Updated: Jan 18
And the train rolls on...
I figured we ought to start December with a bang!
Who do we have now? A married team!
Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind Brummet Media Group, high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from checking off one item or other from their long to-do list. After moving to their dream location (in the Kootenay Region of BC, Canada), they have been methodically converting the abused lot over to the little park it has become – and in doing so have gained certification with bee, pollinator and wildlife organizations. Their home, too, has become energy efficient via the many upgrades they have done. Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion accessory products and graphic design work as well as numerous award-winning non-fiction books and popular blogs. Today we help them celebrate their latest book release - From One Small Garden, with over 300 delicious, nutritious recipes!
Amazon Author Page:
Bio-link Landing Page #1:
Bio-link Landing Page #2:
Q: Star Trek or Star Wars?
A: Give them all to me! (she giggles) Honestly I have enjoyed these TV and movie series multiple times, as well as Andromeda and many others. I like the conecpt of trying to connect with other cultures while mastering one's own impulsive reactions based on fears and misunderstandings. Even when the filming is on the corny side I still find it quite enjoyable - the way the creative writers come up with new species, space or technolgy challenges and the challenging crew interactions is really quite inspiring.
Q: A book that pleasantly surprised you?
Self-help books were my life coaching mentors as I grew to understand (and forgive) my childhood experiences, discover that I have value and that my voice is worth hearing, that I could make a difference. One of the greatest books I read falls in this category - the simplicity of the stories he shares is actually quite important because even though they were simple, they have immense impact on the reader. (Second Innocence, by John Rizzo). He tells this one story of working a summer job as a youth and hating it; he loathed going to work... but one day a flustered elderly lady came and he took extra time to patiently help her. She returned a few days later to thank him - her daughter had died, the funeral was that day and she had to deal with the paperwork despite this. His patience that day changed her life, eased her pain and she wanted him to know it. From that moment on the way he interacted with customers and his enthusiasm for his mundane summer job changed completely. He realized each interaction was a chance to brighten someone's life.
Q: What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry? Your readers may not be aware that I have been a member of the media as well - I ran a talk radio show for 15 years, a podcast for 2 years and a newsletter for several years. In the past I have worked as a staff member, assignment writer, freelance writer and both a professional product and book reviewer. Today, I manage 2 blogs, a YouTube channel and administrate 2 online groups. These experiences had me in contact with a lot of PR agents, and that opened my eyes to the dangers of hiring marketing help. I saw agents send large packages of information, glossy photos and published books without even checking if the media outlet was interested. This waste was shocking to me, all the recycling I had piling up in the office... and the unsolicited books stacking to the side to donate to charities. Crazy waste, and I kept thinking that the author is paying for this. These days I see a lot of people trying to make use of their contact lists and reach on social networking sites to obtain clients... which is possibly a good idea for starting a business. However, the client is exposed to those "friends" who may not have a large following - and the PR agent brags their clients had exposure... but what kind of exposure was it, really? I know of one service that gets their clients exposure on blogs they own... several of them - as opposed to ones run by other bloggers. I think people need to be very careful who they hire and they need to have specific key performance indicators and return on investment and call to action goals in place. Agents will specialize in targeted markets and activities, so be sure you are hiring the right person for your current goals.
Q: What are common traps for aspiring writers? Many people looking at the career from outside do not realize the incredible work load that it entails. They do not realize what being an entrepreneur involves and what running a business requires. People will often go into writing with lofty goals only to realize there are a lot of challenges they will need to plan for. Many begin without understanding the industry at all. The best thing, really, is to pick up a copy of our guidebook (or one like it) which is titled: "Purple Snowflake Marketing - How to make your book stand out in a crowd, " which will walk them through the process of setting up their operations, the office, the record keeping and learn how the industry works as well as how to create a unique marketing plan that not only suits their specific situation at that moment in time, but also lasts for the life of that book.
Q: Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Both - A strong ego will help the writer with meetings, in person networking, speaking engagements or author events like booksignings. People with larger egos tend to be more confident. However, a writer is constantly feeling the critics' daggers, and a strong ego may not handle this very well. Being humble can help one avoid feeling devestation when a challenge comes along or a negative comment is made. Humble poeple are also more likely to ask for help, reach out to find mentors or coaches.
Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?
Exhaustion is my kryptonite. I work from home full time while my co-writing business partner and husband works a full time day job, plays live gigs on weekends and teaches drums in our studio or repairs them in our workshop in the evenings. I assist him when I can, but I am also responsible for the regular maintenance of our home life including the dogs, meals, cleaning, budgeting, paying bills, dealing with garden harvests and phone calls and schedules. I'm the one most people see online, in the media doing interviews or videos. I run the 2 blogs and the Brummet Media Channel on Youtube. Dave's responsible for dealing with technology, publishing and in person activities. Keeping records, following up with contacts and managing emails is a daily time-sucking activity that I handle. So finding time to work on articles or book manuscripts - and having the energy at that time - is a real concern. Poetry is more spontaneous for me... it is not unusual to see me dash out of the shower dripping everywhere looking for a pen before the verse fades away. When I'm involved in the throws of a writing project, I do not like inturuptions. As such, I'll clear my schedule and turn off the phone for a week or two at a time to allow for periods of intensive writing.
Q: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Both - because learning what those readers are not getting elsewhere is the key in defining why your book needs to be published. What makes this book more valuable than the 300,000 others in this specific genre? What makes it different? What can I offer that fills a gap in the market? What is selling in the market and why is that happening? There are a lot of questions to ask oneself while developing the manuscript.
Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Somewhere split between an energetic squirrel and a pondering dog! (She laughs). Yes, I think that sounds right. The energetic enthusiasm of a squirrel but the dogged willingness to put in the work even if the payback ends up being less than expected. Like a dog, I have to love what I am involved in or I end up losing interest.
Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Dave and I currently have 6 books available on Amazon, and we have a trilogy that will be published soon. We had some publication delays with this trilogy but we are still plodding along on that project. Behind this, we have a backyard gardener's guidebook in the works. Following that we have a collection of short stories that we may publish separately or we may collect them together in a couple books... not sure yet.
Q: What’s the best way to market your books?
The best way... is really to have a multifaceted marketing plan. Don't count on one single activity to "make it". Be consistent, be tenacious and be self-disciplined. Just because one thing you tried is working well now, doesn't mean it will work in a few months from now. When the results fade, it doesn't mean you have to give up on that action because it may pick up again in the future. Consistency is the key, don't be afraid to try new things but take on new things only when you can manage what you already have on your plate. If you have to let something go, that is ok - you can always go back to it in the future if you desire. Even with all the decades of being involved in the world of writing we are learning new things nearly every day... especially in the e-commerce arenas which evolve rapidly. Put the time in and keep making forward movement - that is the key.
Q: What do you have coming next?
Besides the upcoming books, I know Dave wants to participate in our youtube channel. He also wants to make his own channel for the music side of our business. All of these activities covered in this interview will to lead up to our future business plans... so, yeah, lots of things going on.