Karen Stanley was recently interviewed by TheCelebrity.Online Magazine and below is the Q&A session we had with her.
Karen Stanley As Cover Story Interview – November 2023 Edition
Share your background.
As a teacher and assistant headteacher, specializing in literacy for over 20 years, I have always had a passion for all things ‘bookish.’ In 2011, I began writing and I have now written and published 14 books. My own publishing journey was a convoluted one and I have been published every which way from a very unpleasant experience with a vanity press, to self-publishing and two traditional publishing deals, before I settled on hybrid publishing as the best method for me. It gave me creative freedom and preserved my rights and royalties whilst giving me the support and publishing kudos I needed.
In 2020, I set up my Write of Passage Growth Academy and coached five totally new writers from initial idea through to publication with my own hybrid publishing house Mabel and Stanley Publishing – within the academy there were two novels, two children’s books and a business book. The name Mabel and Stanley was inspired by my lovely dog, Mabel – a 115-pound mastiff who brings us so much love but doesn’t do a great deal of work!
Mabel and Stanley has gone from strength to strength and we have now published 23 amazing books from a variety of genres with 5 more due to be released before Christmas this year!
I have been invited to speak at a host of business events and conferences, particularly on the topic of how becoming published can elevate your business. My coaching programs are now in demand and the testimonials I have received say that my particular strengths are the quality of 121 support and accountability I provide for my clients. I pride myself on working with honesty and integrity at all times, and I really enjoy being able to help new writers to find their voice and confidence. I now have clients throughout the UK and in the USA and Australia. I believe that my technical knowledge when it comes to grammar and writing style, along with the vast experience I have personally accumulated in the publishing world, are what sets me apart from other writing coaches.
I live in the UK in the beautiful seaside town of Whitstable where Mabel and I regularly walk on the beach and paddle in the sea. I love spending time with my family especially my two wonderful grandsons.
There are lots of ways you can work with me; if you have a manuscript that you would like considered for publishing then I’d love to hear from you.
If you need help to get your business book out there and raise your business authority and credibility, my 12-week business book writing program begins anew in January which I am opening to a maximum of 10 clients only. Within the program you will get:
- 12 x weekly coaching calls
- Membership of a private FB group in which you can ask and receive answers to your questions in real time and from me personally
You will learn:
- How to identify goals and objectives for your book
- How to identify your target audiences
- How to plan the content for your book and set a realistic timetable that aligns with your business and personal commitments
- Support to create a marketing plan that will run concurrently whilst you write your book and enables you to launch effectively
- Guidance and feedback as you write your book
- Support to edit your work
- Formatting of your manuscript along with guidance for your front cover
- Publishing with the Mabel and Stanley Publishing house and inclusion in our Hall of Fame
- Your book available on both the Amazon and Ingram Sparks platforms
Total Investment £4997
Childhood to Adulthood – How was your transition from childhood to adulthood and what are the bad and good things you remember?
I had a pretty good childhood and I was well-loved. My dad was a power station chemist and worked all over the world whilst my mum stayed home to look after us. When my younger brother and I grew older she accompanied him on many of his contracts to places like China and the Philippines – I took my young son for a visit to the Philippines when he was 3. I found my teenage years quite stressful and often felt like I didn’t quite fit into one particular group or another. I was quite a people pleaser and often struggled with self-confidence. I had some rather rocky relationships as I transitioned into adulthood and it took me quite a while to know who I was if that doesn’t sound too corny? I am my own worst – or best depending on how you look at it – critic and sometimes put myself under pressure to achieve although this is sometimes also my super power as I am definitely an action-taker! I will always pursue extraordinary over ordinary but often don’t give myself credit for my achievements.
Struggle – What hardships have you gone through in life?
Having had quite a privileged childhood it was quite a shock when I found myself on my own with my 2 year old son. My parents were away and I ended up in a very grotty, damp flat, penniless and wondering what the heck I was going to do now. I remember sitting in my ‘lounge’, on a sofa that was also my bed, wearing my coat because it was absolutely freezing, and having a good old cry whilst my son slept in his bedroom that had water almost running down the walls because it was so damp. I decided then and there that I was going to get my sh!t together. I enrolled in a business studies and economics degree at the local college, bought some plug-in heaters from the local paper, and the rest is history as they say. After 4 years, I got 2nd class honors in my BA degree, then did a 1 year PGCE, training to be a teacher. Each morning I would drive to London after plonking my son, half asleep on my neighbour’s couch, then back to my mum’s house (my parents had returned home in the meantime) to pick him up, study, and then repeat. It wasn’t easy but I am very proud that I persevered – failure wasn’t an option for me then – and was able to give my son a better life.
What do people usually not know about you?
I am a very bubbly, outgoing person but I do suffer with bouts of extreme anxiety in certain situations. I have learnt to deal with this over the years and only those closest to me know if I am having a ‘wobble’.. Sometimes if I go to do a ‘really important errand’ or disappear for a short time, it’s because I need a little time just to re-group and calm down!
What sets you apart from your competitors in the industry and in life?
Kindness is all-important for me. I love the quote – ‘In a world where you can be anything – be kind.’ I try to run my life and my business with that always in mind. I am also very honest. I received so much poor advice over the years and I make it my mission to always work with integrity. Another quote I love is – ‘Integrity means doing the right thing even when no-one is watching.’ My teaching background means that I am good at helping people to improve and achieve and I am able to deliver information in a straightforward and relatable way. A huge part of teaching involves creative planning and I have often been described as a one-woman ideas factory and I just love being creative, especially when it comes to writing! I think fast and act fast and also, I have lived-experience of the exact journey my authors take which really helps me to guide them. I make people feel important and valued throughout their journey and they receive bespoke and personal coaching so that they get the best from the whole experience.
What are your upcoming major events – Unforgettable Moments or products/services that you want to promote/inform?
I ran a writing retreat in September which was a big success and I am looking forward to more retreats in special locations in 2024. Being able to coach business people to write and publish their first books has been so rewarding and my new 12-week business book coaching program begins anew in January. But, because of my commitment to in-depth quality coaching, only 10 places will be available! (For more details email: ma*************@ou*****.com) I have also begun building my online writer’s community which is full of resources for upcoming writers looking to develop their writing skills – https://www.patreon.com/MabelandStanley
“I never thought I would write my book!
It’s been a pleasure to work with Karen, and Mabel and Stanley Publishing. Over the years, so many people have said to me, “You should write a book,” and what’s held me back is the thought of writing all those words and knowing that I am not the best writer; and this was a real obstacle for me.
However, when sharing my goal with Karen this year when my nan had sadly passed away, that I wanted to now throw myself into writing my book, Karen has just been an amazing mentor!
Karen’s knowledge, inspiration and accountability has been invaluable. Without her I wouldn’t have stuck to such a tight deadline. There were times when I thought, “Nope, I can’t do this,” but Karen kept me accountable and enabled me to keep the momentum.
Karen’s knowledge around publishing, writing a business book, and getting it onto the Amazon and Ingram Sparks platforms is amazing. I highly recommend Karen to any of my business colleagues. A professional, reliable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy person and publisher!
Don’t hold back like I did, get your story and message out there!”
Zoe Cairns, International Social Media Consultant (ZC Social Media)
What are your food preferences and physical attributes?
I am not a gym kinda’ girl! I am hopeless at all things sporty but I absolutely love walking in nature especially with my gorgeous dog Mabel – the inspiration behind the name of my publishing house. I am lucky to have a good metabolism and have always been of small build and able to indulge my ridiculously sweet tooth, although now I am getting older, I am trying to restrict my chocolate and biscuit indulgences! Fortunately,I also love fish and salad. I’ve often joked that if I was on death row, my last meal would be a jolly good salad! Mediterranean food is my absolute favorite, lots of small bites of all things delicious.
Your love life, relationships and family?
I am ridiculously blessed in this area. I met my husband in 2002 when my son was 9 and we married in 2011. He is amazing, makes me laugh, supports all my crazy schemes and generally has my back in life – although he is ridiculously untidy! We were in a band together for the first 15 years of our relationship and so I guess we are both creative in different ways. He’s a talented carpenter and cook so my house looks great andIi am always well-fed. My amazing son is now 30 and he is my absolute world. He’s funny, clever, hardworking and operates at one speed only which is 100 miles an hour! He has also married the most beautiful girl (we joke that she is the girl-baby I always wanted!) and given me two amazing grandsons who are quite literally the center of my universe – I can deny them nothing! My lovely parents are now older and it is my turn to try and give back some of the love and support they gave me over the years, especially helping me with Ben when he was little and I was studying. My husband’s son is wonderful and I do regularly thank the good Lord for my life’s blessings. I do believe that whatever ‘wealth’ you accumulate in life, nothing will take the place of special people; they really are all that matters. My favorite day would be spent walking in the woods, or on our nearby beach with the kids and dog, sharing great food and a glass of something cold and fizzy.
What expert advice would you like to give?
Knowing your goals and objectives for anything is important in order to find clarity and focus. This applies to running your business, writing a book…if you don’t know what you are aiming for, how can you make a plan to get there?
Understand your target audience. When writing you need to really understand who you are writing for and that way you will get your tone and your voice right.
Authenticity is key. Be true to yourself and follow your strengths and passions. When you find clarity and a path that suits you, the journey will be much easier. (that doesn’t mean easy!) If you continually feel like you are butting heads or trying to force a process, then it often means that you need to adjust or make changes.
Community is important in any walk of life but particularly when it comes to writing. Have someone to keep you on track and give you feedback or inspiration can really help you to achieve your goal.
Please share your social media handles and website links.
- Mabel & Stanley Publishing (@mabelandstanleypublishing) • Instagram photos and videos
- email: ma*************@ou*****.com
“I published my first book with Mabel and Stanley Publishing, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. The whole process was professional and efficient, and I felt thoroughly supported throughout the publishing process by Karen and her team, despite it all being a whole new experience for me.
Karen is very knowledgeable and always goes above and beyond – she has so much patience! Karen is also a talented writer and coach, and she actually wrote my children’s story for me, crafting it to be in-line with my brand and business goals; she totally respected my wishes and gave me control and ownership. I can’t thank her enough!”
Action Amanda – The Children’s Champion