You Don’t Have to Wait with Beth Walker (Re-Air)
What are you waiting for? Are you holding back from chasing your dream career to support your husband’s? Have you stalled in the publishing process because you haven’t won someone’s approval yet, even though you know that you know your audience and their pain points?
Whatever your delay may be, this week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Beth Walker, has a word of encouragement for you: You don’t have to wait for someone to tell you that your voice matters. Follow God’s leading, get to know your audience, and go for it!
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- The long journey that led Beth to find her calling – and the common thread she found throughout all of her many pursuits
- The importance of having a mentor who can both challenge and uplift you
- Why you shouldn’t write in isolation
- Which numbers and analytics really matter from a digital marketing perspective
- Beth’s experiences with both traditional publishing and self-publishing
No Need to Wait
As a coach’s wife, Beth Walker says she has seen many fellow coach’s wives shrink back out of the limelight as though waiting for their turn to shine – only to realize when they finally get the chance that they could have been working on their own careers all along.
That’s why, with her book, Lessons from the Sidelines, her mission is to let women know they don’t have to wait. They can go ahead and work on the “building blocks” of their own calling, even while supporting their husband’s endeavors.
“There seems to be this need for a cheerleader of sorts,” Beth says, “or someone to just point these women to resources. So I felt like Lessons from the Sidelines could be that space to say, ‘You’ve got a calling. God created you with a voice and skills and talents before you married this amazing man. And none of that went away!’”
Nothing Is Wasted
As is the case for many people, Beth’s journey to discovering her calling was a long one. “Figuring out exactly that sweet spot of where God is calling you is not always going to be this light bulb moment,” she admits. But through the seven-step action plan outlined in her book, she hopes to help give people a shortcut to discovering what God may be calling them to do.
Beth’s own journey carried her from one job to another. Eventually, she realized that although these jobs were all very different – from swim coach to administrative assistant to stay-at-home mom – there were some common elements among them, and each job gave her some skill or experience she could add to her resume.
‘Nothing is wasted,” Beth says. “Even if it feels like we’re taking a step back, we can always take that opportunity to say, how can we better ourselves? There are some moments where we have to take what we would consider a space where we’re settling… but sometimes we need people to shake us out of those.”
Beth’s story is a powerful reminder of the intentionality of God in preparing us for our unique purpose. No matter where you are right now, He can use this circumstance to develop and refine the skills you’ll need later on – even if you can’t see a connection right now.
And throughout her long, sometimes difficult journey, Beth says God has always brought people into her life to help cheer her on. One of these people was a fellow coach’s wife who Beth describes as a mentor and a voice of wisdom.
This woman had already written a book of her own to help coach’s wives, but she encouraged Beth to become a new voice in the space, and she also supported Beth with prayer, advice, and much more. Ultimately, she wrote the forward for Lessons from the Sidelines.
Other important “cheerleaders” in Beth’s author journey were her editor and her mastermind group, all of whom helped her develop and refine her work. “There were certainly chapters that were more difficult to write than others,” she says in retrospect. “But I had a good structure in place, and I had people holding me accountable… I don’t think it could have gone any better.”
When it came to the editing process itself, Beth says she learned that you have to be humble if you’re going to have someone else edit your book – but it’s well worth the difficult conversations and the discomfort of letting another person critique what you’ve written.
“I know that it is the best book possible because of my editor’s input and her willingness to pull more out of me,” Beth says. “She had edited for me for a couple of years prior, so she knew my voice and I trusted her.”
Because of that trust, Beth’s editor was able to point out sections of the book that didn’t reflect Beth’s authentic voice or that weren’t getting Beth’s point across in the way she intended for them to. At the same time, she was able to push Beth to open up and share more than she would have done on her own.
For many aspiring authors, letting another person read – let alone edit – their manuscript can be uncomfortable or even scary. But Beth’s story is an important reminder that an editor plays an essential role in making your book into the best possible product for you to give your readers.
When you write in isolation with no feedback, you risk putting out a book that confuses or even alienates your readers through simple errors, unnecessary repetition, or language that means something different to you than it does to others.
Your own writing makes perfect sense to you because you wrote it! But an editor can help you see where adding more context or phrasing things differently will enhance the readers’ experience and communicate your God-given message much more clearly.
Know Your Audience
Once the book was finished and ready for publishing, Beth ran into some unexpected challenges in marketing. As a digital marketer herself, she knew her content was reaching and engaging her niche audience, but the agent she was talking to at the time prioritized other metrics that Beth knew didn’t really matter.
“What it ultimately came down to was I needed to go with a publisher that understood my buyer persona and my audience,” she says.
As an author, understanding your buyer persona is crucial. As Beth explains, your book is not for everyone. Instead, you are writing for a specific audience made up of the people God has called you to serve. That means you need to understand who those people are, what they value, and what problem you are trying to help them solve.
The better you understand your buyer persona, the better you’ll be able to address their pain points, show up in the spaces where they normally go for information, and convince them to buy – and read – your book.
For Beth, that buyer persona was fellow coach’s wives and anyone else in ministry. And the pain point she addresses is telling these wives, “You don’t have to wait in order to make your husband’s career thrive. You can both thrive. And when you do that, your marriage will thrive, and you will both be honoring the Lord to the best of your ability.”
Beth is passionate about this message, because she has seen it at work in her own marriage. Just as she supported her husband in achieving his career goals, he supported her in writing and publishing her book, each of them picking up the slack around the house when the other needed them to.
“Marriage is partnership,” Beth says. “And part of that means you’re both thriving in the way you’re created. And in order to do that, that means sometimes you sacrifice for each other.”
No matter where you are in your author journey – whether you’re still wondering when it will be your turn to start or you’re struggling to make it to the finish line – let Beth’s story inspire you to move forward with the message and the talents God has given you.
“If you’re partnering with God, and you’ve done the work, and you know who your audience is, you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell you that your voice matters,” Beth says in closing. “So if you know who your buyer persona is, your target audience, and you’ve got a great book to put out there, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.”
Beth Walker has partnered with her husband for twenty years, in leadership and ministry both on and off the football field. Beth is passionate about encouraging women to pursue their individual callings from God. She is a contributor to Friday Night Wives and The Glorious Table. On her own blog, Lessons from the Sidelines, Beth offers practical advice for other coaches’ wives as well as a behind-the-scenes look at her family’s life as they serve their football players and their community. Visit Beth’s website here. Connect with Beth on Instagram.