Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Lillian Brummet, who along with her co-writing husband and business partner - Dave, have 6 books available including the recently revised Purple Snowflake Marketing - How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd (May 2021)... and also From One Small Garden - Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes (Feb 2021).
First, let me thank you for joining us. I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.
Jerry - I'm so very glad to be here today ! I'm very active online and can be found on dozens of sites however these are the main ones:
Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/lillianbrummet
Brummet's Website: http://BrummetMedia.ca
"Be patient with the process;
be patient with others."
That is great. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?
Well, I'm in my early 50's, comfortably married for more than 30 years and living in my dream location - the Kootenay Region of BC (Canada). We have a modest home that we've been working hard on to make it more energy efficient, water conservative, etc. and creating a wildlife habitat, food production property.
That is fabulous! I have seen a real flourish of interest in conservation, energy efficient, and over all simpler living. How has that process been for you?
It has taken 11 years of hard work here, but we have reached the point where much of the work on the property and the home are updated - except the main carpet and kitchen on the main floor, they still need updating. Sadly we ran out of funds. lol I hope we can continue the final updates in the future, of course.
Hubby, Dave, and I work as a team to manage our many business endeavors. Dave is a musician and teaches drums and percussion through the studio in our home. He also runs a non-profit volunteer service where he will occasionally visit a school to maintain, fix, assemble, etc. old equipment, making it new for the students to play.
That is great. One of my best friends is a band director. They are also always tinkerers on equipment, I think. How about your books and marketing?
He manages the website, online and print images, ads, audio and graphics. He also handles the proof, format and book cover designs - when it comes to the books - while I do most of the marketing. After working together for more than 2 decades, we've ironed out most of the kinks in working together and operate as a fairly smooth team. I'm 5'2", brown hair, kinda chubby and have a flushed appearance. I love being in the gardens, hanging out on the deck or in the sitting area in the yard, and spending time with our beloved fur kids. Dave works a day-job, keeping a steady income coming in to make up the difference during gaps in business income generation.
Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?
Typically, I will discover a problem, or a common question, that I can provide a simple solution for and then I use that as my basis for starting a book or article project. As you probably saw, most of my published books and articles have been non-fiction, how-to genres. For me, it is important to feel that I have utilized my skills to contribute to a more positive, proactive society. My ultimate goal is: To create one little mist droplet at a time, hoping that eventually my career would have created a small ripple of positive change in the pond of humanity.
What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?
I'm a creative person - if I am not painting with words, I can be found painting with plants (a.k.a. gardening) or playing with the fur-kids. I enjoy the arts and at times have dabbled at sketching, painting, some crafts and carving. I'd love to have the time and headspace to do more re: painting and carving... perhaps wood burning too. Running a home business with Dave, and being 80% sole manager of the home, pets, meals, and yard work... doesn't leave me a lot of time for playing with too many artistic activities right now. Dave is a musician, and so he's in a couple bands and when he isn't tackling his "honey-do" list, he can be found in the studio making noise or puttering on an instrument. Dave, too, is an artist and his painting projects mainly cover drum shells.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?
Research every single step you plan to take, before you take it. Never make anyone work for anything; have it all ready for them ahead of time. Be professional, be gracious, express gratitude, and promote every event in every way they can. Writers need to look at their work as a business - their products include books, blogs and articles. Determine how they are different from others in their genre, how their product is better than others, and create a marketing plan that fits with their unique situation.
That is some great advice. What, apart from the above, is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?
Actually the best advice came from my brother during the loss of our parents... he said: "Be patient with the process; be patient with others". I found this applied to our business activities as well. One of the many courses I have taken explained that it is better to focus on what you do well, use those skills and outlets to the best of your ability. I learned then that I can let the frustrating guilt go, the guilt I felt from not accomplishing every single thing right now. I also learned that not every outlet works for every single situation. One book or one person may do very well using LinkedIn, while another finds Instagram is their key to success and another may find they don't use social networking sites at all but rather focus on social media like e-zines or blogs and another author might live in a large center and therefore will focus on book signings and similar events. What works for you now, may not work tomorrow - so you have to be flexible. Each new product you release needs to have it's own unique marketing plan that lasts for the life of that product, including new editions, revisions, contract changes with publishers, etc.
How do you schedule your time to write?
The amount of time I spend writing will vary from day to day, project to project. When I'm in the throws of writing a manuscript, I can be at the keyboard for several hours at a time. I have to get up and move around frequently, whether I'm sitting, standing or laying down - I have to change positions frequently. This is due to a car accident I was in a long time ago. Therefore I get up and take breaks and then go back to it. If I'm assigned an article I'll write it all at once, do the research take the notes, draft it out... all in one session. I hate absolutely loath leaving projects unfinished - my natural tenacity and self-disciplined mindset will not let me take time off if I have a project on the go. Therefore I do schedule projects with a break in between so that I can recharge my batteries.
What is your favorite part about writing?
Would it be weird to say almost EVERYTHING? (she laughs) I truly love coming up with an idea that could make a difference in people's lives. Doing the research comes naturally to me and I really enjoy the information gathering stage. Putting it all together, well organized, and in draft manuscript stage. Then the rewrites happen the following day and this is the creative part, writing for the intended audience. The part I have difficulty with is the editing and proof stages. These stages require long hours of tedious work. I would have already found a publisher for the product before writing it or while writing it, but waiting to see the art or graphic work that Dave creates to go with the piece is super exciting too. One of my favorite activities is, in fact, marketing and networking. I realize most authors loath this stage, but I feel that once you know the ropes and have everything prepared well in advance - this stage can be quite enjoyable!
What does literary success look like to you?
Every published product is a success - we had the idea, completed it, got it out to the public, marketed it and got some sales.... that is success. So many people dream of sharing their thoughts, story or skill but never get around to it or never complete it.
That is very true. I know for me personally, there was a great sense of accomplishment and worth in self publishing as well as with a small indie press. It is important, I think to know what your goals as an author are.
For me, the goal is to make a difference. Of course I aim to contribute to the budget via book sales and article sales and making a living. However the main reason why I started writing in the first place was to give my life meaning, a reason for my existence and survival, and to feel like my life had value, the hope that there is a reason why I am here.
Now, I believe you have also garnered some praise for your work?
We've won numerous awards and the one that means the most to me personally came from the Recycling Council of BC (Canada) for "outstanding work with the media" re: waste reduction (... reuse, repurpose, etc.) - a topic I wrote about for many, many years and we have a 2-book series on the topic of living green as well (Trash Talk - It Is Easy To Be Green). Dave loves to tell stories, share experiences, and strives to entertain while educating. He has a real talent for taking dull writing and jazzing it up for the reader.
Most recently, you revised a work and published a new book? Can you tell us about those?
Purple Snowflake Marketing - How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd (revised May 2021). It has been totally updated and revised, released again just a few weeks ago in late-May. I'm super stoked about it as it shares more than 2.5 decades of experience in the writing and media industries, as well as experience in running and managing businesses. This book will walk writers through the process for each product they release, and create a marketing plan that will help them stand out from a snowstorm of other authors, that will last for the life of their book. This year has been incredibly busy, as we had released our cookbook From One Small Garden - Over 300 Delicious Nutritious Recipes in February (2021), just a few months before the new revision of the guidebook for authors.
Can you provide us with a small exert?
Sure, Jerry. This is an expert from a section found in the first few pages of the book: A Reality Check - For a Home Office:
"Writers often find it astounding that there are so many people who would love to have a free book from them – and often expect it. Friends, family – they can be included in these numbers of people who behave this way. While a writer should expect to give copies away to the media, it is important to not fall into the guilt trips or any other emotional trip that your friends or family try to lay on you. If they want to support you, they will.
Some people lie about supporting you and say they’ve bought a book but didn’t; a white lie – they think – to save your feelings. The thing is they may be embarrassed that they forgot, or couldn’t afford one, or they just don’t want to admit that they are not interested in your book. You’ll also encounter family and friends who are unsupportive in other ways: jealousy for instance is a big one – these people will often tell you about the obstacles of the writing business, how people rarely make money at it and other depressing bits of ‘helpful advice’. There are always surprises and hurtful events for all authors, but we can learn how to keep expectations on a more realistic level.
Support, too, can come from unexpected places – while a close friend appears very reluctant to put a stack of bookmarks on her store counter, a stranger will be more than glad to have met you and will go to great lengths in unexpected ways to support you.
Self-discipline is another hurtle that authors face. The intense amount of time and energy that goes into the business and marketing aspect of running any self-employment business venture – like writing – can be really depressing sometimes…but it must be done. You must also be passionate about your work, reminding yourself why you are writing can help.
Having been self-employed since 1992, we have learned a lot about the balancing act that comes with running a business. Entrepreneurs have to make choices as to what is practical and what takes precedence. We have to prioritize and when we choose something, we have to be willing to make the sacrifices to make that new task happen. It doesn’t take long before new entrepreneurs discover that some activities are very time sensitive. Sometimes it feels like the pressure is on and the emotional pain and stress arise when we have to let something go in order to accomplish what has to be done."
Thanks for sharing that exert. It really gives our readers a chance to sample your work. What is next on your publishing list?
Actually, we are producing Dave's Dad's writings... he passed away about 4 years ago, leaving us to handle his estate, funeral and will... and his written materials. Dad (Frank Brummet) was active in writing groups in Kelowna, Grand Forks and Creston, and was also a treasured member of the local Toastmaster's branch. In honor of this, his life, his writings... we will publish them this year. I hope to embark on Dave's Dad's writings within the next week. We will publish it in a trilogy (Frank's Wanderings - quirky photos, Frank's Ponderings - poetry, Frank's Tales - short stories/memoir). We will donate copies to the libraries, toastmaster group, and writing groups he was a part of over the years. So we will be busy putting this trilogy together, formatting, cover design, etc. for the next couple of months. Once this is done, our slate is clear and we can move on to the next goals :) ....and yes, we have lots of other goals.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
On a personal level the best money we ever spent was going on tour... we packed up the dogs, got a house sitter and went on the road on 3 separate occasions. Taking our camping trailer (we sold it a couple years ago) from the southern coast of BC, through the Okanagan, Boundary and Kootenay regions. This was so much fun - kind of like a working, tourist, camping vacation. We've done various types of print and online advertising and while many have helped in various ways, the most effective marketing tool has been bookmarks... everybody likes a free, beautifully designed bookmark. They are easy to hand out, but also it is easy to get a business, hotel or delivery service (i.e. a pizza outlet) to distribute them for you.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Oh yes! We love networking and would welcome your readers to reach out and connect. We have two blogs that your readers may enjoy. The Brummet's Conscious Blog focuses on inspiring, positive, proactive topics offering a fresh outlook on the world including author interviews, product reviews, inspiring quotes and refreshing articles; celebrating amazing individuals, businesses and organizations doing wonderful things. We have several pages on this blog, featuring local volunteer opportunities, our book reviews, about us, and more. The second blog focuses on topics for musicians, particularly drummers and percussionists: https://DrumItWithBrummet.blogspot.com Where you will find quotes, articles, interviews, product reviews, amusing stories, memes and whatever else we feel will interest our readers.
That is excellent. I think a lot of my readers subscribe and like blogs. Where can our readers go to find and purchase your books?
They can visit our website, where we have a special page listing all the books we have written:
Or they can visit our Amazon Central page... where they can choose the formats such as kindle or print.
Perfect! Thank you for spending some time with us at circumlocution.net.
BELOW IS MY REVIEW POSTED ON THE ZON:
“Many new authors feel the only way to succeed is through book signings and getting bookstores to stock their book. They are mistaken.”
Dave and Lillian Brummet set out to give writers a clear path to success. They offer various preparatory steps, including some good material on self-care and time management. Then they seek to demystify the bookselling process in face-to-face venues. They discuss bookstores, smaller venues, libraries, and alternative places. “If your book has ski content, for instance, visit ski shops to hold signings…” The also lead you through your target groups to help you better identify your customer. The book offers several antidotes, encouragements, and examples along the way.
I often ask people why they got into writing. Seldom is it “to make lots of money.” Most writers wouldn’t turn down fame and fortune, but got into writing to tell a story. This book is a refreshing counter to the many, many, many, many, many books out there on digital sales, FB ads, and internet marketing. There is something special about the live, in-person connection of an author and reader, perhaps even moreso now as we come out of Covid and quarantines.