By Laurel-Rain Snow
Today I’d like to welcome Lillian Brummet who, along with her partner, offers services through the Brummet Media Group.
Q: Tell us about your latest book.
Purple Snowflake Marketing – How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd (378 pages) is the latest release – now in the 3rd edition. This book acts like a step-by-step guide for writers, helping them see their career as a business, avoid common pitfalls, create an efficient marketing plan for each book they write, and closes with a thousand or more resources.
Q: Sounds like a valuable guide for writers! Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
I just finished revising the Jumpstart For Writers booklet (roughly 40 pages), that offers encouraging tips, inspiring quotes, and links to incredibly helpful interviews – all mixed in with an array of articles that we have written on the world of writing. Jump Start for Writers can be considered a precursor to the Purple Snowflake Marketing book. We’ll soon have this booklet available in e-book format on our site for .99 cents, and intend to use it for contests and giveaways.
I have 3 other manuscripts on the back burner waiting for me to have the time. These are: a 2nd book of poetry, a gardening book that offers 3 generations of gardening advice, and a recipe book based on harvests from the garden.
Q: You’re going to be very busy for awhile, so what is a typical writing day like for you?
When working on a manuscript, so much of myself is poured out on to those pages that I feel absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. I need distractions to be at a minimum – so Dave will be sent to the downstairs office, both the phone and the TV are turned off (we’re not big TV people), and any demanding chores have to be done first. I can’t be working on something and thinking about the bread I have to bake next, guilt from neglecting the dogs, or piles of dishes needing to be done. At the same time, one has to find a balance and let some things go undone. I like to have some ambient music going in the background sometimes – no beat, no rhythm, or lyrics. I tend to have herbal tea or coffee beside me, but it often goes ignored as I disappear into words and has to be rewarmed in the microwave at least once. I’m definitely a morning person and tend to burn out by 2-3 in the afternoon, so I try to get my writing projects, interviews, blog posts, etc. completed before then.
Q: Your plan to achieve balance certainly takes commitment. As for inspiration, who are your favorite authors, the ones you read when you should be doing something else? Why do they appeal to you?
A difficult question to answer as there are so very many outstanding books in our personal library. However if I had to pick one single book it would be Shibumi, an outstanding epic novel. Friday, which had an amazing and capturing style from the first sentence on. Shadow of an Indian Star, Second Eden, Second Innocence, Lucifer’s Hammer, Let The Drum Speak, On Stranger Tides, The Sea Of Trolls, and Ovum Factor are other favorites that come to mind. Some of my all-time favorite authors are Tolkien, Trevanian, and Agatha Christi.
Q: Promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?
Another difficult question – since as a writer every day we’re promoting in a different way. Personally, I enjoy promotion activities except for public appearances. Generally speaking I have about a dozen social networking sites and a few writers’ online groups that I’m a member of and manage regularly. I also have a daily blog where the sidebars contain links to my work, networking opportunities and services, and I place a signature at the bottom of every post. My radio show, which airs 3 times a week, has audio ads promoting my books. I have a beautiful website with nature photos and good copywriting content that people seem to really enjoy. I’ll occasionally take out ads, appear as a featured guest on radio shows, do interviews on blogs or provide free filler content for blogs, e-zines, newsletters and the like. There are a lot of other marketing activities, but these are the standard daily ones.
Q: It looks like a very balanced marketing plan. How long have you been writing?
I’ve always been drawn to writing since I can remember and in fact English classes were one of the reasons why I wanted to stay in school. Poetry was a tool I used to express all the shame and anger, hate and frustration that victims of violence, abuse and neglect often endure. After winning some poetry contests I started to dream of one day being good enough to be a ‘real’ writer. But it wasn’t until a life-changing accident in 1999 (3 car pileup, I was in the middle) interrupted my life and shook me up enough to make the dream a reality. However, I didn’t just want to write anything, I wanted to make a difference – to make my life have some kind of value, some reason for being.
Q: I agree that a traumatic event can be a defining moment in our journey. Besides your life-changing accident, who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
I suppose that would be the encouraging English teachers that I had in public, private and correspondence schools. Earliest memories are when teachers would read my work out to the class, post it on the wall, send it to contests or begin to cry over something I wrote. I didn’t know how to handle that – it kind of overwhelmed me at the time and scared me too. Yet, when I was reinventing the focus of my life, these were the moments that shouted out to me saying I need to pursue writing as a career.
Q: That must have been a powerful experience. What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?
The concept of being able to make a difference is the most gratifying part of writing. I can highlight something I care about, influence people to make positive and proactive changes in their lives, I can interview people and help them leave a legacy, and create conversation about non-profits and volunteering.
Q: Sometimes, where we live can have an impact on what we write. Tell us a little bit about where you live.
Creston, BC (Canada) a city of about 15-20,000 people (including the outskirt subdivisions) is in the heart of the Kootenay region of BC – best known for the artists, agriculture, wineries, wildlife, stunning mountain and lake views, outdoor activities, bird watching and tourism. We vacationed out here annually and always dreamed of moving to the Kootenays, but after we lost a few family members we realized that waiting for retirement could be too late. So we sold our house, packed up and moved out here a year ago… and have never regretted the decision. That move caused the office to virtually close down for about 7 months allowing us the time to settle in and start up the business again.
Q: Grabbing those dreams when you can is a great way to live. Sometimes these experiences can fuel our creativity as well. What is your strongest and/or your weakest area in the creative process?
I love to work with the media, network, run my radio show and blog – but these activities tend to take up most of my time and then I have so little time or energy left to work on a manuscript or paying article project. I am tenacious, dedicated, determined – and this can lead to having a hard time taking time away from the office.
Q: How many hours a day do you write; where do you create; and what, if any, specific circumstances help or hurt your process?
Well, I write the blog posts about a week in advance, which takes about 4 hours to do. I also write free filler content for blogs and newsletters, etc. – totally a few a week, or 3 hours writing time. When I am able to break away and work on a manuscript I can go all day if there aren’t any obligations interrupting me. Being a morning person, I am in the office between 7-8 AM and tend to leave by 3PM.
Q: What are your thoughts on the standard writing advice, “write what you know”?
Well it is a good place to start, but the real joy of writing is being able to research new topics, cultures, era’s, personalities and create something inspiring to you and the reader. I love interviewing people and spent many years as a staff writer having discussions with people I would have never thought to speak to before; everything from wild pig farmers and wolf rehabilitation centers to mushroom growers and artists. I learned so much from this, and I suppose that led to my passion for the radio show that I host and produce.
Q: Beside “writer,” what else are you; what is your “day job”?
Outside of writing, which is my full time career, I am the host and producer of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show, the manager and writer of the Brummet’s Conscious Blog, housewife, assistant to my drum teacher husband and dog companion. I love gardening – especially composting, saving seed and sharing produce.
Q: Describe your writing process once you sit down to write—or the preliminaries.
There are a number of things I look into when writing a book is: First – what do I know that can help others with their issues in that genre, and what can I offer that is unique? The second thing I will look at is determining the individuals or organizations that I can utilize from our existing contact list for both marketing and as resources. One must write for an intended audience and knowing exactly what you can provide those readers is the key. Being clear about the initial marketing efforts for each project and having a general marketing plan outline, makes all the difference as to whether a publication or publisher will be interested in a project. It will also help determine the type of publisher or magazine that is best for that project, and save lots of pitfalls in things like designing book covers, choosing images, and what format to publish in.
Q: Many authors describe how they find their characters and plots from the world around them. Where do you get your ideas?
I look for a need in the marketplace, and also what inspires me – if I don’t feel excited about the topic then it will read as a dry and dead piece of work.
Q: Were books an important part of your household when you were growing up?
Although I grew up in a broken home environment, often spending time away and was on my own at 13 ½… I do recall that books were very important in the home. I certainly saw the passion my mother had for her books – she cherished them like treasures. I have early memories of going to the library with her and leaving with stacks of books.
Q: Print books and libraries are part of a changing world lately. Have you bought an e-reader? What is your overall impression of electronic publishing?
No, but I would certainly love to have one, one day. Right now I have so many books sent to me in print and e-book format from people who want to be guests on the radio show or blog, and contacts who drop off their used books for us to read that I haven’t found a need for going out to look for something else. Once I’ve read the print books I receive, they are added to the donations we send over to the local literacy organization. However I think the idea of being able to take those e-books that I am sent along when camping or spending time by the lake would be an amazing experience.
Q: At one point or another, many of us face that bugaboo of writer’s block. Any good suggestions for overcoming this challenge?
Sometimes we have to grow as writers to be able to finish a story or manuscript, so I think it is OK to set it aside while we work on something else until we are ready to step into that project again. Getting some fresh air, do a work out, walk the dog, go to the lake or hike in the park to clear the mind of the office. Find someone you can talk to and sometimes, just by talking it out we can find the answer.
Award winning author and marketing guru Lillian Brummet is the author of 5 books, she also produces and hosts the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show, and manages the Brummet’s Conscious Blog. Although it seems like a lifetime of scribbles and notes have led up to this, Lillian has been professionally involved in the realm of writing since 1999. She began writing poetry as a teenager, which allowed her to express the issues and emotions from a broken home, abusive childhood and being on her own at 13-years old. Through poetry she learned how to see beyond these hurts and discover a world outside of herself, where she learned that her life really did have value and that she had a purpose to fulfill.
Lillian has fond memories of an early childhood in California and Nevada (USA) and grew up in the south-central region of BC, Canada. Dave was born and raised in Kelowna (BC) where he met up with Lillian in 1990 and they have been together ever since. Their favorite activities involve gardening, photography, and modifying their home. Whenever the mood strikes them the pair can be found enjoying low-impact outdoor activities (hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, snowshoeing) or playing with and training their two dogs.
Dave and Lillian have been recognized as Community Heroes by the LiveSmart BC program. They have also been presented with an award for “outstanding use of various media in ongoing outreach work to reduce waste in our environment” by the Recycling Council of British Columbia. Seeds of Diversity awarded them with a Certificate of Appreciation for volunteer contributions and Boundary Family Read Columbia Basin Alliance For Literacy recognized them for their support. Dave won an award for his nature photography through Cottage Magazine; his photos grace the cover of both Towards Understanding and Purple Snowflake Marketing. His work also appears on the graphic design work for the Place in Time CD. In 2010 the Canadian Wildlife Federation acknowledged the Brummets with Backyard Habitat Certification for their efforts on their property, and both the Brighter Planet and the Green Providers Directory organizationshave also recognized their work.
The main focus of everything the Brummets do is to inspire hope in individuals, helping them realize the value of their efforts and encouraging them to become more positive, proactive in life. –
Thanks for joining us today, Lillian, and I enjoyed our chat.