Up Close And Personal With Lillian Brummet.
Hello Lillian, and welcome to Authopublisher.com. It’s nice to have you with us.
Thank you, I’m excited to be here with you today and I appreciate this opportunity to connect with your audience here on this fantastic site!
You are a self-published author; tell us what your book is called and what is it about?
Well, I have 5 books out actually: Trash Talk is a 2-part series dealing with reducing waste and energy use, while focusing on reuse of items that are normally considered trash. This series started with a regular column that was published for many years, and then developed into the first Trash Talk book. Once the contract with the publisher ran out, my husband and I gathered all the new information and tips we’ve learned and then developed this project into two books. Towards Understanding is a collection of 125 of my poems that deal with the emotions and challenges that youth from broken abusive homes face and the journey towards understanding the purpose and value in life. Purple Snowflake Marketing was developed from the experiences we had in marketing, writing, and business courses, hands on business experience and our own writing career. Combining all this knowledge into a guide format to help others look at their writing career as a business and walk them through the marketing process was quite a challenge. Because things change in the world of writing and our experiences continue, we have been revising this book every 2-3 years – keeping it up to date and full of rich content and resources. The latest book we wrote is really more of a booklet in that it offers brief information for those who are just starting out as a writer, titled Jumpstart for Writers.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process? What methods do you use to write and how did you make it through the grueling process of writing your book?
One’s writing process will vary depending on the project and pending deadlines. However, when taking on a book project I tend to focus on topics I know very well and spend a lot of time doing research, reaching out to others in forums, listening to radio show interviews and reading lots of books and articles on the topic. By doing this, I’m able to determine what is missing, what information hasn’t been offered yet, and audiences that haven’t been addressed. At this point I’ll use that information to begin the manuscript phase. This is where my husband Dave steps in – he’ll deal with proofreading, re-writes, and edits. When he’s ready, we’ll both take some time off from the office and then come back to read the manuscript once each just to make sure it flows the way we want it to. At this point Dave will deal with any charts, images and book cover designs. Once the book has reached the publishing stage, I’ll step in and start the marketing end of things… while Dave deals with website updates and any audio or images I might need for the marketing campaign.
Writing is kind of like a “hurry up and wait” process; you rush to get to a certain point and then have to wait for something to be done in order to move forward again. It can be trying on the patience and one has to keep a determined mindset to overcome obstacles and delays along the way. It is easy to reach a burnout phase and at these times I’ll head out for a walk with the dogs, go to the park with them, take a few days off, or take a drive somewhere. Having my husband as a co-writer is helpful since I can talk to him about the challenge I’m facing and we find a solution. Sometimes just having someone to vent to is all one needs to move forward.
Explain to us the process you took to get your book published, from formatting your manuscript to preparing it for print all the way to getting an ISBN and the book cover design.
Once we’ve chosen the publisher or publishing route we wish to take with a book, we simply follow the guidelines of the organization when it comes to final formatting, images sizes, book cover design format. Determining whether we need an ISBN or not will depend on the service we chose (most will provide one for you) and how we intend to distribute the books.
Did you use the services of a book coach or a self-publishing company to help you though the process or did you do it yourself? Tell us about your experiences.
Prior to beginning a writer career, we took a course that taught us the business side of writing – how to query, how to manage the office and taxes, and that kind of thing. Having taken business courses in the past, and having run our own businesses – we knew that we needed to keep a business plan in place and to update it annually. We were also already aware of the importance of a marketing plan. So we came to the career better prepared then most new writers. Having this experience doesn’t mean that is all we need – I keep in contact with a lot of writing friends, writer forums and read or listen to numerous interviews to keep up-to-date and learn new tips. Another thing I do is to read all the information in the guidelines and marketing files that the company will offer on their site, gathering any tips, resources or ideas to add to our already existing plan.
What would you do differently with the publishing of your next book?
Most of the first editions of our books were published through traditional publishers and when the contracts ran out we did some revisions and put them through the self-publishing route. Having experienced both, I’d prefer to just go straight to self-publishing from now on. We have more control over the books, the distribution and we have to do all of the marketing anyway.
How did you market your book? Can you share some of your creative/non-conventional ways/secrets on how you sold your book?
Having a marketing plan is essential, and finding a way to stand out among other writers who are working very hard to promote their books is a challenge. We tend to steer away from traditional book signings and library or bookstore presentations, and focus on writing articles, giving interviews with the media (on and off line), and creative use of bulletin boards and bookmarks. Of course we are active with social networking, have joined numerous writing groups and forums online, and have created an active contact list that receive our bi-monthly newsletter to. I have a blog that I run daily and a large website that offer a lot of information, resources, links, articles, book excerpts, affiliate opportunities… and more. I also host an online radio show – and this increases contacts in the industry from publishers to publicists and writer coaches. I tend to glean websites, blogs and other online resources for links to sites that may provide information or marketing opportunities.
Share with us the different platforms you use to sell your book (bookstores, signing, affiliate programs, website etc.).
Right now we are using Clickbank and Booklocker – but will be moving over to Create Space and a different affiliate company soon (probably Commission Junction). We are also looking at Lulu as a possibility.
Conscious Discussions Talk Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions
Do you use social media in book promotion, and if so, which platforms work best for you? Can you share some tricks you got making it work for you?
Oh yes, I do use social networking as it increases our online presence and it does help us reach a lot of new contacts… however it can also be a huge waste of time if one doesn’t use the sites appropriately. I mean we can chatter about our dogs and the kind of coffee we drink, and to touch base with meaningless and light conversations with people we hardly know or used to know… or we can use them to promote and network. I’m on quite a few of the social networking sites and would like to get on a few more but there are 3 that I tend to focus on:
I’ve set it up so that little blurbs automatically go out about our books and website, blog and radio show every couple of days at different times of the day. I’ve linked the three main networking sites so that information posted on one can be shared with the others. I use LinkedIn to make business connections, FaceBook to create a personal relationship with my contacts by sharing quotes, resources, information about guests on my radio show or blog; and Twitter to post quick notes about interviews and things going on in our life from book releases to articles, quotes and sites that I think our contacts would find of interest.
Care to share some numbers?
Well on Twitter I have over 1,400 “followers”; FaceBook tells me I have nearly 1,900 “friends”, over 500 “professional connections” on LinkedIn; about 900 people receive our bi-monthly newsletter – and for the radio show: we’ve had about 22,000 listeners per year and about 1,200 “followers”. Of course the numbers can vary from one day to the next – and because we’ve taken the last 3 1/2 months to settle into the new community we moved to, things have slowed down a little. I expect that because we are now able to put time in the office we’ll see those numbers climb back up again. As far as book sales numbers go – these directly relate to the marketing campaign… if we are slowing down on a particular campaign due to working on a manuscript or article deadline, on holiday or taking a break (like we did for this move) the numbers will slow down, but then they’ll fly right back up again when we get back to active marketing. This is why it is so important for an author to have an on-going marketing plan in mind that lasts for the life of each book project.
How was your book initially received? Has it been reviewed? What was your response to the reviews?
Reviewers have received all the books very well; each of them having an average of about 42 reviews per book… and all but one of these reviews were really positive. People love the concept of our focus – to make the world a better place by empowering readers to become proactive in their own lives, and highlighting inspiring heroes across the planet. We have a really good reputation as marketing gurus, and the media is always receptive to us as well. In fact I’ve done something like 2,500 interviews (a mean average of 192 per year) and 750 promotional articles with the media so far.
How do you handle negative feedback from critics?
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does we try to understand where they are coming from – what made them feel this way, and what we might do to remedy it in the future. Sometimes they make a comment and then we find out they didn’t read the whole book, but made a decision based on just the introduction… so they didn’t have all the information, and therefore were not able to get a good feel for the product. Perhaps they were just not receptive to the topic because they felt negatively about the subject, for instance someone might hate gardening and therefore not enjoy reading about it. Sometimes a critic will spot a discrepancy or notice a gap in the information, or not fully understand a statistic we have used – and that is something we can remedy in future re-writes. So we definitely thank each and every critic; not just for their time, but also for letting us know how they felt.
Where are some of the places where you sell your book besides through book distributors, your website, book stores etc.
We also offer affiliate opportunities for others who have contact lists that they send newsletters or e-zines to. This is a great opportunity for non-profits to use for a fundraiser – and this is something we plan on incorporating into our upcoming marketing plan. We have links on our various endeavors (blog, radio show, newsletter), and social networking sites. And I have audio commercials for our radio show to help market the materials that way.
Do have any future projects you’d like to tell us about?
Right now we are playing “catch-up” in the office and getting tax files organized for the accountant, we are about to order new bookmarks with a fresh design, and we’re getting 4 of our books out in revised editions through another self-publishing outlet… and along with this we are designing a new look to our website, and then working on getting a fresh set of advertisers and new audio ads for the radio show. Once these projects are completed we’ll be working on a new poetry book, ½ of which will be from Dave. So I guess you could say we’ll be quite the busy little bees this year! (she laughs).
Thank you for being on Authopublisher, Lillian, and I hope to hear from you again!
For more on Lillian:
Conscious Discussions Talk Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions
Brummet’s Conscious Blog: http://www.consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com
Main site: http://www.brummet.ca
Follow me on Twitter.
You gotta hustle if you’re to make your dream happen!