Let’s talk Cash Money Content. How did you end up working with them, and why did you think that deal was a smart move for your latest release?
I got a call from my agent who told me that Cash Money was starting a publishing company, and they wanted to work with me. I thought about their success with Cash Money Records— Lil Wayne and Drake and their artist roster— and I knew I needed to tap into their audience because their audience is my audience. Street lit is hip hop and hip hop is street lit.
Today’s literary world has become very digitally focused. How have you used digital media and the Web to advance your business?
It’s really a plus. Everything is much more accessible. There’s social media, e-mail blasts, Websites. When I was in prison, there was just letter writing, so this is definitely better for business. I embrace the digital wave and use it daily to promote my books and brand.
Let’s talk about family. How do you balance your personal life with running a publishing company?
[When I went to prison], I had businesses, owned property, and was married with two daughters. Today, I’m still married, and my husband and daughters work in the business. One is a graphic designer and the other runs our catalog business. They also go into youth houses and prisons for mentorship and speaking, and my husband is also an author. It can be hard to balance all of it, but I’m fortunate to work with family. They travel with me. We do book signings together, so we all make it work.
In addition to being a publishing CEO, you work with convicts and ex-convicts to aid with reentry. What would be your top advice for those looking to successfully reenter society?
That’s a hard role. You have to be persistent, be consistent, and be committed to not going back to prison. Find something that you love to do and do it. You have to hang tight. It’s definitely rough. You’re starting over from scratch.
While you’re in prison don’t waste time. Get your college degree, take courses, and get certified in something. It’s not a game. Before you get out, utilize that time and make the best of it or it’s really going to be hard when you get out.
What’s next for Wahida Clark and your brand?
We’re working on a play for Every Thug Needs a Lady, and also movie ventures for my other books. We’re always expanding our writers roster. I like people who are motivated, who hustle like me. When they reach out and they’re passionate about their work, and the manuscript is good, then I will definitely give them a shot, just like I was given a shot.