From USATODAY April 25, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO - Female entrepreneurs are emerging from corporate trenches to tell their battlefield stories. Out next month: autobiographies by Kay Koplovitz, the USA Networks cable network founder, and Mary Wells Lawrence, the advertising industry pioneer. Next year, domestic arts queen Martha Stewart publishes her autobiography. It's expected to be one of the hottest executive memoirs of 2003. Also out next year: catalog retailer Lillian Vernon's memoirs - her second. Is Oprah Winfrey next?
At least a dozen autobiographies and biographies of female entrepreneurs have been published or announced in the past two years. Publishers and author are responding to:
Dreamers' demands. Millions of women, armed with MBAs and decades of management experience. want advice on starting companies. And women who have them want tips on making them bigger.
Filling the demand are women who started some of the USAs 6.2 million female-owned companies - and survived to write about it. "There's now a small critical mass of women business owners who have achieved high levels of success," says Sharon Hadary, executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research.
Koplovitz, in Bold Women, Big Ideas, writes about challenges faced by women in getting start-up money - especially from venture capitalists (VCs) who finance young firms. Her goal: "to peel back the veil and mystique of raising money." She also deals with the nuts and bolts, such as developing ideas and business plans.
Koplovitz founded USA Networks in 1977. It was sold for $4.5 billion in 1997. Since leaving USA Networks, Koplovitz, 56 helped start Springboard Enterprises, a non-profit group that matches female entrepreneurs with VCs.
Marion Brem, who survived a battle with cancer before entering the male - dominated car dealership industry, published her autobiography last fall.
In The 7 Greatest Truths About Successful Women, Brem, 49, shows women how to leverage traditional roles and experiences into business. Brem says too many women say, "Gee, all I've got is a homemaker's resume." That means they have skills in space planning, budgeting and negotiating, Brem says.
Her book appeals to women seeking emotional support based on life experience, says John Duff at Penguin Putnam, her publisher.
"She brought to it a different sensitivity," he says. "She walked the walk."
A paperback version is due in October. She's working on a follow-up.
Rise of celebrity CEOS. More female entrepreneurs are becoming household names as their companies become giants.
They're following the first executive superstars, including Chrysler's Lee Iacocca, real estate king Donald Trump and General Electric's Jack Welsh.Their autobiographies were best sellers.
Stewart, 60, is one of the most famous female entrepreneurs. Her Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia empire includes TV shows, books, a magazine and merchandise. Forbes says she's worth $650 million.
Stewart has been rapped for her often complicated advice, such as doing your own topiary. She's also been criticized for a reportedly dictatorial management style, detailed in the unauthorized Martha Inc. She wants to set the record straight about her success. "It was all done with hard work, old-fashioned elbow grease and a certain amount of emotional pain and suffering," she said when her book was announced last June.
Stewart's book will appeal to women and men, her publisher says. "It may not be a blueprint for everyone's career, but it will be inspirational says Lauren Shakely of Clarkson Potter/Publishing.
The holy grail for book publishers is Oprah Winfrey's yet-to-be-written memoirs. Her company includes her flagship TV talk show, a fast-growing monthly magazine and a film production unit. Fortune has followed fame. Winfrey is worth $900 million, Forbes says.
Asked whether she planned to write her autobiography Winfrey 48, says, "Yes - when the time is right."
Brem, while not a celebrity might soon become one. Following her book and TV appearances, Hollywood Powerhouse Creative Artists Agency developing a made-for-TV movie base on her life.
Riding a wave Autobiographies by entrepreneurial women tap into the popularity of business books. Publishers will ship about 64 million business books this year, up from 54 million in 1993, says the Book Industry Study Group.
They are among the fastest-growing book categories in recent years, the group says. Publishers want books by successful entrepreneurs because they often have ready-made audiences.
Stewart's publisher can tap into buyers of her gardening and crafts products, as well as her magazine and TV fans. Winfrey who promotes books on her TV show, can turn fans into buyers.
Brem of Corpus Christi, Texas, won an entrepreneur- ship award from Avon. She launched her book at the cosmetic retailer's conference last August, quickly selling all 1,000 books shipped to the event.
"It was amazing to see how much of a hunger there seemed to be," Brem says.