Zibby Owens: Writer, Mother & Creator/host of Webby-nominated podcast, "Moms Don't Have Time to Read Books.”

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m a passionate book lover, podcaster, and writer, who wants to help bring books and reading to busy moms — like me. I’m open, honest, relatable, and love to learn about people and their stories. I host the Webby-nominated podcast, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.” I also host book-related events and book fairs to build the literary community, frequently moderate events at bookstores, and sell experiences and merchandise related to reading curation.

How did you get into the industry?

I started a podcast to help “build my platform” when I was working with an agent to sell my memoir. I absolutely fell in love with interviewing authors twice a week for the podcast and reading so many fabulous books! I finished the memoir but decided to put it on the shelf for now. I’m writing a new novel instead and write essays for many publications, but genuinely adore my podcast interviews.

Any emerging industry trends?

Even in the 1.5 years that I’ve been in the podcast industry, the growth has been explosive! Everyone has an idea for a podcast. In fact, I even sell a start-your-own-podcast kit https://zibbyowens.com/swag/podcast-kit and offer coaching sessions for anyone who wants help starting one. It’s amazing to watch something take off like this.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The barrier to entry is relatively low in the podcast space. There are a number of literary podcasts like mine with more famous hosts. I have to just keep doing what I’m doing and letting word of mouth and critical acclaim buttress my efforts. Also, partnering with like-minded podcasters is great! There’s really room for everyone.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I was going to write a collection of my parenting essays called, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books,” but my agent didn’t think publishers would like that title! So I turned it into a podcast. My vision has since grown… now I want to change the entire literary industry: to bring authors directly to readers, to make writers the rock stars they deserve to be, and to help busy, frantic moms like me (I have four kids ages 4-12) escape into stories… without any guilt.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

For now, I’m working on growing my audience and reading as many books as possible. Also I’m focusing on my own writing!

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

One of my most successful ideas has been to host author events. This wasn’t a strategic decision - I just thought it sounded like fun! I host friends in my home and interview authors once or twice a month. I try to pair a more established author with a debut writer and ask them about life, books, parenting, love and whatever else their books brings up. It’s really fun! My twice annual book fairs are also great; I sell all the books I’ve had on the podcast and invite ALL the authors!

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

One afternoon, an author was really snippy and rude to me while I was interviewing her and I just felt so defeated. (I also hadn’t gotten much sleep!!!) I realized that all I can do is my best and that sometimes, great books and great authors don’t equate to great people. But this is RARE and almost every single author I’ve had on the show has been grateful, lovely and AMAZING.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

I think they’d enjoy listening to a conversation a good friend of theirs would have with a famous author!

How do you motivate others?

I try to encourage listeners to read with me, to find even a little time to read, to stop putting pressure on themselves as mothers, and to let the escapism of reading help them get through every day.

Career advice to those in your industry?

It’s just really hard to build up a following but be patient! Do what only you can do.

What do I do best?

I think I listen really well and ask the right questions. I also prepare a TON for each interview, read every book, and spend at least an hour preparing my questions.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Oh gosh. SLEEP. Which I rarely get!!!

What are my aspirations?

I’d like to be a frequent TV commentator, recommending books on shows like The TODAY Show for moms out there who might not have heard of them. I’d also like to have my own author talk show. My biggest aspiration is to write my own book and launch it into the world.

My Biggest Success?

My four children. No question.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I went through a lot of loss early in my life. I lost my college roommate and best friend on 9/11. Stacey Sanders worked in the first tower hit and just disappeared that morning. It was excruciating, at age 25, to cope with that. In the following year, I also lost a close high school friend to suicide, my 30-year-old stepbrother, and two grandfathers. It was a really rough time. I was at Harvard Business School then, in over my head. I just wanted to stay in bed all day, not analyze companies. I almost dropped out. The intense grief absolutely changed my life. I realized that if I was going to die at my desk, like Stacey, then I better bring my entire self into whatever work I was doing. I can honestly say I’ve achieved that at this point.

My Motto?

Don’t miss the plot. (I stole this from my therapist.)

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My dad is my business role model. He is constantly looking for new opportunities and seeing what others don’t. He operates with the utmost integrity and drive. He never stops. He also surrounds himself with brilliant people. And he manages to have fun!

My favorite person in my personal life is my husband, Kyle Owens. We’ve been married for two years and he has been just an amazing stepfather to my four kids. He makes me laugh all the time. That’s so important.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

We have a home in the Pacific Palisades in LA up in at the top of a hill with amazing views of the ocean, the city and the mountains. It’s beyond peaceful and beautiful. Just walking outside resets my anxious brain! I also love family trips to Round Hill in Jamaica.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Draper James clothing.

BookHampton bookstore.

Starbucks breakfast blend K-cups.

Black & Gold dark chocolate.

AppleTV.

My Current Passions?

Tennis! I’m obsessed.

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Read. Write. Make people smile.Thought of the Day: Make this day worth it.

Action of the Day: Move my body.

Deed of the Day: Help others.

Tip of the Day: Block out time on the calendar to write.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The people!

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Egg and cheese on an English muffin at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton, NY. Preferably with my older daughter before camp.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Making breakfast for my 4 kids.

10:00 AM - Doing a podcast interview.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Chopped salad made by my husband or gazpacho from Round Swamp farm.

7:00 PM - Dealing with books and bedtime.

11:00 PM - Sound asleep most days, reading in bed, or replying to emails.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

COFFEE. Is that a trick question? Usually 3 cups a day.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

OpenTable or Waze are my most used apps.

Favorite Instagram account? All of mine! @zibbyowens and @momsdonthavetimetoreadbooks

What should everyone try at least once?

Listening to my podcast!!!!

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Nowhere. I hate getting lost! The only place I like getting lost is in a book.

What Else to Know?

I host frequent book events and have MANY coming up! Check out https://zibbyowens.com/upcoming-events! I also have a new essay in Family Circle magazine’s August issue: https://zibbyowens.com/articles. And I have YouTube and Vimeo channels: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmHyplZV7r1BqvQOv-AmCMA?view_as=subscriber and https://vimeo.com/zibbyowens. Sign up for my newsletter to get more info!!! www.zibbyowens.com

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