Many people have a single lifetime career. Not Dale. She is into her fourth. While raising her young family, Dale obtained her RN degree and practiced psychiatric nursing. She parlayed her medical and extensive sales experience to become CEO of her Destination Management Company which for twenty years organized conventions, corporate events, and meetings for national and international guests. Dale conducted numerous educational seminars and assisted in developing a tourism college degree program. During her fourth career, she penned her memoir and has immersed herself in the marketing process. Through her speaking engagements, she hopes to help others overcome difficult circumstances based upon her own personal life experiences. Dale resides in Boston and Phoenix with her husband.
What inspires you to write?
The question I wrestled with in telling my story were … what part should remain confidential and hidden, and what part should be revealed? When do we allow others into our inner sanctums and when do we not? Secrets can be like infections, which if concealed, fester until they become monsters.
These are not small questions! They touch upon issues of intimacy, trust, vulnerability, self-confidence, and fear. I walked carefully between the raindrops. Ultimately, I told it like I remembered and pulled no punches.
This memoir could have been a dark book, “A Mommy Dearest.” But, instead of condemnation, this is a story of l ove, forgiveness, and triumph over one’s demons.
I had been writing this memoir in my head my entire life. Initially, I wanted to write this book for my children so they would know all there was to know about their mother. I hid from them my struggles because I didn’t want them to feel any of the taint I experienced as a child. Their father was slowly dying and I only wanted to shield and protect them from more grief.
Years ago, I occasionally scribbled some notes on pads of paper. However, it was too hard to bring it along because I was fearful of being a traitor, a turncoat to my family.
After all, I was taught to honor my parents and conditioned never to reveal or harm the family, no matter what. And this would not be a pretty picture, especially of my mother, who I loved so much.
One day, I read there was a writing group meeting in a back room of Panera’s (Paradise) bakery and decided to go. At first, I wrote the assignments that the leader gave the ten of us, but eventually I asked if I could write my own pieces instead. They were struck with my story and encouraged me to consider it as a serious endeavor to be shared with others.
I could have put my writings in the drawer but there was something more gnawing at me! I felt that I could offer something to people who are suffering and struggling. I wanted to show that it is possible to overcome dire circumstances and to inspire people not to be victims. As the Bible says: “If you save one person, you save the world.”
Tell us about your writing process.
I am clearly a “Seat of the pants” writer. How did I do it?
1. I first wrote everything relevant to my story, then I cut an pasted it together in order to see what I had.
2. Then I rewrote the entire thing.
3. That was before I decided I needed a theme and a purpose.
4. I then rewrote and rewrote until I realized it looked like a diary.
5. So after I had all the facts, I finally decided to write and outline and attempted to make my memoir read like a novel by introducing characters and telling short stories, from my memory, in order to make specific points.
5. I realized that the mechanics of grammar, spelling and even organization are the last thing one should do.
6. So I rewrote it again and again until I was satisfied with the product.
7. I then had 3 friends and 3 strangers read the manuscript to judge their reaction and I incorporated most of their suggestions in to the book.
8. I then rewrote it again.
The process was slow but I think the results were very positive.
What advice would you give other writers?
Many authors love the writing process but fear the more difficult process of promoting their creation. I love marketing. Selling something that originated in my head is a great challenge and generates a lot of satisfaction. By getting on the phone and the web, I have been able to arrange for numerous speaking engagements to promote the book and even receive honorariums. However, money is not the point.
I have learned a number of important lessons through my forays in book publishing. Here are just a few:
1. Make sure your book is the best you can do before you ask anyone to review it. (No spelling or grammar or organizational mistakes) A sloppy job will turn people off.
2. Start the marketing process 6 months prior to publication
a. So you can obtain some reviews and comments. As a result you may make changes to your book or you may even put some in your book.
b. So you can put up a web site prior to publishing.
c. So you can line up speaking engagements and generate anticipation.
d. So you can develop the marketing material and pitches necessary (press release, bio, a quick 1 or 2 sentence description of your book, a more comprehensive description)
3. A little test marketing can help you define your market (gender, age, ethnic background, technical background, etc. etc.). It may not be clear at the beginning what your market is and you should be open to changing your mind. Understanding, your market can save a lot of wasted time.
4. Realize that The NY times will not review a self published book by an unknown author. However, there are a number of web sites that will offer your book for review.
5. Do not think that the generation of a facebook page or the creation of a 2 minute video, will result in a viral spread of information and interest about your book. It takes a lot of follow-up. Every contact needs follow up. The more people you talk to and the more presentations you give, the larger your audience becomes.
6. There is a lot of free assistance on the web.
a. You can create and submit an Ebook at no cost. (You have to perform all the formatting of the product)
b. You may obtain reviews and interviews.
c. You may put up a website.
d. You may sell your book and set up for credit card sales (The set up is free. Each sale costs)
e. There are hundreds of sites that offer to sell your book. Amazon being the largest. Putting you book up for sale is a necessity. However sales will only occur if you develop your market and exploit all your old and new contacts
7. Once you have a good idea of the market(s) for your book the web can be an invaluable resource to gather contact information about organizations and clubs that may be interested in a book presentation and signing.
8. Do not be afraid of the process. Get on the web and on the phone and talk to people.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After contacting many agents and publishers with mixed results, I realized that most will not invest in a new project unless they see profit. That is the real world. And, even if you get an agent to represent you, you are not guaranteed that a publisher. All agents and publishers want to know how you plan to market your book. Unless your name is “Clinton” or”Bush” your marketing assistance will be minimal.
Finally I decided to Self Publish my book, since I realized that I was the best person to invent, execute and control the marketing process. I think I was correct in that assessment. Some of my marketing is tried and true and some aspects are unique. I was fortunate to be able to define my market.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Agents and publishers are being squeezed by the ability of authors to self publish and circumvent their process.
Print books will be seen less and less with the advent of tablets and Ebooks.
Large book stores and small town book stores will gradually diminish, unless they provide more than shelf space and sell books. They must provide other products and services.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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