Birthing the Elephant – Author Interview – Karin Abarbanel

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     Karin Abarbanel is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and expert on start-up strategies for women. In addition to her new book, Birthing the Elephant, she is the author of How to Succeed on Your Own and 3 other how-to guides. She served as the spokesperson for Avon’s “Corporation to Cottage” initiative.

A frequent guest on broadcast/cable TV and radio, Karin has appeared on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America,” CNBC, and WCBS, among others. She has been a featured speaker at a
wide range of organizations and universities. She received her MA from Columbia University and her BA from Middlebury College



 Birthing the Elephant Synopsis:


Every day, More than 7,000 women put their dreams on the line by launching new ventures – that’s 200,000 women a month and more than 2.5 million a year. Surviving the ups and downs of entrepreneurship isn’t easy! While other guides focus on the 3Ms – money, marketing, and management, only Birthing the Elephant focuses on the 4th M: motivation, which lies at the heart of small-business success.Birthing the Elephant helps women master the “small-business mind game” – and mobilize the emotional resilience to reshape their identities and overcome obstacles on the path to success. Step by step, it gives women a road map to the first 22 months of their venture, showing them how to:
• make the shift from employee to entrepreneur
• anticipate problems and overcome obstacles
• manage the 4 stages of the launch cycle
• avoid 10 costly mistakes that many women make
Birthing the Elephant is the What to Expect When You’re Expecting for aspiring women entrepreneurs. It acts as an emotional GPS for their start-ups, helping them stay
motivated, focused, and on track during their launch stage.

Packed with inspirational frontline advice from cosmetics company founder Bobbi Brown, maternity-wear pioneer Liz Lange and 20+ other entrepreneurs and experts — Birthing the Elephant also offers quick tips, checklists, action steps, and a helpful resource guide. This inspiring action guides gives women the support they need to deliver on their dreams.

Birthing the Elephant’s target audiences range from younger women who are opting out of corporate life early in their careers to mothers seeking more flexibility to midlife career changers who are reinventing themselves by launching new businesses.



 Hi Karin,


Welcome to Paperback Writer. That’s a very impressive list of accomplishments.


Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for the book?


My co-author Bruce Freeman and I both began noticing several big trends: the huge numbers of women launching new ventures, the huge impact of the Internet on small business growth and success, and the major job insecurity that many employees are facing as a result of job losses and outsourcing. Looking at all these, we decided there was a need for a book that would help women in start-up mode whether the emotional challenges of the first 22 months of a launch.



Was it a light-bulb moment or something you thought about for a very long time?


I’d say we observed these issues for a while and then just decided the time was right.



How did you come up with the title?


We went through many different titles until the publisher suggested Birthing the Elephant because the book covers the first 22 months of a launch and that’s about how long it takes for a baby elephant to be born. We’ve come to love the title: it’s fun, very memorable, great for branding, and women totally “get” the image!



How did you find an agent and a publisher?


My co-author Bruce found our agent and she found our publisher, Ten Speed Press, which publishes What Color is Your Parachute. Ten Speed has been great to work with and very upbeat about the book.



Who reads your work in progress?


I usually turn to a small group of people. In this case, my co-author played a key role of course. I also shared sections of my work in progress with a few close friends and with my family, which has lots of writers!



 Who made a difference in the book’s quality?


I would say that the women we interviewed were a really fantastic group – and they added tremendously to the book’s real-world flavor and quality. The women entrepreneurs we spoke with were so generous in sharing their advice about smart moves and pitfalls to avoid. Their words and ideas really shine through the pages of Birthing the Elephant – and make it an especially supportive, upbeat action guide.



How long did it take you to complete the first draft?


It took about 8 months to get the first draft completed.



How long did it take from start to publication?


It took about 15 months to write, edit, copy edit, get permissions, and publish.



Do you have any advice for new authors?


If you have the drive to publish, then go for it! I think a first-rate proposal is very important, especially for a first-time author. Having a marketing platform is also key: publishers really want to know that you have the contacts and the drive to market your book very energetically. Another tip: explore both offline and online ways to promote your book. As an author, I’ve found the Internet very empowering: there are many ways to get the word out cost-effectively. This virtual tour interview is a great example!


Thank you, Karin, for stopping by Paperback Writer on your virtual tour. I wish you continued success in the rest of your tour.



BIRTHING THE ELEPHANT VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on April 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Karin’s tour, visit in April. Leave a comment on her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this blog on April 30!


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