Karen Salmansohn: From Zero to A Million Books and Beyond

Karen Salmansohn was flying up the ladder in the fast-paced NYC advertising world. But something was missing. She knew her passion lay elsewhere. And she wanted to write, tell stories and reach people on a deeper level.

So, she took a leap of faith and decided to become an author. Once she proclaimed her intent to the world, a series of odd “coincidences” seemed to drop from the sky that would accelerate her down her new path.

But, Karen isn’t so much someone who follows the “usual” path. She likes to create her own special way to do things. And that meant writing a different kind of book. One that required a huge investment not only in words, but in images, design, touch and feel. One that would take a lot more money and risk to do it the traditional way.

When she brought her new sensibility to the big publishers, they got spooked and started to back away. Not deterred, she assembled her own teams of designers, she formed collaborations with them to keep up front costs low and built a series of books herself. She knew publishers needed to be able to see, touch and feel the finished product for them to get how powerful what she was doing was.

And, when she started circling back to show them what her team had created, she was off to the races.

Today Karen has more than 1,000,000 copies of her books in print. Her newest, Instant Happy, just hit the shelves this month. And she’s building a new powerhouse brand blending her wit, wisdom and design aesthetic to create inspirational and educational posters for school campaigns. Her first poster “curriculum” focused on anti-bullying.

In this week’s episode, we explore Karen’s fascinating and constantly evolving journey.

Enjoy! And if you’d prefer to listen to the mp3 version, just subscribe on iTunes.

With gratitude,

Jonathan

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