11 Questions for the Indie Publisher…Featuring Lillian Brummet

Posted By on October 20, 2010

This is another installment from our series 11 Questions for the Indie Publisher. This time we are featuring indie author Lillian Brummet.

Please let me know if you would like to be featured!

Your name:  Lillian Brummet

Your website/blog: www.brummet.ca; http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com

Your bibliography: Lillian Brummet is the co-author of the books Trash Talk and Purple Snowflake Marketing. She is the author of Towards Understanding, host of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio Show, and manager of the award-winning Brummet’s Conscious Blog. She offers a bi-weekly newsletter as well. A quick Internet search will reveal just a few of the hundreds of articles she has written for publications around the globe, and thousands of interviews with Lillian. She has volunteered with many organizations over the years, is a member of Seeds of Diversity Canada and has a passion for rescuing animals and motivating people to be more proactive in leading a conscious and green lifestyle.

1. What is your background? I grew up in a broken home, was on my own at the age of 13, and yet was able to put myself through school, stay out of the system and pay my own way. I began writing very early in life, but used it as a healing tool during my early years to deal with the past. It was in ’99 that we (my husband Dave and I) decided to use this talent for writing as a way to pursue our passions in life and create positive change… leaving a lasting legacy.

2. What led you to self-publishing? I started out as a free-lance writer, later working for several different publications on assignment or as a staff member for a few years, and then branched off to write books… which is our main focus now. We have worked with a few different traditional publishers (in print, with royalties) and soon learned that there were very few benefits in dealing with publishers, as opposed to being on our own. Sure they find distributors, set up the ISBN and so forth, but everything else is left up to us, the writers. So now we are focusing on taking all our work into e-book format. Already 3 of our books have been updated, totally revised and released as e-books and we have numerous others coming out soon.

3. What have you found to be the biggest challenge in self-publishing? You absolutely must have self-discipline. You are the only person who will be communicating with anyone connected with your book so you must be prepared for that. The initial set-up for this can be daunting at first due to the draft email/letter creations and media kits and record keeping… Once all this is set up, the process becomes much more smooth. Keeping up to date with my records is a challenge due to communicating with a large number of media contacts every single day… Who was followed-up on? Who received the files they were looking for? When is the event happening and have I created the promotions for that event? Balancing all of this with the actual task of writing (she laughs) can be a challenge.

4. What has been the biggest surprise about self-publishing? The biggest surprise is how receptive people in the industry are for this genre. It used to be laden with a stigma but that is now fading. People are becoming more educated about the various formats and genres in the industry and the green benefits of alternative publishing options are catching on too. Even e-books and audio books, the newest entries in the world of writing, are getting great reception out there in the marketing sphere.

5. Describe your writing process. The writing itself starts with an idea and the consideration of who I am speaking to. Once I have those two items the rest just falls into place. If I know my audience, I am already aware what they are looking for, what will appeal to them. I then create a brief outline for larger non-fiction projects, and this outline is very flexible so that I can keep the creative level high as I work through the process. Research is a biggie for me I love to research the topics, issues, people involved in an issue contact them and then use this information in the writing process. I don’t worry about editing just yet and sometimes create a few pages just for notes that I can refer to. Once the writing piece has been created, then I become concerned with flow that one idea leads to the next, one paragraph leads to the next. Sentence structure and other editing like grammar is something I do relatively last. My husband is an exceptional editor and proofreader, so he will often work on the project at this point. After taking some time away from it, we will return and read it at least one more time before submitting.

6. How do you stay disciplined? The motivation behind staying on top of things is that I am not having to work for the man… that dreaded day job of drudgery. So that keeps me aware of my position, that by working for myself I do not have to answer to anyone but myself, yet I do find the hardest person to please IS myself! (She laughs). Keeping good records is key to my success in being on top of things. Who I’ve submitted to, where that communication is at and whether they need to hear from me again – these can all be seen at a glance just by using color codes. Green for contacts that are completed, blue to follow up on, pink is a confirmed event, but not yet made public purple lets me know that I’ve already dealt with that contact and it was a positive outcome. Excel is a great program that my husband taught me to use years ago. Every 6-8 months I go through the year’s contacts in that file and do any follow-ups necessary before moving on to new ones.

7. How are you financing your publishing project? With e-book publishing there is no cost, as long as one doesn’t have to outsource things like PDF or EPub (Electronic Publication) formats, image creation, website design, publicity and so on. One can learn how to do each of these tasks, however it can take a huge amount of time and if you cannot find the resources, than you are facing costs for educational courses. Luckily Dave and I work as a team he is really talented with graphics, art, writing copy (sales language), website design, and technical problems. So with my research, content creation and marketing skills we make a great team. He does well with public appearances, I prefer working online and enjoy working with the media, while Dave is comfortable setting up affiliate opportunities and putting our book cover images together. As such our costs are minimal only the advertising we choose to pay for, such as bookmarks and ad spots in a publication, are expenses for us; but most exposure can be had for free if one had the time and initiative. This doesn’t mean that writer’s services are not a necessary commodity, but for the financially constrained author one doesn’t HAVE to outsource, unless they want to.

8. What is your favorite self-marketing idea? Alley-cat marketing… which is really the basis of our e-book Purple Snowflake Marketing How to Make Your Book Stand Out In a Crowd. Simply put it is the difference between giving someone a pen with your information on it or cold-selling someone through an ad; which is what people are tired of… their eyes will just glaze over. It is a different approach, you are giving something away first, rather than asking them to buy. This could be a tangible or intangible gift, but something that benefits the recipient and creates a warm-fuzzy-feeling that motivates them to find out more about you or support you in some way.

9. What advice do you have for burgeoning self-publishers? If you are just starting out in the world of writing and do not already have a following of some kind than you will need to start from the very beginning and that means defining your niche (your writing style, the meaning behind your writing…) and whatever defines you as a person or as a writer. Starting with this you can then begin to develop you marketing platform and design a plan to gain name recognition. Name recognition can be developed in many different ways, which can be confusing and daunting if looked at in a certain light however if looked at in a positive light, these variables give you the opportunity to develop a plan that suits your unique situation and help you stand out in a crowd like a purple snowflake.

10. When you’re not writing what do you do for fun? I am really into gardening, I call it playing in the dirt – it is me time and a form of meditation for me. Dave is a great cook and we often work together, me being the prep-cook/cleaner-upper most of the time. Dave and I spend a lot of time together out of the office as well. We enjoy hiking, bicycle activities and camping. Our love of nature keeps us busy we can often be found cleaning up a beach site, or a river access site or trail… or pulling out invasive weeds. Our dogs help us keep fit as they certainly need their hour-long walk every day and other training or attention that they must have. They bring a lot of joy into our lives and keep us laughing.

11. What project are you currently working on? We are currently building our new e-book empire. Dave has been working for months behind the scenes getting things ready for a new website, and a new e-store offering a whole range of e-books and products. We are selling our books in e-format from now on, as well as many new things to come such as the long-awaited garden book, a series of how-to books, and sequels to Dave’s drum lesson projects. My blog (http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com) and our radio show (http://blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions) keeps us busy as well. I start every day with a quick glance at what is happening for these two projects, who is appearing as a guest, what topic I’ll be covering that day… and so on. I love doing interviews and blog appearances, and am regularly appearing in the media whenever possible. There is not a day that goes by that I have not done some form of marketing except one of the three days that I do take off each month. I don’t even open the office door for three whole days in a row every single month and this allows me to refresh my mind and my relationships as well.

About The Author

As a writing coach and publishing consultant, I have worked with hundreds of authors, helping them write, edit, and publish hundreds of books. My book The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is slated for publication by Writer’s Digest in March 2010. I currently own Self-Publishing Resources; we provide book writing, book packaging, and book marketing services for self-publishers and small presses.


One Response to “11 Questions for the Indie Publisher…Featuring Lillian Brummet”

  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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