, I have to marry the
first available person, like it was musical chairs. So I

(08:27):
think many people don't have that role model of marrying
for passion and love. And in many ways, by making
sure this book got published, that Bookends was out there
in the world. You've become that role model. I imagine
you've received lots of letters from people who have been
inspired by your story to make their own changes. I've
gotten a lot of letters saying I've inspired people a lot.

(08:49):
Many of them have to do with books they're writing.
You've inspired me to keep going with that. But people
are relating to all different parts of the book, and
that pieces, yes, definitely one of them. Every time I
thought about giving up on this book, I kept going
back to this moment where I was at this lovely
resort and there was a marshmallow making s'mores fest around

(09:12):
the campfire type thing, and I of course ran right
over because I love smores. So I was like the
only grown up with Kyle who did not have a
kid with them around this campfire. And there was this
bedraggled mom next to me who and Kyle and I
that was our first trip. We've only been together, I
don't know, a couple of months, and we were like
all cuddly and you know, everything was perfect, and I

(09:34):
could see her just looking at us, you know, like
just staring at us as like her not very nice
husband was like ignoring the kids, and they were like
wanting to play in the fire and all this stuff.
And after a few minutes, she just looked at me
and sighed, and she's like, what I wouldn't give to
have that for just one minute. And I was like,
but you don't understand, like we've only we just got

(09:56):
to get like I have four kids at home, like
you know, so um, I don't know, just that sense
of you know. I could just see it in her eyes,
feeling so discouraged, and she just felt so, I don't know.
If we only get to do this once, I don't know.
And so if I can inspire anybody to find something,

(10:17):
even if you can't wholesale up end your life, if
there's some piece of yourself you can reclaim somehow, if
it's professional or personal or anything that can help you
feel more grounded and more you. And if I can
play a role in inspiring any of that, not to
say I'm trying to break up anybody's marriage or whatever,

(10:38):
but then I'll be happy about that. And now a
quick break. So take us on the journey of how
you got your book published. When Stacy died on nine eleven,
I had been in business school for two weeks and
I had gone to business school because even though I
had always wanted to be a writer, I could never

(10:58):
quite see the direct path, which I now know almost
every writer says the same thing to being a writer.
Right out of school, and I went into marketing and
advertising and brand management, and I was really interested and
I am interested in brands and the relationships people formed
with brands, and so I went to school to pursue
that and to continue with marketing. And also, I've always

(11:19):
been really entrepreneurial and had an idea for a business,
which I have like every day, and I wanted to
go pursue that. So um I was at business school,
and I realized very quickly that as passionate as I
was about reading and writing in that whole world, there
were people who were just as passionate about marketing. I'm like, well,
I'm doing marketing as like a stop gap while until

(11:41):
I can do what I really want to do, Whereas
you know, Jenny and row One was like, I've always
wanted to do marketing. This is like amazing, Like okay,
you should do marketing. Then, so I learned that. And
I also had this moment where I was like, if
Stacy died at her desk, and I'm going to die
at my desk, and then I better be bringing my
ool self. I cannot just dial it in. She had

(12:02):
taken a job to help pat her business school applications
and had only been added a couple of months and
that was it. And I'm like, I just can't do this.
I can't sit here and come up with ways to
sell peppers from cookies anymore. So I decided to write
a book. I decided to take a year off, and
I had lost stacy. But then, as I write about
in the book for their close people to me and
had just really had a time of it, and I,

(12:25):
much as much for my own sanity as for anything else,
decided to take a year off and write a book
about it. I ended up writing four books, like in
close succession, four drafts of the same book. First memoir,
then novel, memoir, novel, And I tried to sell my
story as a novel because at that time I wasn't
comfortable and actually I'm kind of glad about this um
selling it as my own story and all the people

(12:47):
involved and everything, and it didn't sell. And I mean,
while I had graduated and told everybody in the world
I was going to write a book, and it never
occurred to me that nobody would buy my book. Like
I just thought, if I could just do this enough,
or I could rewrite it enough time, someone will buy
this book. And I, you know, in retrospect, I had
only sent it to like six publishers, and if it
were today and you could like easily attach and send

(13:09):
as much as you wanted, maybe there But at the
time people said that it was too soon to have
a novel about nine eleven. Anyway, fast forward, I did
end up ghost writing a book after that, But then
I ended up having kids, and I had started with twins,
and I stayed home for eleven years and did not
try to write another book for a long time. When
I got divorced and finally had time to myself and

(13:32):
remembered what it was like to you know, have a
weekend without a million birthday parties and and all that,
I went back to writing, and I wanted to. I
start writing a lot of parenting essays and I wanted
to try to sell those as a book, but I
had no platform, which is part of the reason why
I started Moms don't have time to read books. My podcast,
which I come out with every Day, which has not
become really successful, and that's amazing. I wanted to do that,

(13:55):
but I talked to a few agents. They didn't think
that would sell. Then I put that aside. Then I
spoke to another agent and I said, well, actually, what
I really want to write is what it's like to
fall in love again at forty and I want to
call that forty love and write my whole like love story.
And she was like, that sounds amazing. So I wrote
that whole book. And then I was like, I can't

(14:15):
sell this book. This is so private and I can't
only write the love story without the right context here,
and and then I showed um that I wrote it
as a novel, and then I and then I showed
a book coach and she was like, you're not even
telling your whole life, Like you can't just have a
memoir and lead out giant things even like your family
history and all that stuff. So then I put all

(14:38):
those aside, and that was more books i'd written and
decided to try to I was like, I can't just
keep writing these books. Maybe I need somebody at the
publishing house to help me. So I was like, I'll
try to sell it on proposal. So then I did
that twice and that didn't sell. I wanted to sell
a book called Happy Sad, Happy Sad, and then this
whole other like time based book, and it was mostly
to try to find a way to tell link all

(14:59):
these stories that I and I hadn't found like a
good packaging device for it until I came up with
this books related piece and decided to link all my
stories through books. And I was like, I know this
is going to sell it, It's going to sell and
then and then I really, you know, my confidence wayne
as I got rejections for that, but anyway, I'll just

(15:20):
say it's sold. And I did end up with the
perfect editor for me, named Carmen Johnson. She did help
me figure out the best way. I mean, I could
tell my story a million ways. I could write a
book about you know, this pair of reading glasses, like
I can write about anything. I just needed some direction
and she helped me and and I did it, and

(15:40):
then that became book Ends. So that was a long
way of saying it was not easy. And I would
show up to my podcast after getting a rejection or
realizing a certain proposal would not become a book and
just that they're being like why can I not do this?
Like why does it seem so easy? For every day
I get pitched like a basilion books? How did they

(16:00):
all sell their books? What is wrong with me? Why
can I not do this? And I never really worried,
like I feel like I'm a good writer, and I
don't often say good things about myself, but I feel
confident that, like I know what word comes after the
next word, and I'm not some sort of literary writer,
but I can express my feelings through words. And I
was like, I can do this, like I just need

(16:23):
the opportunity. So yes, it was a long road. How
did you come to terms with dealing with the constant knows?
You know? Not? Well? I remember this one trip I
went to London because I had won something called a
Lovey Award for my podcast, and I traveled there to
go to the ward ceremony and it was very exciting.
I got a fancy dress and like this whole thing.

(16:44):
But while I was there, I got like the final
no for this one proposal, and I got it like
in the middle of the night because of London timing
and whatever, and I just sat in the bathroom, crying
like because what I really want. I'm like, yeah, it's nice,
I got this word, but I really wanted was the
book deal? Right? And then I would just like wait
a little bit, and I was like, I have to

(17:05):
get this out. I would wallow. I'm not gonna lie.
There was a little wallowing involved and perhaps some extra
food and you know, but you know, Kyle was there
and wouldn't let me quit. You know, it's like, you're
gonna get this, so you're gonna find your way. It's
you know, don't give up. And and so I would
let time pass and then I would just try again,

(17:27):
try another way. And you know, it's like if I
had a whole thing of keys, like of a janitor
or something. You know, it's like I kept being like, Okay,
I'm gonna pull out another key. Let me try another
way to get into this story. And so I'm very
appreciative to him, and and also just this nagging feeling
like it is my purpose to put this out there.

(17:50):
I don't know why. It sounds like very high and mighty,
but I I have just felt like this absolute compulsion
to get the story out there. Has this book put
more pressure on your relationship with Kyle. No, I don't
feel that way. I mean I would say to anyone like,
we are a regular couple now, like I just said
to you. I mean, I don't make any false claims
that there is perfection in any relationship. But I do

(18:13):
feel like we are very well suited and that we
were meant to be together. That said, you know, we
tried to adopt a puppy last week and I was like,
this is gonna just like fill us. Do you know,
like when you're not going to survive this where it's
like four thirty in the morning and I'm like, come downstairs.
The puppy won't stop biting my legs, you know. So

(18:34):
um uh. We still have like every couple has stuff,
and it is stressful. I have four kids and X
has been a dog life, two big jobs. I mean,
there is stuff, so there's always stuff, but we always
make up and we're quick to apologize. I think there's
so many ways to quote unquote argue or fight or

(18:57):
whatever where it doesn't have to be knockdown drag. How
do you know, emotional firestorm. I mean I used to
have a hard time apologizing sometimes and now I'm always
like if he's like, you know, I really don't appreciate that.
You know, I don't know. You left to go to
the camp drop off without me when I was waiting,

(19:18):
and instead of being like, well, you know, I might
start out with them, but then I quickly like, you
know what, You're right, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, and I
am sorry. And he is also good at explaining why
it hurt his feelings or so it takes two, but
he is good at explaining, and I understand once he explains,
and then we move on. So I think the rebound

(19:40):
from whatever conflict is also really important and and all that.
In your book, you're forthcoming about the fact that your
father started Blackstone Group and what it was like to
be the daughter of someone so successful. In full disclosure,
I knew of you because of your podcast. The person
who introduced us never even mentioned you know, your family,

(20:00):
and I don't even know that I knew about your
dad until I read your book. I think it's a
testament to you that you've built your own, very independent
career from him. Yeah, I was really nervous about writing
all of this. There were things in there that I
have kind of been hiding forever and was happy. I
never wanted someone to look at me and make judgments

(20:23):
without knowing me. My whole family, including my dad. By
the way, we're very down to earth even though our lives,
you know, because we've been the beneficiaries of all of
this luck and hard work and whatever. You know, I
think that's good. I don't usually. I am super proud
of my dad, very very very deeply proud, and he

(20:46):
has shown me what it's like. I've gotten to be
there while he's formed this business, gone through all of
his Brazilian setbacks, which he writes about it in his
own book called What It Takes, And you know, it
wasn't a straight path for him either, and he's kept
going and I've learned so much from him and the
way he runs his business and his complete um integrity

(21:11):
in the way he works, in honesty and all of that.
Like he's a great role model for me. So I'm
not ashamed. I'm very very proud, but I don't think
it's relevant in the every day And you know, people
might jump to conclusions that are not accurate about me
or who I am, or my values or anything based
on that. I know there's so much anti wealth sentiment

(21:34):
right now, And I know I am a beneficiary of this,
and I don't take it lightly. I do a lot
to give back. I am trying to give back and
make a difference in everything I do. But I certainly
I don't want to like flaunt it. I'm just not
one of those people. You were on the show and

(21:54):
you're a writer because of the path you've carved for yourself. Yeah,
I mean, I have not asked him for a single
for help getting a single guest, like I made that decision.
He knows everyone in the world, you know. But that's
not how I've built this at all. Um. But I
will say I only started this four years ago and
it's been the wildest ride imaginable. But I only started

(22:15):
my podcast in March April, and now it's two and
so much has changed. So even before then, I still
when I was a stay at home mom, I still
many people didn't know that, or you know, as I
showed up in sweatpants or something at Little Maestros or whatever.
So again, I'm not ashamed. I'm super proud, but it's

(22:36):
just not something I lead with because of all of
the assumptions that can be made about me that are
totally false. When you did, you know, kind of come
back with full force. Was it hard to take those
initial steps and setting up companies and and moving those
forwards so quickly, because as you mentioned, it has been
a wild ride, like you have done a lot in
a short period of time. Start off with just some

(22:57):
essays that I would write on the weekends and I
would post it on Medium and then it would kind
of be done, or I would post it to some site.
Then it started with the podcast, and that was one
episode a week, which I felt like was a lot.
And I remember trying to pitch my show to a
network and being like they were like, you'd have to
go to twice a week, and I was like, oh,
I don't think I can do that, Like that's just
too much work. And I know Sam and I have

(23:18):
had long talks about the fact that why do I
feel like I need to do this seven days a week.
Wouldn't the consumer be fine with just once or twice
a week? Might those episodes be more listened to? And
all those things are probably right, And ultimately I feel like,
I obviously just want to keep doing this seven days
a week, or I would stop. So I obviously just
want to keep doing it this way. It's a lot,

(23:40):
but now it's okay, Now it's really a lot. Now
it's a It's funny because I went from like once
a week reading doing this these emails, um and all
this to like Kyle being saying, you know, it might
be easier if you weren't doing all of your work
all day long on the go. You might actually need

(24:01):
to sit in one place, and might you might find
it more efficient than than the way you're doing things
where you're constantly at drop off or pick up or
you know, doing things on your phone or um. It
wasn't until I started the publishing business that it kind
of sunk me. Um, when I started that last year.

(24:26):
Now I actually have to like sit at a desk
all day long. And I never really wanted that. I
wanted to be able to jump up. And I still
there are things I won't give up. I always pick
up my kids in the afternoon, so I won't schedule
anything from you know, two thirty until four or something,
so I can pick them up and bring them home
and spend a lot of time of them. And then
even in the afternoons, I try so hard not to
schedule anything if I can avoid it, except for like

(24:48):
a call or emails or something. But now it's gotten
to be more. I mean, now there's almost an inhuman
amount of stuff I'm supposed to be doing every week,
and I'm trying my best, but some days I'm like,
I can't do this anymore. And then when one little
thing goes wrong, right, like one other thing, maybe a

(25:08):
child needs to change school, like my daughter just had
foot surgery, you know, like it's so precariously balanced that
the littlest extra thing like knocks me down, like knocks
everything down like a house of cards. And then I'm like,
how I can't do this. I can manage my life.
And then I go crazy and I cry and you know,

(25:28):
and then that thing resolves and I kind of pick up,
and I'm like, all right, I'm going to try to
balance on this like tiny little ledge again until I
get knocked off again. Should I scale back? I absolutely should?
Am I going to? I am not? So I just
have to live with that. And I've also realized so
many things about myself now that I'm doing this work
full time and all this stuff, like I actually really

(25:50):
like being overwhelmed and stressed and busy and having lots
of things going on at the same time, Like even
the even the weeks were like with the book writing
that I had to cancel things and only focus on
the manuscript. That was an interesting challenge. Um I deleted
thirty thousand words like close to the end of the
book and had to sew it all back together. It

(26:11):
was interesting. But I was like, I remember posting. I'm like,
oh my gosh, I just spent nine hours in my manuscript,
you know, and all these authors show back like yep,
that's that's the life of an author, you know that.
And I'm like, well, I can't. I can't do that.
I can't. I can't sit and spend nine hours and
a manuscript every day, like I write books, but I
need all that stuff. I don't know why. I don't
know what it says about me, you know. Then I'm like, well,

(26:34):
of course I ended up having four kids. I'm like,
there's something about the multi like inputs. Well all said
to me when I read The Dog Story. So so
I just want to share with our listeners about the
Dog Story. So, as Zimby mentioned, I've spent time with
her trying to help Zimby reduce her workload because it
is truly inhuman how much she does. So here's what

(26:55):
she does. She is a publishing house with legit amazing authors.
She has two podcast us of her own and even
a network of other people's podcasts. She has four children,
a newish husband, a dog, and a new career as
an author. Your new book and you just announced a
novel that you and and our content site, mom Moms

(27:15):
Don't Have Time Too, is our new content and community site.
So it used to be Moms and have Time to write,
but now we've just relaunched that for personal essays and
book reviews and like we're trying to do a whole
lifestyle site. So Amy Zimby was on Good Morning America
last week to talk about her book you know every
author's dream, and this segment before her was a dog
rescue segment about six puppies who needed a home, and

(27:39):
guess what happened next. Zimby face times Kyle from Good
Morning America to get his blessing to adopt one of
the puppies. Because of course that's what every author who's
about to go on book toward needs, like a like
a hole in their head. So they start this segment
not by announcing Zimby's new book, but announcing that she
is the proud owner of a new puppy. And I

(28:01):
was like, okay, I guess I can't change my mind now.
I mean I said that live jokingly, like huh huh.
And then I was like, and that was not how
I was planning on telling my kids. They didn't tell
me they were going to do that. I didn't know that.
And I was like, okay, kids, you know, what do
you think you know? Because I was going to go
home and explain it. I didn't even think it through.

(28:22):
I didn't have time to think it through. It was
like a two minute thing, and it was a really
cute puppy, and I, I don't know, I just acted impulsively,
and I was like, my whole thing is like saying yes,
and then I'll figure it out, you know, I'll just
I'll figure it out. It'll be okay. But this was
like not okay, and I feel terrible about it. And
now the dog is with the trainer for a couple

(28:42):
of months and and then we'll figure it out then
what what to do. But obviously that didn't make any sense.
I knew in the back of my mind, not even
the back. I knew in the front of my mind
that didn't make any sense and that I was doing
it anyway. And like my brother was just like I
don't understand. You have this like wish you just try
to make your life too complicated, Like you make these

(29:05):
decisions which are completely untenable, Like you just why do
you do that? There's a part of it I relate to.
You do thrive in a little bit of chaos. You
love to have a lot going on. I mean, you
make me look lazy, which is nearly impossible to do well.
One thing. I think that's really important to note here.
And SOB, I love that you say like you thrive
in chaos, that you like having a million different things

(29:26):
going on, because I feel like in society, I mean,
I think I said she thrives in chaos. It Bey
would not say that. I don't think chaos. It's just
a lot, a lot of stuff, a lot going on,
because I feel often that in society we like applaud
men who love to have a million things going on,
but we look at them myopically like it's all business related,
and like with women, we expect something different. But I too,

(29:49):
like Sam, like you, like I like to have a
lot going on too, I get bored otherwise, like I
like to have a million I have Like I said,
I have four children like you. Sam's got three. We
have companies, we have you know, all these things going on,
and it seems like I don't think people expect women
to embrace that. But I think it's awesome if that's
who you are. I don't think I totally realized it

(30:10):
until you know, But then I had this one person
called me an adrenaline junkie that it's like not a
good thing that I thrive on that adrenaline that comes
when you're like meeting a deadline or racing around. But
instead of bungee jumping, you are starting book imprints, which
is great. Yeah, I mean I don't know if it's great.
It is what it is. And you know what you're

(30:30):
saying Sam about I do well in a little bit
of chaos, like because when it gets too much, I'm
like flat on my back, like I can't handle it.
When it goes up that nth degree, then I just can't.
And now a quick break, how do you think about
your business goals? Do you want your publishing imprint to

(30:51):
be the next HarperCollins. What are your goals? I do
not want it to be the next HarperCollins. I do
want to keep it small. I don't want to make
that many books. I would like to just prove that
it can be done differently. I'd like to be an
example of a way that authors can be taken better
care of. And I'd like other people to adopt some

(31:12):
of the things that we're doing. If something works, I'd
like it to be I'd like to just shift it
for people if I can, If I can be a
model of it. Um, Michael would be that I wouldn't
even I mean, I do want to keep doing it.
That's not what I'm saying, but that other people could
do it, and that everyone would have authors meet other
authors in the imprint like why not? I love that.

(31:33):
Can you share with us a few of the things
you're hoping to change? Sure? One thing is authors are
so supportive of each other. It's a unique thing. I
really believe in this community, in this industry. Nowhere else
like there weren't people in brand management who were like, okay,
like let's I'm here to support you. It. Maybe one

(31:54):
or two women, but it's not as an industry wide.
I feel there's very little competition. There's laboration across the
board so much so one of the things I'm trying
to do is is create more of a sense of
community among the authors and having them continue to lift
each other up. So we have profit sharing among all
of our authors and our team, so sevent center net
profits go back to the authors and the team of

(32:18):
that given year. In that class of authors we are
uh we have seven hundred plus and we're capping it
now at book ambassadors all over the country and they're
working with their local bookstores and having events and spreading
the word because word of mouth I think is the
most effective way to spread the news about a book.
We have an Indie Bookseller Advisory Board, so we're in

(32:39):
touch with them and seeing what they want how we
can work most effectively. We have a best selling Women
Author Advisory Board, and they help us out and help
the authors out. We are partnering with brands and are
excited to expand that a lot and have different brand
partners for some of our first books lined up. We
have just the way we structure the time. We have
people avail able to talk about social media, like we

(33:01):
basically invest in the authors and not in the books,
so we'll help an author like what should your website
look like? What how is your social media? Like, let's
take stock of your whole you know, framework, and we're
gonna help you. You know, we can't always make you
a new website, but we can say like, well, here
are something we suggest or what do you think about this?
Or whatever? And we're doing twelve books a year because

(33:24):
and we have other stuff that I'm not like announcing
that I think is going to be really cool as
we're launching it, but I don't, you know, I can't.
I'm gonna save a few things, but we're we've recently
decided we're gonna launch paperback and hard cover at the
same time, so uh, people readers can get the format
that they want. I had so many of my friends,
even like my college friends, be like, well, I always

(33:45):
wait for the paperback, and I'm like, that's so why,
Like I also don't think our small, tiny team has
the bandwidth to have a year where we launched twelve
titles and then twelve paperbacks Like that's ridiculous and why
I never know what to do even for my podcast
when people are like this is out in paperback now,
and I'm like, okay, Like I'm not going to do

(34:05):
another episode about it. I'm not gonna like what what
am I supposed to do with that? I already have
the book anyway. So we're doing that. Um, and that's
just one of many decisions. UM, we're trying things. We're
doing more of a community. We're doing a director consumer
box where we sell you know, like a subscription box
model that we're also going to offer so that people

(34:25):
don't even have to think about it they can just
get our books each time. And in acquiring books for
a year, I'm trying to create a year of reading
the way you would read it. So if this was
all you read in a year, you wouldn't want to
go from depressing memoir to depressing memoir, right, You'd need
I would need like a palate cleanser or something in between. So,

(34:46):
so we're not only acquiring one specific type of book,
but all books written by honestly smart, funny, talented, not
always funny, not always but unique voices of strong women
who have something to say and I have you know,
they're all based in the here and now and but

(35:07):
not like pandemic times like there it's something we can
relate to. Now, this is not going to be about
World War two, but it might be a love story
followed by a thriller or followed but you know, so
I'm just trying to mix it up. And anytime I
feel like I want to give up and I have
those moments, I have moments wort of like call like
I can't do this anymore. I'm just like I have

(35:29):
to do this. I have to do this because there
there has to be a new way for all these amazing,
aspiring authors out there, and already the authors who are
out there who are feeling just so unappreciated by the
big consolidating houses. And I don't think that's the fault
of the people who work in publishing. I think they

(35:50):
all a lot of them have great intentions, but structurally,
the way the industry is going, I don't think it's
the for the They don't have the best interests of
the authors at heart, and books are too important to
risk this. So that's why I keep going. And I'm
should we go to the speed round? Yes? What are
you reading right now? I am actually reading a book
by Natasha Sizzlow. I think I pronounced that right called

(36:12):
All signs point to Paris, and it's a memory of love,
loss and destiny and it is wonderful. How many books
a week do you read? I don't always finish. I
probably finish one book a week start to finish. Well,
that's not true because then I read for acquisition. But
books from my podcast, I probably read start to finish
one book a week, but I cover you know, eight

(36:34):
to ten books a week, so I read at least
part of eight to ten books for the podcast Who
Leaves You star Struck? Who Leaves Me star Struck? Basically
any movie star? What is your dream date? Not leaving
the house, like just like going to bed at nine o'clock,
because that's so pathetic watching TV now, that sounds terrible.

(36:55):
My dream date is I guess having dinner on the
water in Malibu with like an amazing chocolate chip cookie
for dessert. Well, lou Burns has been listening to our
conversation and he joins us at the end of each
episode with the male perspective. All this talk about books
and publishing and in business, um got me thinking about, like, like,

(37:19):
what do you spend your money on, you know, like
because you're you're obviously making way more money, you're doing
so much more to help other people make way more money.
And you've got four kids and a husband, and you've
got a lot going on. So when you get a
chance to just like splurge on yourself, what do you
What do you spend your money on. I'm tempted to
say I like to buy houses, but now, um, I

(37:43):
I slurge on travel. I splurge on trips. We travel
a lot to go back and forth to l A
and other other things. Um, but for just me, I
mean I had to get some new clothes from my
book tour, so uh, but I don't really like buying
clothes at all. And I was also focused on your
name to Zimby. I've never heard that name before. Is

(38:04):
there a story behind it? Um? It's short for Elizabeth,
And when I was in playgroup as a little girl,
a friend of mine couldn't pronounce Elizabeth, and so she
called me Zibbeth and my parents joined it to Zimby.
Apparently they named me Elizabeth to begin with because my
dad wanted to call me Betsy because he had never
met a Bessie who wasn't happy, But then I was born,

(38:26):
and I guess I didn't look like a Betsy. So
they went back to Elizabeth, and we're kind of hunting
around for a different nickname. Meanwhile, I have decided for
all four of my kids never to do that to them,
so they all have names that are not nicknameable names.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Zimby is her bravery.
It's not just that she pursued her passion and uprooted

(38:49):
her family's life for something she knew would ultimately be
better for everyone, but very difficult in the short term.
I mean, that was incredibly brave, but that same bravery
allowed her to become a force of nature in the
book world in just a few years. She calls herself
a formercy at home mom, but really she was always writing.
She was always working in some way. Yeah, I mean,

(39:11):
I think that's like a really big takeaway, is you know.
I think before you read Bookends, you might think that
Zimby wasn't working and she was raising her kids, which
in and of itself, having four kids is incredibly difficult
and a lot of work. But she was always doing
something else. She was never fully outside, and I think
it's worth noting for a lot of women like you.
You yourself might say, well I don't have a full

(39:32):
time job, Well you're still working. If you're doing you
know a million different things, right, if you're raising money
for someone, if you're running a school program or whatnot.
I mean, there's a bunch of different ways to keep
a foot in the door, right at whatever point in
your life you need that to be the situation. But
I think the thing about Zimby that's really interesting for
me is that she is someone who took rejection and

(39:54):
just kept going. It is so easy to give up
when you are rejected. I mean, it's the easier thing
to do because being rejected sucks. And Amy, it was
a very personal rejection. This was her memoir. Imagine how
personal that rejection feels. I know, I can't, you know,
I can't even imagine. It's that's a lot. But she

(40:15):
just she turned it into magic, right, not only eventually
writing this incredible book about her story, but then also
building a platform to disrupt the way that publishing works
and to tell other people's stories. Thanks for listening to
What's her Story with Sam and Amy? We would appreciate

(40:35):
it if you leave a view wherever you get your podcasts,
and of course, connect with us on social media at
What's Her Story podcast. What's Her Story with Sam and
Amy is powered by my company, The Riveter at The
Riveter dot c O and Sam's company, park Place Payments
at park place payments dot com. Thanks to our producer
Stacy Para and our male perspective, Blue Burns
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