Nelson self-published her first book, “You…the Credit Union Member,” while she was still in her 20’s and had two toddlers. “There were a lot of late nights,” she said. “I cleaned my house and wrote while the family slept. I enjoyed the quiet time.”
A year after she published the book, she had gone through her initial order of 10,000 copies. “I knew how to target my market,” she said. “The orders poured in from every state as well as some foreign countries, and soon all the books had been sold.”If there’s one thing I’m sorry about regarding my first book,” she said, “it’s that I didn’t reprint it. I still received orders ten years after I published the book. I should have updated and reprinted the book, but I was young and afraid of success. Like riding a roller coaster, I loved the thrill but was relieved to walk away when it was over.”
Fear of success blocks a lot of writers, but even though it stopped Nelson from reprinting her first book many years ago, it didn’t stop her from writing. She continued to write in her position as the first credit union marketing director in her county, and prided herself on writing press releases that seldom required changes by the newspaper editor. Her belief was that if the editor didn’t have to do much work, her press releases had a better chance of being printed.
She became one of three National Credit Union Ambassadors for CUNA, the Credit Union National Association, in a pilot program to more effectively share national marketing programs with state leagues and local chapters, and was cited for being their most effective Ambassador.
Following her credit union career, writing was still a big part of Nelson’s life as she marketed her restaurant and later her retail and wholesale businesses.
In 2004, she returned to her hometown for a visit, and left there determined to write a book about the tuberculosis sanatorium where her parents met, and the community made up of the sanatorium’s progressive lady doctor, the patients, and the employees. She has returned to her childhood home on several research trips, gathering the information that will bring memories of the sanatorium era back to life.
Her story Indian Summer appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause, where it scored in the top one percent of all stories submitted for the book. Her story Blind Sighted was the top-scoring story for a Chicken Soup title that was canceled, but she just received the permission request to include it in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories to Soothe the Spirit, scheduled for release in June, 2008. She writes a weekly column for The Daily News/South County News, and her stories appear on www.lewisriver.com. She volunteers at her granddaughter’s school where she inspires the young writers, and where one first-grade boy timidly told her, “I’m writing a book too, you know.”
Nelson is a member of the Cape Cod Writers Association, Whidbey Island Writers Association, and Willamette Writers Association. She enjoys taking Eva Shaw’s writing courses through ed2go.com, and is currently studying Proposal Writing through Portland Community College with author Julie Fast.
She is married and considers her husband her most helpful critic.