An Interview with Tina Savas: Author, Speaker & Entrepreneur
Sylvia: Hi Tina, it is such a pleasure to interview you. Please give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Tina: Thank you Sylvia. I am an Author & Speaker, and among the first wave of women entrepreneurs in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1983, I founded the Birmingham Business Journal newspaper, followed by Alabama Health News, Alabama Construction News, and Birmingham Weekly.
The Birmingham Business Journal was instrumental in changing the business landscape in Birmingham with in-depth business news never seen before. It was an uphill battle for a single woman in her twenties with little money in a tough industry, but my determination won the day!
My newspaper legacies include “The Birmingham 100,” listing the top private companies and their revenues; the “Top 40 Under 40” series, naming the up and coming stars all under the age of 40 (now copied in all U.S. major markets); and the “Best in Business” awards.
I also created the “Top Birmingham Women” award, naming ten women each year who personify the highest echelons in the community. As a tribute to me, the Birmingham Business Journal presented me this award after I sold that publication.
I have served on local boards for community development, advised numerous foundations, colleges and hospitals and won many awards during my career. I hosted a weekly radio show, appeared on local television shows and am featured in the book, Italians in the Deep South, as one of the “newer generation” of Italians making “waves.”
In March of 2005, I began writing a book about women who set firsts in their fields, and in March of 2010, after collaborating with my co-author, Edie Hand, the book was launched at the Women in Military Service Museum in Washington, D.C. by Canterbury Publishing. The book has garnered top national reviews and attention in several media outlets, as I have traveled the country on my book tour.
I continue my entrepreneurial spirit through public speaking, consulting, mentoring and other business ventures. My speech topics include: Women’s Leadership: Past, Present, Future; Networking & Mentoring; and Remarkable Traits of Women Entrepreneurs. Of course, my speeches can be customized for any audience.
My passion for business has recently extended to volunteer and community work for those ages 50 and older. I live in Birmingham, Alabama with my husband, Paul, and son, Alex.
Sylvia: Wow, you’ve had such an impressive career. I am excited to say that I had the pleasure of listening to your speech at the Women’s Business Center Inc., annual business awards ceremony last May. In fact, our entire staff raved about it. With this being your very first book, how were you able to gain national attention when many first time authors find it quite difficult to do so?
Tina: Thank you for your feedback on my WBC speech. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. With regard to the national attention our book received, I would have to say that the national book distributor made a significant difference. For first time authors and self-published authors, this can be a stumbling block to getting their books into national retail chains like Barnes and Noble or Books a Million. Another difference is marketing. Many authors mistakenly believe their publishers will do all of the marketing. This is simply not the case. If you want your book to be successful, you have to be relentless in your own marketing efforts.
Tina: I met an older woman one day, who told me how hard it was for her when she took over her husband’s roofing company. Right then, I knew I had to write a book about women who set “firsts” in their fields.
Sylvia: Yes, the women that you and Edie selected were true pioneers in their industries. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Tina: I wanted people to understand what women had to go through each day, simply because they were women, forging into unknown territory.
Sylvia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Tina: If you have a passion for your message, it will get published, even if you have to publish it yourself.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Tina: Our publisher sold the book to a large distributor for warehouse clubs, retail bookstores and online sites, i.e., Amazon, which helped with the initial marketing push. Then it was up to me and my co-author to market it. We did a launch at the Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., since the book is about women and have done many book signings across the country. If you have a particular message, you can parlay your book, use it as a platform, and do public speaking on your topic. That offers an opportunity to sell your books in the “back of the room.”
Sylvia: I love that idea. Why should we buy your book?
Tina: It offers readers insider tips and secrets to success from women who “did it,” like Meredith Vieira, Phyllis Diller, Mary Eisenhower, Joann Carson, Diane Crump, Delores Kesler and even Louise Harrison, sister of Beatle George. Dr. Maya Angelou provided a poem and Barbara Mandrell, country music legend, penned the foreword. You will also learn if YOU have what it takes to be a “woman of true grit!”
Sylvia: Quite an impressive list of contributors! Of the women mentioned, how were you able to get them excited about your book project? What advice can you give other authors who might be interested in tapping into the talents of high power or celebrity type women?
Tina: Most women are amenable to “giving back” to their community or constituents. If you have a worthy message to share, and your targeted women have the time and where-with-all to help, they will. Some are harder to reach than others, but keep trying. You’ll be surprised. Just make sure you are prepared to convince them of your project and/or book. In other words, you need to make them an offer they wouldn’t refuse!
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Tina: I like to write in a special room in my home, away from noise and distraction.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Tina: Training and development for women of all ages, to help them advance both professionally and personally.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Tina: Perseverance. If you don’t possess perseverance, you will not be successful in any endeavor. You can have all the qualities that make up a successful woman, but if you lack perseverance, you will not attain your final goal.
Sylvia: Of all the amazing women you interviewed, which one inspired you the most?
Tina: Great question! When I speak to audiences, most people ask me who was the most inspiring of the 40 women profiled in the book. This is such a difficult answer! All of them inspire me! However, one woman does stand out, simply because she reminded me of me. I believe if you read the book, Women of True Grit, you will relate to at least one of the women, too. You see, even though these women were phenomenal, they all started out just like us….but the one trait that set them apart? Read it and reap.
Sylvia: Thank you so much Tina. I commend you on a great book. Please leave us your complete website, social media sites and where to buy your book?
Tina: Thank you! I would love to hear from you. My website is www.TinaSavas.com or www.WomenofTrueGrit.com. You can find Tina Savas on Facebook and LinkedIn too. Most outlets carry our book and we are sold on Amazon. If you want an autographed copy, you can purchase directly from me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-936-5778.