Amy Newmark was a writer, speaker, Wall Street analyst and business executive in the worlds of finance and telecommunications for more than 30 years. Today she is publisher, editor-in-chief and coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Since 2008, when Amy, her husband, and an investor group bought the company from its founders, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, she has published more than 100 new books, doubling the number of Chicken Soup for the Soul titles in print today.
As publisher, Amy is credited with revitalizing the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand. She redesigned the look of the book covers and interiors, and changed the format of the title so that the books can cover topics of interest to today’s readers. This has led to national bestsellers such as Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. The number of stories submitted for Chicken Soup for the Soul books has soared as a result, with most books attracting four or five thousand submissions for only 101 slots.
By compiling inspirational and aspirational true stories curated from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences, Amy has kept the 21-year-old Chicken Soup for the Soul brand fresh and relevant, and still part of the social zeitgeist. Reading stories from each book has also made a difference in her own life. “I’ve learned how to have better personal relationships, how to focus on what's important, how to stay thin and fit, how to look for the positive in every situation, and how to put in perspective the daily ups and downs of life,” Amy says.
Amy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where she majored in Portuguese and minored in French. During her junior and senior years, she researched and wrote a thesis about popular, spoken-word poetry in Brazil, which involved living in Brazil for several months, traveling throughout its impoverished northeast region, and meeting with poets and writers to collect their stories. She is delighted to have come full circle in her writing career—from collecting poetry “from the people” in Brazil as a 20-year-old to, three decades later, collecting stories and poems “from the people” for Chicken Soup for the Soul.
She has a national syndicated newspaper column and is a frequent radio guest, passing along the real-life lessons and useful tips she has picked up from reading and editing thousands of Chicken Soup for the Soul stories.
Her story Maverick with a Mission will be available for purchase in October. You can view the announcement on Amazon here.
Here is a portion of the interview:
Here is a portion of the interview:
How many titles do you publish per year? It varies but it’s never less than one a month on average. Some years we publish a lot more. And then I complain I have no life, but of course I’m the one who came up with all those titles!
How many submissions do you receive per book? We average a few thousand submissions for each book, sometimes even five or six thousand! We read every submission.
Who comes up with the themes? We get together a few times a year and talk about what’s going on out there in the world, what people are talking about, what sub-themes we see in the stories we are reading for our current topics, and then we come up with our new topics for the coming year. Most of the books are my inventions, ultimately, along with the titles.
I noticed editors or partnerships change for each title, how does this work? I have started inviting experts in different fields to co-host books with me, either as foreword writers or as coauthors. When they are coauthors, we work together on choosing the final 101 stories and develop the themes of the book together.