How to Be Married to An Author

Peter & Becky Gregory

Peter & Becky Gregory

You Must Be Crazy to Do This

A lot of people have told me that they thought that working with their spouse would be crazy. They’ve told me that they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, do what we do. It’s not for everybody, and it’s not always easy, but for us the payoff has far outweighed any challenges particularly once I figured out how to be married to an author. I threw in the disclaimer that “it’s not for everybody” but a lot of couples make it work and love it. We’re one of those couples.

Keeping the Money in the Family

Anybody who has read even one book on marketing or building the author platform knows that this is a big job; one that I did in the background without the glory of having my name on the cover of any book. Given the choice, I’d do it all again! Why? Because I learned a new skill, it was fun, I met cool people, and we kept the money in the family!

Here’s how we make it work.

Rules, Habits, and Agreements That Work for Us

  1. We have weekly date nights. I know, smarmy right? At first glance this might seem off-topic but trust me, it isn’t. The rules are:
    1. We keep that once-a-week date, no matter how busy, aggravated, or tired we are. WE come first, not the business. I think this principle could be applied to partners who aren’t married. Go out for a beer or some other fun activity that takes your mind off business.
    2. We never discuss business on date night. Those nights are for relationship building and for remembering why we fell in love in the first place. Same thing for non-married partners can apply here, not the “love” part of course, but review your goals and remember why you teamed up in the first place.
    3. Sometimes, those nights are for conflict resolution in case we got on each others’ nerves during the week. It happens on rare occasion but with good conflict resolution skills in our relationship toolkit, we understand that conflict is an opportunity to grow, not tear each other down. This did not come naturally, because of damaging relationships from our pasts, so we took classes. That might sound silly but I sure meet a lot of people who don’t seem to know the basic rules of conflict resolution. We weren’t threatened by the idea that we might need some coaching or damage repair from the past. Taking classes also served as a neutral foundation rather than using the “his way or my way” approach to conflict resolution.
  2. Set annual goals. We did this from the very first year. When we looked back over what we had accomplished it was very encouraging. When we didn’t set goals for the year, we lost of bit of momentum.
  3. We share an office but this may not work for everyone.
    1. We share an office, but on those rare occasions when someone wakes up feeling grumpy or upset by something, we defer office space and time to the one with the hardest pressing deadline. The other one makes themselves scarce. This is rare but the agreement is in place ahead of time in case it’s needed. This is a strategy that we think helps us avoid some unnecessary conflict on those days when somebody just isn’t feeling up to par.
    2. We each have our own desk set-up and our own stuff. For example, we each have our own pair of earphone jacks. If you don’t have any, get some. These are great for tuning out distractions.
    3. We deliver food to one another. Okay, smarmy again right, but I cannot tell you how much we both appreciate this very small gesture. When Peter is really pressed up against a hard deadline, he hardly leaves his chair for bathroom breaks! I have to admit that bringing him his lunch would go against my grain, if I was married to a tyrant who expected “service” and didn’t do the same for me. But, I’m married to a really nice guy who happens to love grocery shopping (be jealous, ladies). I hate it so the payoff is worth it. He shops. I bring him food when necessary. We both cook. Again, this is teamwork we’re talking about, not “the little woman delivering food to the demanding husband” or “a whipped husband” who has to do the shopping because his wife doesn’t or won’t.
  4. We have a sense of humor. Sometimes just a little light-heartedness or not taking oneself so seriously is enough to diffuse a potential argument. Peter is the master at this. I test it all the time ;0)
  5. We give each other credit. This one is huge! There is nothing worse than working really, really hard to help promote someone, and their books, only to watch them bask in their success and act like you don’t exist or to treat you like their employee. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME. Peter asks me to accompany him to any and all of his events. He proudly introduces me as his Business Manager and partner. He promotes me in every way, and says things like, “I would not be where I am today without this woman.” And, I say that I would not be where I am today with him. We publicly acknowledge that our success is, in part, due to the efforts of our spouse.
  6. We do not make jokes at the others’ expense. I see this over and over again; couples that make jokes about their spouse in some public way. People might laugh but believe me they will walk away either disrespecting you or your spouse. Ask yourself how this will build your business because remember, each and every encounter could be a possible business lead. If they think you or your spouse is a schmuck you’ve lost opportunities, period. Multiple opportunities have come our way because people admired our relationship model. That has both humbled and thrilled us and made us appreciate each other even more.
  7. We keep learning. We haven’t arrived. We are never going to arrive. We see that the publishing world is ever-changing and we have to keep up with those changes. We are constantly learning new things about writing and marketing and we share a lot of what we are learning with each other.
  8. We mentor other people and are always being mentored. It is said that the person who learns the most is the teacher. We give back some of what we’ve learned to people who need help and are just starting out. After all, somebody did it for us. And somebody is always mentoring us.
  9. We model teamwork for our children. While this might not seem like it should be part of our teamwork equation, we believe it is important to include our daughter in what we do. Yes, she can go off to college and learn it there, or make other career choices, but why not allow her to benefit from living with a Best Selling Technology Author and his Business Manager, right here at home? We must not have scared her too much. Currently, her favorite class is Entrepreneurship, and she is already an awesome writer and on some days you can find all three of us in the office together working on writing projects.

This is part of the model that works for us. How do you do it? Or do you avoid his/her writing career?

Posted on October 12, 2013, in author's wives, Blog, platform building and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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