Jane Atkinson – The Frog Whisperer

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

The Frog Whisperer: A Three-Step Approach to Finding Lasting Love

The Dog Whisperer Casar Milan talks about how humans can send energy down the leash and into their dogs, sometimes resulting in bad behavior. Well, The Frog Whisperer is not about controlling the frogs (the people you date) but about sending great vibes out to the world so that you’ll attract someone who is perfect for you.

Tell us something about yourself.

The Frog Whisperer is my second book. The Wealthy Speaker was born from my day job as a consultant to professional speakers. I’ve done quite a bit of writing and blogging on business topics as a result, but this is my first venture into the love zone.

What inspired you to write this book?

My own pain! Year after year of kissing frog after frog and always coming up short of my goal. At age 40, I decided to stop the cycle and went about finding love using a strategy from my consulting business. I put the Ready, Set, Leap strategy into play and low and below, I found my prince! I use that term loosely because I really wasn’t looking to be rescued. But when my formula worked for me, I realized that maybe I could help some other people save time and heartache.

How did you choose the title?

The original title was 99 Frogs. But I really couldn’t come up with a logical way to explain the number. And when I realized that dog whisperering was very similar to frog whisperer, all of the pieces of the puzzle came into play. I’m so grateful because I love it.I think all authors should LOVE their titles, it’s so much easier to get out and promote something that you love.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

The first manuscript was finished and in the can about a year after I was married. But I didn’t love it and I felt like I needed some time for my marriage to solidify in order to be credible. When I went back to it a year and a half later, I scrapped nearly the entire thing and started over with a much stronger vision of what I wanted to say. The problem with the first manuscript? The book didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up.

Because I help consultants and writers build their platforms as speakers, I understand the need for focus. Once I found my focus on this project, I was off to the races.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Well, this is going to sound crazy, but a psychic told me. When I was in my early 20’s, I sat down with a numerologist in Dallas and she told me that I was a Master Teacher and that I would write books. I had no notion to write at this point, but it always stuck in the back of my mind. And when I was trying to build my coaching platform in the speaking business, I realized very quickly how much writing a book would lend to my credibility. Writing The Wealthy Speaker was huge and the book has sold about 7,000 copies in a fairly small market.(How many people do you know that want to become professional speakers?)The reason it’s done well is because it’s a good book. Possibly my best work.I’m getting ready to do a 2nd edition and going back to it is a bit daunting because so much has changed in 5 years.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I really believe in Sam Horn’s idea of “finding a 3rd spot” to write outside your office or home. I go to a Starbucks that’s buried inside a big bookstore and put on my earphones and go to town. I can be very productive, especially if I stay off the wireless internet. I also have good success in my bedroom which overlooks the Thames River. Don’t get too excited though, it’s the Thames in London, Ontario not England (I wish!)The view inspires me because every day is different. I prop up the pillows, open the drapes wide and with puppy and kitty at my feet, I write.

For me, I think the key is to schedule the writing. If it’s not on my schedule, it won’t get done.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

The frog characters in my book are all real people. I didn’t use their names because some of them were douchy (can I use that term, douchy?) So one guy who played a big part in my assessment of men growing up was a super player – I called him The Badass. Another guy who owned a Fish Market, was The Fish Monger – that’s not meant to be derogatory as he was a super sweety pie, the old spice outdoorsy type. Another outdoorsy guy (I think I was drawn to the down to earth types) was The Woodman. He made beautiful furniture for a living.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What would you do differently?

Big lesson around starting from ground zero with a book. When I published my first book, I already had a following who were waiting to purchase. I had been blogging and sending out tips for 3 years before the book came out, so it wasn’t that difficult to move 6 or 7,000 copies. Selling to a cold market, without an established lists of fans or followers is a different ball of wax. In hindsight, I should have been blogging and writing for this market for 2 years in preparation.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I’m all over the place in my own tastes. Since I do the majority of my reading right before sleep, I try to keep it light and thoughtless. Occasionally a book like Eat, Pray, Love pulls me in and I can’t put it down. I’m also a huge Emily Giffin fan, her books are a great beach read – usually pretty light and fun with a solid dose of drama.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Well, this might sound ironic coming from someone who has jumped lanes, but the more you can stay in one field of expertise, the better. You want to become known for something and it’s difficult for your readers (followers/fans) to know you if you keep switching lanes. Plus, straddling two lanes can be exhausting!

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

My perfect reader is the frustrated single woman in her 30’s, 40’s or maybe 50’s. Someone who has been down the dating road a time or two and can’t figure out why they aren’t getting the results they want. She’s smart, educated and on a journey of continuous self reflection and improvement.