What Our Pets Teach Us: Amy Newmark from Chicken Soup for the Soul- Growing Home Ep. 16
In this wholesome episode, Terry sits down with Chicken Soup for The Soul Editor Amy Newmark. She talks about the making of the Chicken Soup books, and the importance of cats and dogs in our lives.
Tuck in for this heartwarming episode of Growing Home.
What is Chicken Soup for The Soul?
The book series was started by motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen back in 1993. The original book is a compilation of stories they two of them told during their lectures.
The name of the series comes from chicken soup being a common folk medicine. In fact, Amy said that almost every culture that has chicken, uses chicken soup in that way.
The original book became “a nationwide phenomenon”, eventually selling 8 million copies.
It was soon expanded into a full book series, with specific subjects for each title. Chicken Soup for the Soul was the best-selling book series until it was overtaken by the Harry Potter books.
Eventually, Jack and Mark were too busy to run Chicken Soup for the Soul, so they sold it to Amy and her husband, Bill Rouhana, in 2008.
Amy went and relaunched the series as being more “relevant, topical, diverse and useful”.
The business has expanded into a variety of products, from videos to pet food. Amy edits the book, whereas Bill runs the rest of the brand.
Chicken Soup’s Latest Titles
The newest Chicken Soup titles are Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Dog.
Amy says that the Chicken Soup staff are “crazed” about pets. As a result, they release cat and dog volumes every year and a half.
The proceeds last four releases of their cat and dog volumes have supported American Humane, the oldest animal welfare organization in the country.
The pet books emphasize stories about adopted pets, as the staff of Chicken Soup want people to adopt pets, or get pets from reputable breeders.
When adopting, consider adopting black-furred pets, senior animals, and pit bulls, as they are the least adopted pets from shelters.
When you buy a Chicken Soup for the Soul Book from Mackey’s, you are also giving to shelters in our area!
Editing a Chicken Soup Book
People can go to chickensoup.com and click “submit your story”. Then, people are walked through the process of submitting a story, including writing guidelines, and a list of titles currently in development.
Thousands of stories are submitted to the offices for each volume. The editing team cut stories on the until there are only about a few hundred left. Then, the editing duties are passed on to Amy.
Amy then makes the “tough choice” to pick the final 101 stories for the book, leaving the “cream of the crop”
Amy likes that the book is in 101 parts, because you don’t feel like you have to read it in one shot, though she thinks the stories are engrossing enough you might do that anyhow.
Tales for Tails
Writers who have their work printed in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book can buy copies of their book for a break-even price. In turn, the writer can set up readings in their local pet stores, and can sell those books to raise funds for shelters across the country.
Expanding the Brand
The first non-book product the Chicken Soup name was used for is their pet food brand.
Amy says the pet food relates to Chicken Soup’s mission, as they are “passionate” about dogs and cats, and how well they’re cared for.
The food itself is “super-premium”, avoids Chinese ingredients, and is recommended by breeders.
For every package of food sold, four meals of Chicken Soup food are donated to shelter animals.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul brand has also expanded into movies, television, and podcasts.