A Recipe For Success–Jennifer Holik

A Recipe For Success–Jennifer Holik

I spend a lot of time talking about publicity, the power of social media, brands, marketing, networking, yada – yada. Today, I have a great example of how to do it right. Meet Jennifer Holik, mom, lover of history, genealogist and author.

Jennifer Holik, photo used with permission

I “met” Jen [@jencoffeelover] on Twitter.Twitter is great for meeting new friends, sharing info and networking. Jen had been writing the Genealogy for Kids blog, with the thought of someday taking the posts and maybe writing a book. Then Jen attended last year’s FGS conference where she attended a presentation about reaching out to next generation of genealogists. A seed was planted.

Jen also made friends on Twitter with Stephanie Pitcher Fishman (aka @CornandCotton and The Indepth Genealogist blog). Stephanie, who homeschools her children, suggests to Jen that she take her posts and turn them into a school curriculum. This was an idea that Jen hadn’t considered, but immediately saw the possibilities. Stephanie, who also happens to be an editor, then helps edit Jennifer Holik’s newly released book series: Branching Out: Genealogy For 1st-3rd Grade Students, Branching Out: Genealogy For 4th-8th Grade Students, Branching Out: Genealogy For High School Students, and Branching Out: Genealogy For Adults. A smart business woman, Jen offers the books in a variety of formats, from paperback, ebook, PDF and powerpoint. You can check them out here.

photo provided by Jennifer Holik

Jennifer takes her just released books with her to the recent NGS conference in Cincinnati, OH. There, Jen wisely doesn’t spend her time in classes, which she would of enjoyed, but doing something much more valuable…networking! Jen is able to get her books carried by several new vendors and makes many valuable contacts.  Jen said a highlight for her was giving a set of the books to D. Josh Taylor, who hugs the books and promises to read  them on the flight home. Side note: Josh was the person who spoke at FGS that first got Jen thinking about reaching out to the next generation. Kind of full circle don’t you think?

Jennifer,  is a mother of 3 boys (an 11 yr. old and twin 6 year-olds),  and who has a lot going on in her personal life with selling her of home and other complicated family stuff,  and so I asked her how in the world was she able to write and publish this series so quickly with all that she has going on. How did she manage her time? Jen said she gets up early to write and then writes when her boys were off at school.
Jen’s recipe for success looks like this:

  • take an idea; let it marinate
  • open your self to new possibilities and stir
  • see a need – make sure people are hungry for your offering
  • make the sacrifices and develop it; knead until ready
  • attend conferences and use and create a network to connect with others; throw in oven
  • follow through; enjoy the results!

I asked Jen what she would do differently next time. She said she would have looked at the calendar and planned her release date better. Originally she planned on April 1st but realized almost too late that with the release of the 1940 Census it would not get the attention it deserved, so she released sooner than she had anticipated on March 23rd and really had to hustle to make it. I think that is good advice worth remembering.

Thanks Jennifer for sharing with me and I foresee great things ahead for you!

What about you? Do you have an idea churning in your brain, an idea waiting to be developed? I think if you follow Jennifer’s example, you too, can enjoy a recipe for success!


  1. Thank you, Valerie, for this post. I am glad to know Jennifer Holik’s story because I follow her on Twitter, and I think we share many followed/followers, like Stephanie Fishman and yourself. I hope her book series for kids really takes off–it looks very appealing. The most amazing thing to me is how Jennifer can write when the boys are off at school. That is really being organized!

Leave a Reply