What I Have Learned as an Author

This past week, I stepped out of my usual routine and participated in a book event, The Author Expo at the Dekalb County Public Library in Tucker. At first, I was a bit wary about doing so because of my past experiences with book events. As an author, I have always believed that my goal was just to sell books. That was the attitude I have carried since my first release in 2009. Not that I was entirely off, but what I had failed to grasp was the importance of networking and meeting people face to face. Over the years, I have blogged off and on, hung out on social media way too much, and half-heartedly sought a book club here and there. In hindsight, it wasn’t all about my commitment to selling books, it was more about my lack of knowing what to do.

I am not writing this article because I now have all the answers and I am going to shout what I do know about selling training or eBooks or anything else. I am writing this article because I don’t want other writers and authors to feel left out. As I listen to and read the gurus out there, I have come to realize a couple of things about marketing my writing. One, the best audience is your live audience. Start with those who you can touch and who can touch you, then branch out from there. When I say branch out, I mean choose your venues carefully, but choose. Get out, especially from behind your computer on social media, and in front of people. Engage. Book events are good for that. Even if the foot traffic is low, you will still have a room filled with potential readers and collaborators, the other authors.

Don’t despair though. When I first started out, I spent thousands of dollars on book events and their associated costs. That first year, I attended five events from Atlanta to Houston. My hard-earned dollars were spent on booths, books, airfare, hotels, food, transportation, and shipping. At each event, I averaged the sale of about 10 books. So, you get why I quit doing book events unless they were free. I gave up, threw my hands up until another two years past and I wrote another book. This time, it was more blogs, more social media, launch parties, and book clubs. The momentum for my books was picking up, but so was my nine-to-five. One of them had to go. I dropped the books. After all, I had convinced myself it was a fairy tale. So, what has changed since then? What was the second thing I finally realized? Commitment.

Real commitment. In addition to learning that face to face is as important as a daily post on Facebook or a robust email list, I have realized nothing will work unless you work it. You must stay focused on the results you visualize. And yes, a healthy email list is a plus, but a little voice inside my mind keeps asking, “Does Stephen King have an email list?” At least, I am not on it. And when I open my email, I think I am on everybody’s list. I could spend the day unsubscribing and still have a full box in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking emails. HINT: Please subscribe to my newsletter by giving me your email. I promise I won’t inundate your mailbox. Just saying. However, in addition to subscribing, whether you are a reader, an author, or someone only interested in “Living Life One Story at a Time,” drop a comment to say hi. If I am at an event near you, stop by and say hi. Let’s meet and greet.

But, this advice is not just something to keep in mind for selling books. In today’s society, we need to become more organic, more aware that each of us is human, with feelings, dreams, and goals. Go share those over a cup of coffee, at a book event, or any event where humans are there. And I implore each of you reading this blog, commit to something whether it is to become the bestselling author or the best mom in the world. Commit. Stay Focused. Smile and Say Hello to another human. Let’s continue to keep Living Life One Story at a Time in the best way possible.


Dilsa Saunders Bailey, the author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to LIVING LIFE ONE STORY AT A TIME. All three novels in The Sperling Chronicles, Dreams Thrown Away, Split Images, and No Tears for Dead Men, are now available in Print at most online retailers and on Kindle.

ADVERTISEMENTS

 



Writers Work - Get Paid to Write

 

LIVING LIFE ONE STORY AT A TIME

1

INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGER AND FELLOW BOOKPRENEUR-PAULINE MANSFIELD as she shares her experiences “Living Life One Story at a Time.”

Twenty years ago, I never imagined that I would ever call myself a writer; the first time I said those words out loud, “I am a writer,” it was a very weird feeling because it took a while for me to really to believe that I was worthy of claiming that title. Now I am living my life – one story at a time as a writer, and I am loving it!

We all have hundreds of stories hidden within us, waiting to be written and then shared with the universe. For the past three years, it has been a joy for me to help others to carve out those stories like a sculptor carves images out of a piece of clay. Like a sculptor, each of us, as writers, must connect first with our souls to pull out the images we want to create in any book we finally make the decision to write.

I remember how absurd and impossible it seemed to me to even start a journey to tell my story. When a dear friend suggested that I share my life challenges to help others in my very first book, “The Turtle Story – 7 Steps to Breaking Free from Domestic Violence”, I was very reluctant to start that journey down this unknown road. This journey wasn’t easy, but I acquiesced, and since then, I have never looked back. It took me several years to build the confidence to put those first words on paper. I had to move past the discomfort of asking others to help me through the process of turning mere words scribbled on pieces of paper over many years into a book worthy of being published, then shared with the world.

As a writing coach and developmental editor, I now guide others to reach their destiny as confident and joyful writers. Like anything that we are passionate about, writing your story should be joyful. It does not matter if you are creating a murder mystery, a love story based on lives you have touched along your life’s journey, a self-help book, or a biography about someone you know and love. What matters is that you always write with passion and clarity, as if holding a paintbrush on a canvas or a chisel in hand to bring life and form to a chunk of wood or marble.

We, as writers, must see ourselves as artists with a gift given to us by God. We are charged to enlighten, uplift, inspire and bring joy through our fingers just like other artists with their own gifts. Our gifts are already buried in our souls, we must just recognize it, accept it and release it out to the world.

So, say it loud and say it proud – “I AM AN ARTIST – WATCH ME WRITE!”

Writing is her passion and Pauline Mansfield translates that passion into life stories. Pauline says that she writes books to educate, to enlighten, and to empower those suffering from broken spirits.  She has created from her experiences four inspiring books. In addition to being an author, Pauline is a public speaker and community volunteer. She currently chairs the COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD for the GRADY HOSPITAL NIA PROJECT, a non-profit organization devoted to positively changing the lives of men and women – one life at a time.


ADVERTISEMENTS

 

Writers Work - Get Paid to Write

Creative Con Spiked My Creative Juices

MaryBMorrisonTamikaNewhouseAs I weaved through traffic or should I say as cars weaved around me on my way to attend Creative Con at Atlanta’s Auburn Research Library, I kept asking myself what value will this provide. Shortly after I arrived, I began to network naturally with other attendees patiently waiting to be let into the event. The first person I met was there to learn how to get published and the second person was like me, already self-published and aware of the mechanics of how to get a book written and into production. As soon as the event began, I realized many of us were there for the same reason, looking for the details on how to sell your books and the mechanics of reaching your target audience. Some of us already had a foothold, an audience, but also a desire to spread our voices wider. So as Tamika Newhouse, the founder, and creator of this conference, gave us a glimpse into her world and her vision to share her successes, we sat eagerly at the edge of our seats for the nitty gritty about the writing life. Soon after the event began, the answer to my question about the day’s value was answered. I walked out of Creative Con with three pages of notes. That may not seem like much to some, but the value in those almost illegible scribbles and some fuzzy pictures of PowerPoint are all there as I ponder putting them into action.
What did I learn? The first thing I learned was that I was not off base in my efforts to introduce everyone to The Sperling Chronicles. The second thing I learned was that there are many voices just waiting to be heard by the masses and the statistics of those thousands of self-published books had faces behind them. The feeling that our faces teetering on the edge of a cult, a society of those who need to be heard, to teach, to entertain, and to share had this universal, spiritual pull rising in the rooms. But, most of all I learned that networking with other writers, picking up tips from each other was as valuable as what the speakers taught us. One of the speakers, Mary B. Morrison, author of 26 books who is signed with Kensington Publishing, gave us hope that we, too, can become full-time writers. Other speakers gave us insights on social media, branding, marketing, and even the personal style and image we need to present to the world. All of it was worth my Thursday. There is more to come this weekend, but unfortunately, I can’t be there. You should check it out if you can! Remember, whether you make it to any of the Black Writers Weekend events or not, and no matter who you are, “don’t quit.” WRITE ON! WRITE ON!
Dilsa Saunders Bailey, author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to write out loud and share her journeys in the self-publishing world. The third novel in The Sperling Chronicles, No Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.