Today we welcome Sandra Moulin of Wilmington, NC to my blog. Sandra and I first met in 2007 when I conducted a memoir workshop at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. As soon as I met her (or before from her emails) I knew she was a passionate, persistent writer–NOTHING was going to stand in the way of her publication journey. So here is her baby, Before and Laughter, her humorous memoir and here is Sandra talking about her new book. You can purchase Sandra’s book at her website, The Write Note.  Enjoy! Alice

After writing a humorous column for our community newsletter for three years and having various people tell me that they were keeping a file of my “hilarious” essays, I decided that putting essays like these into one volume would make an entertaining tome to market. I took the best ones, added many more, and over the period of about one year, I completed over 130. The first step was to set about finding an editor.

Alice Osborn, whom I had met at her Memoirs Workshop in Raleigh a couple of years prior had motivated me to write my memoirs (which I did), and so I contacted her to ask if she’d edit my essays. She agreed and did an excellent job of not just editing but giving me marketing tips, helping me choose a publisher and referring me to a website designer. Upon her recommendation, I chose to self publish. I am very happy with the cover they designed for me, with the formatting of the book, the  distribution channels they provided and their prompt delivery of my copies.

My book is “my baby.” It is not just a collection of clever, creative and amusing essays; it is a roadmap of how I see my world. It is ME. I pick it up as though it were a week-old infant, and when people look at it, I want them to think, “Oh, BEFORE and LAUGHTER, how adorable!”

Humor is very subjective.  Although some people may find one topic hilarious; others might just smile and turn the page. Recognizing this as a red flag, I conducted my own survey on peoples’ sense of humor. What I discovered was that what many people laughed at, I did not find funny. What I laugh at, many people don’t find the least bit amusing. Therein lies the rub. As I am a risk taker, I decided to forge ahead and trust that MOST readers will find their own “you-can-say-that-again” or “I can relate to that!” chapter in my book.

The journey of writing, publishing and marketing is exciting, tedious, frustrating, frightening, exhilarating and rewarding. The better one’s technological skills; the easier the publishing piece. I am just now entering the marketing phase, and the challenge is how to sell myself humbly but assertively. I consider this phase a personal journey. I must learn to thicken my skin, assert myself, take pride in what I’ve created and listen to but not internalize the criticism which is sure to come. I am proud to have created a tangible piece of myself to offer the world; but I know there are many lessons yet to learn. My goal is to publish my second volume and to practice what I preach:  Laughter is contagious; spread the virus.”

Thank you, Sandra!
Here’s more about Sandra Moulin:
SANDRA MOULIN, M.A. is a freelance writer whose specialty is humor and lifestyle essays. A former high school Master Teacher and university instructor, Sandra is an accomplished pianist, a dynamic public speaker, a professional actress and a former President of Toastmasters of Birmingham, Michigan. Sandra has spent the past five years writing for local magazines in Wilmington, North Carolina and running fundraisers for local nonprofit organizations,. Her work has appeared in Livin’ Out Loud Magazine, Focus on the Coast, Wilma and The Porters Neck Homeowners Association Newsletter of which she was Managing Editor for three years. She lives with her husband and travels often to exotic places and to visit their four daughters and ten  grandchildren.

Your Turn:
What questions do you have for Sandra? Are you on the road to publication? What tip or tips can you give that might help a fellow writer who wants to be self published?