Only a year and a half ago, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson was an interior decorator, a basketball coach, and a “closet” writer. Now she has her own book, and radio and TV shows, too! She credits her children with pulling her out of that “closet.” She said, “My sisters and I used to tell our kids stories about our childhood, just like many other families. But strangely enough, my teenagers didn’t get tired of hearing them. They even began to ask me to write them down so they could read them to their kids one day. And that is when my book, Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road, was born.”
Writing came easily to Shellie, but she started to get discouraged when she began the long journey through the traditional publishing industry. She adds, “The publishing world is an elusive and distant land with its own time system, language and laws. Slowly, through careful observation, I’ve been able to piece together some valuable clues to this alien culture.
“The law of the land is simple. If you’ve been published, you can get published. If you haven’t been published, you need to get published, so you can be published. Your chances of getting published are much better if you have an agent. Oh yeah, that reminds me. Most agents like to represent people who, you guessed it, have already been published.
“I’ve determined there seems to be only about six people running Publisher Land with at least one-gazillion editors. But I think most of them are the same person because their letters are suspiciously similar. For example: their letters might say ‘we regret to inform you that after carefully reviewing your manuscript we feel it’s not right for our present needs’. This should be read as ‘you haven’t been published before and pigs will fly before we take the first chance.'”
So, Shellie decided to self-publish. While most authors enter the business wanting to have best sellers, Shellie admits she only thought family and friends would read her stories. She was pleasantly surprised when people who didn’t know her started hearing about her stories and asking where they could buy their own copy of her book. Shellie quickly decided to launch her own website to market the book and to meet the demand for orders.
Shelly said, “It happens that I had ran across some motivational writing from a lady named Angela Hoy, the publisher of WritersWeekly.com.
“I followed Angela’s advice like a Bible while developing the concept and hook of my site — and later in the details of implementing those ideas. I recently told Angela that when I started ‘there’, I had no idea I would end up ‘here.’ Where is here? I’m no longer a basketball coach or interior designer. I spent a year on the web, publishing my emag and selling my book.
“On All Things Southern’s first birthday, I branched out into radio broadcasting. The All Things Southern Radio Show, with yours truly as the happy host, is now on eight stations and, just recently, in time for my second anniversary and in addition to the web and radio, All Things Southern is now on TV! The preview of my first show aired last week on a CBS affiliate out of Monroe, LA called KNOE TV.
“The past couple of years have been both extremely stressful and terribly fulfilling, and I can trace it all to Angela Hoy and her book.”
Shellie admits her marketing activities have dropped off due to her radio appearances and speaking engagements, but her appearances also generate sales. Her radio audience is given broad exposure to her book, and she sells copies at every speaking engagement.
Shellie says the single most effective form of marketing she did for her book was launching a website and publishing a free emag. Doing these two things are what led to the evolution of her success.
Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road is available HERE.
Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road shares the values three little girls (Shellie and her sisters) learned while growing up along the Mississippi River. In the last few years, many stories of the Louisiana Delta have found their way into the major newspapers. They’ve all told sad tales of economic woe and racial tension in an area of the country the media has called the poorest place in America. She said, “I know that Delta, but it’s not mine. In Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road, I hope you’ll find the Delta that I love.”
Everyone today is talking about the redefining of America’s families. Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road will take you to a place where family is defined amidst a tapestry of work and play. It’s true-not everyone grew up in a happy family. These readers are invited to let the Bull Run Road gang, along with their parents, cousins, grandparents and friends fill the empty holes in their hearts, if only for a time. Shellie adds, “For everyone else who had a normal childhood, in a normal family, in an average town, I would hope that after reading this book they will discover that normal is quite wonderful after all. Time is a thief that often steals our past. If the stories told here can bring smiles of recollection, if they can sharpen faded memories and recapture feelings long forgotten, my vision for Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road will be realized.”
You can subscribe to Shellie’s emag, All Things Southern, by sending an email to tomtom (at) allthingssouthern.com. Or, surf on over to: