Thursday, December 23, 2010
Interview with Authors Dave and Lillian Brummet
“Make your book stand out in the crowd! For the average author the marketing and promotion of their own book is a mystery in itself. All the tools and marketing plans you need are here in this great resource tool.”
Hello Lillian. I have many authors on my blog and I know this book will interest them a great deal. Tell us about your book.
Like a purple snowflake? So we authors want to stand out, right? Where did you get your inspiration for this project?
Oh there are so many inspirations behind the book, the first being purely selfish – you see, this e-book really is the same guide that Dave and I use to develop a marketing plan for every single book we release. Having been business owners in the past and having taken business courses, I was familiar with business plans and the importance of structuring a business based on how one wishes to be known. (i.e. being known as a gardening expert). With that in mind I gleaned every resource I could find and took notes of the procedures and marketing opportunities we might want to consider.
During this note-taking process I kept in mind that our career could involve many genres, and have many different marketing projects. Which is exactly what happened. So over the last 11 years of our career as writers, these notes became files, which became chapters and then became a guide… for ourselves. Through the research process, the one thing I did notice was that no one source had a complete overview of each step, and that some books were poorly organized. All too often I found tips shared on sites that one “should” do, but no outline or guide as to how it should be done. And then later, as I became known as a writer’s guru on forums and began getting emails from others in the industry asking the same questions over and over – it was at this time that I realized that this book had to be released to the public and at a price that writers can actually afford. We could not justify charging a high price, since as writers ourselves we know the struggles that our peers go through first hand. We also have a big passion for the world of writing, the power of literacy and it is a lovely thought that because we published this one e-book others are getting their messages out to a larger audience.
You wrote, “It does not matter how well established or how large a publisher you are working with - unless you are already a well-known author, no publisher is going to invest money in promoting your work until the sales start coming in.” Please tell us why this is.
Well, let me clarify that a publisher will invest in the book – they purchase ISBN#’s and pay staffing and printing costs… so they do indeed invest in the book. Some will go as far as offering online e-cards that authors can send out to their mailing lists or offer a limited number of review copies for the media… but as far as dipping into their pockets for some big bucks to back an author with ads and promotions - they need to see big sales within the first three months. If the book gets big sales after this time line it will not necessarily get their attention since their eyes are now on the latest release numbers.
In fact, publishers will want to see the outline for an author’s intended marketing plan and the author’s budget for promoting the book right away during the query and book proposal process. If the author has some name recognition, a basic marketing plan in place, and shows an understanding of the promotional work required, then the author has a greater chance of being accepted by publishers. Now, one of the reasons publishers must be choosy is simply related to budget. They are working with a limited budget. So as book proposals come in they are looking for the ones that will be the least likely to drain their budget and the most likely to bring in revenue. Therefore a proactive author will have a greater chance of getting approval and considerations for any other programs they might have in place.
Is it possible for an author to become successful through the Internet, without leaving their home? Please give us an example.
Sure, we can see e-book authors, for instance, who are making a living from just one or a few e-books. We also see authors in print format reaching out to the Internet audience all the time. The reason? That is where people are. They are not attending events in the numbers they used to, they are not going into bookstores and libraries in the numbers they used to… and so we have to go where they are. What do the readers want? What formats do they like? This boils down to knowing the audience for each book or article that is about to be released.
The Internet is a great place to network and build name recognition. In fact about 90% of our promotional efforts are divided between the Internet and radio interviews. Only 10% of our time is put into in-person events or are through print publications. Blogs, e-zines, e-newsletters and other publications online are great resources to start a writer’s resume as well through content contributions. Once authors have a resume of published work we can approach a publisher and show that others have risked working with us with positive results.
Thanks for all the info, Lillian. We authors really appreciate it. Don't forget to check out their website at http://www.brummet.ca. Now for the not-so-serious side. Please tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Out of 11 years in this career, with the last 5 years being in 6-12 interviews per month, this is one of the most difficult questions I have been offered. (She laughs)
I think people might find it surprising how dedicated I am, to the point that I have a hard time relaxing and have to actually discipline myself to take time off from things. Here’s an example of what I mean – During an outing with a few other people and their pets, I’ll see a few invasive weeds… and then a piece of garbage… and before I know it – instead of enjoying the walk in a meditative state I’m working and holding everyone else up! Or while watching a video I’m making bookmark displays and running laundry machines. …So my struggle in this stage of life is learning to relax and let go at times, and being my own worst judge and critic (who is awfully hard to please, by the way) I find I have a lot to live up to.
Here’s another thing you might find interesting – while loving the outdoor experience, I’m terrified of meeting up with a bear. We’ve encountered a few on the trails and they’ve always run away after, at most, a curious glance. But those encounters have me very wary so as Dave and I do our regular hikes or bicycling trips, you might hear some squeaky hollers that I put out every once in a while echoing down the mountains… something you’re supposed to do in bear country so they know you are coming. Dave (after stifling some laughter, I’m sure) supports me with a manly voice or loud whistle once in a while.
I love it. I can just imagine the two of you bicycling down the trail and making noises as you go. A whistle here and a squeaky holler there, alerting all bears to beware: The Brummets are coming! How comical! Thanks for this fun interview, Lillian. By the way, you’ve just got to relax.