Family Relationships

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Daughter-in-Law Rules

Nourishing Relationships: We are so pleased to have Sally Shields, author of The Daughter-in-Law Rules join us today. We have so much to ask you, lets get right to it!
What is the concept behind the DIL Rules and how did you derive at that name?

Sally Shields: The Daughter-in-Law Rules is based on the 7th spiritual law of success, which is: the quickest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. By that I mean, be a loving, kind-hearted, sensitive person, and the world will reflect that back to you, even in the form of your mother-in-law! I loved that book The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. I patterned the Daughter-in-Law Rules on that book.

N R: When did you decide on writing as a career?

S S: Actually, the book took me less than a week to write! As the last thing I wrote was a paper in high school, I don't consider myself a writer per se. What I learned was that you only need 2 things to have a best selling book - a passion for your topic and a sincere desire to help people. To quote Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad: "I didn't want to be the best writing author - rather I want to be the best SELLING author!" It was the marketing of the book that really intrigued me, so I use the 90-10 rule - I spent 10% of my time writing the book, and the other 90% of my time and energy marketing it.

N R: What motivated you to write the DIL Rules?

S S: Like most women, I got married and got a mother-in-law. But after a couple of years, I was left scratching my head, thinking, where is the manual for this?!!! I wrote to the ladies that wrote the bestselling book The Rules, and told them that since they helped all these women meet and marry the men of their dreams, they then needed to provide some advice on how to get along with the other woman in their man's life—his mom! These two authors told me it was the best idea they'd ever heard. I honestly just wanted some advice on the topic! "You should write it," they said. At first I thought they were crazy since the last thing I'd written was a term paper in high school English class! But, the gears started turning in my mind. So I started to jot down all the troublesome incidents that would pop into my head in regards to my MIL, and came up with a rule and a solution to deal with each and every one. When I put a few of these rules into practice (and saw that they actually worked) I thought maybe I could help save other young wives years of needless contention!

N R: Have you published any other work that you've written?

S S: I have a music book called Modern Jazz Piano (Hal Leonard, 2004). I've also written The Collaborator Rules: 101 Surefire Ways to Manage (and Stay Friends with) Your Co-Author as well as a poetry book called "A Pond Beneath the Moon" but I've yet to publish them.

N R: What makes you unique when compared to other authors?

I am very focused on solving a problem in a very short period of time. I don't mind telling people what to do or how they should do it. Here's the Rule. Now do it. Sometimes people tell me that they don't want to do these rules because it seems like too much work. Then I give them the Dr. Phil answer which is, "Well, how's THAT workin' for ya?!!" These rules are problem-solution oriented so give them a try!

S S: What inspires your work?

I love being creative and just coming up with stuff that I think will help people, or bring humor to a situation, while at the same time solving my own life's problems! My vision is now to create more harmony among 20 million mothers and daughters in law around the world while at the same time raising money for breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation® is my non-profit partner and we are currently working with 1-800-flowers on a unique fundraising idea for the fall.

N R: Has your book been featured in any national publications or on television?

S S: Yes! I've been in Star Magazine, Girlfriendz, For the Bride, and Obvious Magazine. I've appeared twice on the nationally syndicated The Daily Buzz, Fox & Friends, and have a pending segment on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliette, as well as having appeared on Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio and the DIL Rules was recommended as Book of the Week by Dr. Laura Schelssinger.

N R: Are you self-published or through a publishing house?

S S: I started off self-publishing with Outskirts Press, a print on demand company, but just garnered interest from a small independent publisher with national distribution. The DIL Rules will be re-released on September 1st with a new cover, subtitle, foreword, interior design and illustrations, and will be in stores everywhere!

N R: Who or what personally inspires you to push forth with your career?

S S: I've been a musician ever since I was a kid, and I just get a lot of energy from performing, speaking, being out there in the media and expressing my ideas in my unique way fuels and motivates me forward.

N R: Have your book sales been positively/negatively affected by the financial changes in the country and if so how you come up with ways to divert from it (if negative)?

S S: I notice that the more radio and TV appearances I do, I can keep the sales up. It seems to be more about continually letting people know about the book that makes more of a difference than the financial state of affairs. It would be fun to compare current sales to what it will be like when Obama whips this country back in shape eventually! :-)

N R: Do you have any events coming up that people should know about or book tours?

S S: As I have 2 small kids, I have been doing virtual book tours from home and doing national radio tours via telephone. I do some local book signings here in New York, and I speak at various events such as the ASJA, and the Catholic Marketing Network has asked me to speak at their event in a couple of months. I also do a weekly radio show called Blurb! that is a book contest for authors. For more information on how authors can apply to be on the show, check out

N R: What advice would you have for young entrepreneurs and authors?

S S: I would say keep it fun, because otherwise all those hours you put in wouldn't make any sense! And remember that there are only 2 elements that you need to succeed in any endeavor: a passion for your topic and a sincere desire to help people.

N R: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

S S: I see myself with my own reality show, as a Daughter-in-Law Rules seminar leader, a speaker at Bridal events, fundraiser and spokesperson for the National Breast Cancer Foundation,® and continuing to partner with corporations such as Macys, David's Bridal and Martha Stewart Weddings.

Never give up on your dreams. You don't have to know the how, but focus on the why. Don't set limits and reach for the sky. Do positive affirmations morning and evening, and you will see your thoughts transform into things. You can manifest your desires by focusing on the things that you want. Don't give up because it takes a while for the universe to prepare the meal that you've ordered, but know that it is in the oven back there so make sure you don't leave the restaurant!

N R: Thanks, Sally, for joining us today and for the great information. Readers, here's your chance to get some personal advice from Sally - about getting along with your daughter-in-law, marketing your own book, living your dream. Just click on the "comment" line below and let us hear from you.

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Blogger sallyshields said...

Hi everyone!

I'm so excited to be a guest blogger today! Please email me with comments, questions, sneers jeers and abuses. All comments welcome and I look forward to our discussion!

With much gratitude,
Sally :-)

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did your mother-in-law react to reading about herself in your book? Did it set back any of the progress you had made in getting along with her?

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mention having two young children - did your relationship with your mother-in-law change when she became a grandmother? Does she try to tell you how to raise them? How do you respond?

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say you don't mind telling people what to do or how they should do it. But I have been a MIL for over 5 years and, from my experience, it's not easy for either of us. I have discovered that a relationship as complicated as ours has no simple answers. Ours is a process that is slowly evolving - and grandchildren have been the greatest catalyst.

10:43 AM  
Blogger said...

Hi Anita!

There are 3 parts to that... first when she found out I was writing the book she said, "I know I can be a B....tch, Sally! I'm a Leo. But we're a lot a like, you know. Now go write a best-seller, or I'll kick your butt!"

Then, she read the book. And well, I wasn't welcome at Christmas time...

Lastly, we had it out... and we didn't hold back. She told me what she thought of me. I told her what I thought of her. We screamed and laughed, and she finally said, "You know, I think this probably all happened for a reason." Now, we are close!

11:30 AM  
Blogger said...

Hi there! re: how my relationship changed with my MIL once she became a grandmother.. well, that was incredible. There is nothing that she wanted more in the world than to have grandchildren. Once I got that, and made sure that she always feels included in all the little steps and milestones, I have seen a tremendous change in our relationship. This is such a joy for me to facilitate!

11:32 AM  
Blogger said...

Hi Anonymous!

You sound like such a sweet MIL... it's a very, very complicated relationship, and I feel it is largely the DIL's responsibility to make sure that her husband's mother feels like she is wanted, appreciated and part of their lives. So, that is my vision, to teach brides and wives the art of making friends with their husband's mother, so that years of needless contention can be avoided! The DIL needs schooling and that is what I set out to do with the DIL Rules.

11:34 AM  
Blogger said...

Something else I'd like to add to that... when I say I don't mind telling people what to do or how they should do it, I mean, that I think a DIL should make sure to make her MIL feel special and appreciated by doing all the little things she can like never forgetting a b-day, making sure she calls her MIL once a week to ask how she's feeling, complimenting her and letting her know what a great job she did in raising her son, etc. These might seem like the presumed obvious, but they are little things that can easily get overlooked in the course of daily life. Because the MIL DIL relationship is often fraught with tension, there are so many things a DIL can do to avert misunderstandings and hurtful miscommunications. So that is what I mean by telling someone what to do... schooling and reminding the DIL that it is her job to reach out and make friends with her MIL!

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After you wrote your book, what kinds of things did you do in that 90% of your time and energy marketing it? I'm thinking about sharing some ideas by writing a book too but I don't know anything about marketing. How did you learn how to market it? Janet

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard my mother-in-law telling my husband that "I'm distant." She was complaining because I didn't want to go to her house for Sunday dinner. But we're so busy all week at work that I just want to take the day off and not have to do anything or go anywhere. Why can't she understand that my life does not revolve around her and what she wants? Help!

5:04 PM  
Blogger said...

Hi Janet!

I did everything I could to learn how to market a book, then wrote a home-study course called Publicity Secrets Revealed: What Every PR Firm Doesn't Want Your to Know! You can check it out here:

I also learned how to bring a book to the top of the Amazon charts, and got to #1 in Wedding showers, which opened up a LOT of doors, and I now teach authors how to do that as well. Please get in touch with me and I'd be happy to be your coach!

Basically, I got on lots of radio and TV shows, did virtual book tours, article marketing, created sponsorship proposals (1-800-flowers created a full page ad in the back of the book) and things of this nature.

4:44 AM  
Blogger said...

I heard my mother-in-law telling my husband that "I'm distant." She was complaining because I didn't want to go to her house for Sunday dinner. But we're so busy all week at work that I just want to take the day off and not have to do anything or go anywhere. Why can't she understand that my life does not revolve around her and what she wants? Help!

Hi there!

Yes, this is the kind of stuff that happens, very normal... this relationship is already poised for misunderstandings and hurtfulness... that is why, we as DIL's have to work so hard to not be defensive and air more on the side of compassionate. From her perspective, she doesn't understand all those reasons. Maybe you can start calling her once a week, just to have a little chat, ask how she's feeling, etc. Or start with once every 3 weeks, whatever you can do, but make sure your husband isn't home. Tell her how excited you are to come to Sunday dinner! Be glad that you don't have to cook. Then, go. But not always- just now and then. But strike a balance, because you have compassion and do it happily for your husband. These are part of the RULES for a happy marriage!
Consider it a blessing that you don't have to cook.
Then, help her with the dishes, and watch the magic happen!

4:51 AM  
Blogger Renaissance said...

Hi Sally
I loved this interview - thanks so much! Renee x

7:26 AM  

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