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.

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simplydilsa NEWSLETTER – August 6, 2018

Subject: Hello Again❤

Living Life One Story at a Time
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. Read More…
ARE YOU AFRAID OF PUBLIC SPEAKING?  Are you afraid to speak in public? Writers, if you want to promote your books, here’s a great place to find your voice and to hone your writing skills. Read A Toastmaster’s Tale»
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Author-Dilsa Saunders Bailey
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Help!! Book Reviewers NEEDED!
Just received an email from a friend whose friend had taken “Dreams Thrown Away” on vacation. Her friend’s husband called to scold her for recommending the book. It seems The Sperlings blocked his quality time with his wife. The whole time they were away, she sat on the beach with the book. It seems “Kali strikes again.” I hope she takes time to give the book a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Hope you will, too.

PUBLISHING NEWS

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Jackson, MS
August 18, 2018
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August 31-September 2, 2018
Albuquerque, NM
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Hobart, NY
September 7-9, 2018
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October 27, 2018

A TOASTMASTER’S TALE

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Enid rapidly tapped her right foot under the table. It was one of her long list of bad habits she needed to learn to control, but no matter how hard she tried, that foot would not stop. Why? Because she was nervous and the promotion she had dreamed of was just within her grasp. All she had to do was to survive this conference. Much to her surprise, she was ready. As she waited for her introduction, she remembered how the air had been knocked out her, literally, when her boss asked if she could stand in for her and speak. Enid had nodded yes, smiled, and ran straight to the ladies’ room to throw up. What had she agreed to do? Of all the things Enid knew that frightened her, the main one was to speak up or speak period. In public, it would be a nightmare come true. Between her mother patting Enid’s knee to keep her foot from tapping the floor to her father opening her mouth to see if there was a tongue residing there, Enid knew with all her heart that she could not do it, neither speak up in front of people she didn’t know nor even the ones she knew.

Greta noticed Enid had moved timidly back to her desk as if someone had given her the worse news in the world. The poor girl was talented and very intelligent. She could write the best suggestions in the world, complete the best-written drafts of policies, and even had other employees looking forward to the once dull company newsletter. But getting her to speak more than two or three words was a daunting challenge. One that most of her fellow employees had given up on which made Enid seem like a loner of sorts. The pain of watching her shrink away into her cubicle almost hurt. Not that Greta had been the most talkative in her early corporate years, she could at least hold a conversation and wasn’t afraid of the higher-ups, but back then she was acutely scared to speak in meetings. Greta’s greatest fear was of saying the wrong thing in the wrong way, not like Enid who was fearful of everything and everybody except her computer.

“Enid, could you come into my office a minute?” Greta had asked as she walked out of her office and called to Enid. The look of fear surfaced in Enid’s eyes. Greta smiled hoping that would calm her a bit, but the jilted way Enid removed herself from her chair made her realize the smile had failed to soothe her.

“Have a seat,” Greta pointed to the chair across from her desk. Enid sat down, and her knee started pumping.

“You are okay with speaking at the conference next month?” Greta had asked.

“Hmmmmm. Yes,” Enid nodded, her eyes appearing teary.

“You have six weeks to rehearse,” Greta offered. “I’m sure you are going to wow the crowd. And don’t worry, my crowd is the smallest crowd at the conference, usually about 40 people. They are really nice though. You will be fine.”

“Why me?” Enid realized the words had spilled from her lips before the thought had been completed in her mind.

“Because I see greatness in you, Enid. You just haven’t discovered it yet.”

“Ma’am?” Enid couldn’t believe her ears. Her father used to ask her to open her mouth and then jokingly he would look inside of it saying, “there’s greatness in there. One of these days, you are going to have to let it out. Speak up, young lady.”

“This is what I want you to do,” Greta smiled. “I realize I didn’t give you much time, but you are more knowledgeable in our department doings than anyone else. You write so eloquently and professionally about everything we do, every little detail. You know this profession inside out, and you can share that with others at the conference. You can tell them why our department is always the top one in the company in the nation, and it’s because of people like you, but you don’t have to brag. You know what I mean?” Greta laughed.

“If I write the presentation, can someone else give it?” Enid asked.

“Nope. You write it. You get the credit. You get the recognition,” Greta said as she opened her desk drawer. “I learned how to stop being bashful and how to speak professionally as a leader in this company by joining a club called Toastmasters. Ever heard of it?”

Enid shook her head.

“No problem, I want you to start a club right here at this company,” Greta said handing her a manual. “I want you to be their first president. Here’s the information on who to contact to get started. In the meantime, I want you to write your presentation and start rehearsing. Every day, I want you to give me 15 minutes of the segment at the end of the day. In six weeks, your life is going to change, but once you get started in Toastmaster’s, well, let’s say everybody will see the same greatness in you that I see. Are you ready?”

Enid put her hand on her knee applying a little pressure to stop it from bouncing upward, the same way her mother used to do. She nodded her head yes, she was ready for greatness.

That was the tale Enid shared as she took the podium at the International Speech Contest two years later. Before emerging on stage, her foot had not tapped, and the words were not hidden inside of her. With the help of her Toastmaster friends she had made, her confidence had grown. Composed and filled with the lessons she had learned in Toastmasters, she was no longer afraid to hold conversations. There were no nervous moments before speaking her truths and sharing her expertise with others. She took that stage owning it, letting everybody in the room know there was greatness inside of her and inside of them.


Yes, I am a Toastmaster, a Northlake Toastmaster!!! Proud of it and always moving forward earning every award that I can. Toastmasters has been very instrumental in me moving forward in my career. Everything I have learned in Toastmasters has helped me to become a more confident leader and communicator in all areas of my life, not just work. Another great benefit of being a Toastmaster is the networking. I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life, professions, ethnicities, and nationalities. We find that we have so much to learn from each and so much that we share, a special community. If you haven’t visited a club, if you are afraid of speaking in public, or if you are just looking for like-minded individuals who are all about growth, check out Toastmasters. And, be careful, you may join our group of Toastmaster junkies before you know it. It’s intoxicating! Hope you enjoyed the story I wrote for a Toastmaster‘s project toward another award. Let me know what you think. Dilsa S. Bailey, ACS, ALB aka simplydilsa


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LIVING LIFE ONE STORY AT A TIME

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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.


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The World is Full of Cousins

This world is filled with cousins, not just for me. Although, I admit I may be unique. You see, I have over 50 first cousins. Add to that, I can’t even count the number of others that are designated cousin in the relative tree. On my maternal side, my grandparents had over 20 siblings, and on my paternal side, my grandparents had at least 10 that I am aware of. So, start multiplying those aunts and uncles’ offspring and their offspring, as well as the offspring of my 50 first cousins and their offspring. If you brought us all together by my bloodline alone, we could build a city. Do I know all of them? Of course not, but I am proud to say that I knew all 50 plus first cousins. Some have passed on much too early. But, out of the ones left, some were as close as if they were my own siblings, others I vacationed with and got to know them that way, others I didn’t get to know until we were adults, but all of them I know personally and love. Thanks to Facebook and occasional family reunions, I know a few of their extensions, and in other cases, I know their offspring well. That’s why it was so exciting to have all three of my grandchildren together this past week. They were getting to know each other better, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Watching them connect made me consider our connections beyond our bloodlines, and it hit me. We, humanity, are all cousins to some extent.

To take that thought a little further, all of creation is related in some manner. We are made of the same substances, the same energy as plant life, animal life, and the soil and rocks beneath our feet. We were all created by the same Universal source, whether you refer to It as God or the Universe or your cultural name for either. One thought created this world and all that is in it, so that thought, that God is the parent of all that exists. If we came from one parent, then we are definitely brothers and sisters and whatever we create makes our offspring, our creations, cousins. When mankind finally realizes we are one family exhibiting a variety of uniqueness that contributes to the betterment of us all, we will accept each other as family living in a world full of cousins.

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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Our World, Our Stories

TheSperlingChroniclesBanner-FINALHumans love stories.  We exist in stories.  That is why the great teachers like Buddha and Jesus are still revered by the masses. They taught through storytelling, vivid parables and examples of how life should be lived. Their stories resonate within our souls. Stories. They are timeless and are continually seeding our minds with worry or hope or faith, dependent on your life’s situation.

Think about it. You are always telling yourself or someone else a story. Other people are always telling you a story as well. For instance, people listen to the office gossiper because that person is so good at relating a story, even if it’s detrimental. How do you think President Obama was elected or even Trump?  President Obama seeded us with stories and visions of a better progressive world. Trump planted the world with stories of fear. He had his followers envisioning the past as the good old days. Let’s face it, there is never a time when we are not amid a storyline, one that has happened, one we are creating, one that we are planning, or one that we are fantasizing about. Isn’t this why we have become a society of television watchers. We are hooked on stories. I admit I am a binge-watcher. There are only a few shows that I worry about seeing as they air anymore. I’d rather watch the whole season at once for the story. I want the entire story from beginning to end, like reading a book or a series of books. I must have it all.

As a writer who loves to read books for stories as much as she likes to watch television, I know the value of all stories is the word. The words that tell the stories evoke emotion and possible action. What words are creating your stories today?

Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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The Increased Value of Networking

Global Business - Chadive Raja ReddyHave you heard the adage about networking? It goes something like this, “your network equals your net worth.” A friend of mine, the great speaker, Richard Hardon, can easily motivate you to reach out to others to help you succeed to greater heights using that phrase. Without a doubt, he is right about that. But, I get something else from what he teaches, too. I understand that networking is something even more valuable than your net worth or its ability to open doors to increase your income. I get that networking is important because it allows you to connect in so many ways. For instance, during networking, you realize more intimately that you are not alone in your endeavors or your struggles.
For instance, a few months ago I was asked to share some self-publishing advice with a writers’ group in South Atlanta. If you are on the southside and want to join this vibrant group, they are called The Turtle Queen Author’s Club. The Turtle Queen is Pauline Mansfield who has written several books, two of which on how she survived domestic abuse. Ms. Pauline is a very charming woman whose heart is the source of her network. She hasn’t met a person that doesn’t instantly fall in love with her. Many of the writers in her group had been published traditionally and self-published, and many were seeking insight on the mechanics of writing and publishing. But, it was a sharing event that increased the value of their minds and spirits. Mine, too.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when I attended a book club in midtown. I found it on Meetup and since it was sponsored by the Black Lit Society, a very active organization founded by author Tamika Newhouse, I thought I would check it out. Tamika is a young powerhouse. Having authored and published 19 books, she owns a publishing house, a production company, a book club and book review website, and is the founder the African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) Awards held every year to highlight the achievements of African Americans in the literary world. Tamika attended this event and shared her life’s successes and failures along the way during her exciting career. Again, in attendance were not just readers but writers and aspiring writers looking for that small crumb of motivation to keep at it, not giving up on becoming a writer. Ms. Newhouse was very easy to chat with, very open, and relaxed. I don’t think anyone walked away without some form of encouragement. What I walked away with though was something more than the networking value of hearing and seeing someone else’s success, but in comparison where I had not succeeded. I won’t use the word failure, because that I did not do that overall, fail. But, I didn’t succeed in moving forward with my writing and publishing as she did. And, that had been my dream as it had hers. You see, the lesson I walked away with from her networking event, was not to quit this time. She and I had attended our first ever book conferences in Houston, Texas years ago, exact event. At the time, we both had only one book. Yet, for me after spending hard-earn dollars on several book conferences later, I no longer believed that I was going to make it in the business, so I quit. She didn’t. She kept trying until she got it right. I stayed in my career and kept earning a paycheck. She worked for herself and built her empire.
Yes, networking with the right people will put you in the right position and afford you the right mindset to uplift your income, your net worth. But, overall, it’s those networking eye openers that uplift the soul as well and that net worth is priceless. So writers, get up from your computer, walk into the sunshine, and get into your car. Go meet someone new. Maybe they will increase your value to the Universe.
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 write out loud. The third novel in The Sperling ChroniclesNo Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.

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