Author Interviews, Essays, Misc, Promotions

Interview with Lillian Brummet of Brummet Media Group

Short Bio:

Award-winning author, blogger, and former radio host Lillian Brummet joins us today to share her experiences running Brummet Media Group with her husband, Dave. The couple has published six non-fiction books and has another in the works. 

 

Hi Lillian. Can you begin by telling us about yourself and your background?

My husband of thirty years and I are in our 50s and reside in our dream location, the Kootenay region of BC, Canada. Dave was born and raised in the Okanagan Valley in BC, Canada, in a family of four kids. I always saw his as a “white picket fence family”—you know, not moving around, parents still together, he knew his cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. A pretty stable upbringing. I started out in California, moved over to Nevada, then to BC, then all the way up to the Arctic Circle, and then back to BC. My mom had four husbands. My brothers were both on their own at sixteen. I was on my own at just over thirteen. So, Dave and I had very different upbringings.

 

What is your educational/career background?

Having to pay rent and the basic bills and feed myself at thirteen meant I had to work. Luckily, I was already working when I found myself on my own so young. At sixteen, I was caught living on my own and sent to a foster home for a little over a year. The foster mom, Jan, got me in a Girls Attendance Program and worked out a deal with me to go back to school while I kept a part-time job and some independence. At nineteen, I took a job as a drywall mudder apprentice in the Arctic Circle but ran back to BC in just under a year—so cold up there! In my early twenty’s, I earned my grade 12 (University level with those extra heavy courses) and then took hospitality management, business management, writing, marketing, permaculture, and food preservation courses.

 

How did you get into writing (music, radio, etc.)? Why are you drawn to it? 

Writing began as a therapy to deal with raw emotions, but it later developed into a career. I’ve always felt compelled to use the pen (and later, the keyboard). It is my comfort zone. After taking a course on the business of writing, I was able to get a few pieces published, then a few more, and eventually worked for a few newsletters and magazine publications. My writing career grew one step at a time. My husband’s go-to has always been music. For me, the lyrics of the song are very important. Dave doesn’t pay as much attention to that; he hears all the intricacies of the drums and bass and the technical stuff. As a child, Dave saw a parade with some really good drummers, and he was hooked! His supportive parents allowed him to have a drum kit, and his friends were also budding musicians. Eventually, he toured BC, had steady gigs, did a stint as a house band, became a popular studio-drummer, and is now a drum teacher who also repairs and produces his own instruments.

 

How does the idea of living “green” fit into your values and message?

It is all about consciousness. When one becomes educated about an issue, their awareness develops, and, with that, comes a sense of responsibility. People become more conscious of their behaviour and the decisions they make. 

There’s a lot of negative information out there, so people develop apathy, feel like they can’t make a difference, can’t donate money to their community, don’t see hope for their future, and figure why try? The fact is that every moment is an opportunity to make a difference. 

 

What overall message do you hope to bring to your audience? What response do you hope to inspire?  

The focus of everything we do is to empower others to become more proactive and to help them leave a lasting, positive legacy—to help them realize that with each new breath we are presented with an opportunity to make a difference.

It might sound flighty or fanciful, but on our radio show, we have heard from listeners and readers who were influenced by our values. Our work has helped people commit to recycling programs, to reduce costs by finding ways of repurposing or reusing “trash,” and to reduce the wasteful use of water and energy. We have shown people how to take the story they have worked so hard on and share it with the world through our self-help guide for authors on a shoestring budget. We have encouraged people to volunteer. We have helped non-profits network and learn from one another. We have encouraged gardening. Once people realize that composting keeps organics out of the landfill (where they do more damage to the environment than the cars on our roads), they begin to create beautiful soil instead. We have heard from mothers of victims of violence, men who couldn’t speak about abuse, and others who have been able to move to the next stage of healing because of our work. We get amazing feedback from our drum students who tell us the wonderful ways music has affected their lives. 

 

How did you learn/perfect your craft? Why is it important to you to help writers improve?

It is vital to have a love of learning in any career one chooses. I read every book I could get my hands on, even the out-dated ones. I listened to talk radio shows, studied author interviews, and took courses. But I’m always learning. Things are always changing, evolving; one method stops while a new one begins, so even when you think you’ve got it figured out, you don’t. (Ha ha). With writing, there are just so many aspects to it. Like, you could focus on learning proofreading, editing, copy-editing, copywriting, copyrights, grant writing, perfecting the query, marketing and promotional activities, speaking, and new business tax laws.

 

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about the writing business?

The biggest lessons for me come from my ability to deal with surprises somewhat gracefully. Like, when you forget to renew the website and the website disappears, but you didn’t realize it until you find out from someone else who’s been wondering what happened. That’s fun. Or a computer fails, and you realize things weren’t backed up. Joy. So, next time you have a back up hard drive, but it burns out too. Double joy. Then your printer fails. Deadlines approach right when unexpected visitors come into town. You’re doing a live radio interview when a delivery person rings the doorbell and the dogs start barking. I learned to have contingency plans, to make signs that I put on the gate when doing interviews, to back-up stuff regularly . . . and to be patient with the process.

 

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and publishing, and how do you cope?

Patience is something I am always developing. Things come up, and I’ll feel like my efforts are being undermined. It can be super frustrating to have priorities come up that force me to set aside a project, sometimes for years. I’ve learned that it’s okay, normal, and expected. The trick is to relax, accept it, and move forward.

Do you have another job or do you write full-time? Other hobbies or interests?

I am also a homemaker. So, I have to balance that between assisting Dave’s activities in the studio and writing. I have an active blog that has posts going out almost every day. Promotions for the business, our services, the blog, and our books, and doing interviews like this one. It becomes a bit of a balancing act. 

 

Do you produce books on your own or do you have a team? How did you develop your support team?

Originally, we went with traditional publishers who had a special team for each step of the way. These days, we self-publish via Smashwords and Amazon Kindle Direct. The hubby and I split up the various business activities. 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring, creative people?

Learn as much as you can about running a business through local employment centres and library books. Watch for articles and interviews with people who specialize in a similar field as you. Learn about steps they took and about their successes and mistakes and what resources they recommend. Visit their websites and try to figure out why they chose that layout, appearance, those images, etc. Check out their media pages to see where they’ve gotten exposure, as maybe the listed media would be of interest to you, too.

 

Can you tell us about your future goals? 

Currently, we are addressing the minor tasks we have to do over at Amazon’s Kindle Direct. The publisher said the transfer would be easy, but we’ve had some glitches, so that is the goal at the moment. However, the final edits to the cookbook draft manuscript are complete and are in Dave’s capable hands. He is amazing at tweaking the wording, proofreading, formatting, and copy-editing. He also handles all the images, book cover design, and more. So, he’s got a lot on his plate now, while I peer over his shoulder asking if it’s done yet (ha ha).

 

Anything else you’d like to share with us.

I’d love for your readers to check out the  Brummet’s Conscious Blog  for helpful resources and information. We accept queries for author interviews and poetry and article submissions. I also offer product reviews, for those of your readers who have items for sale. 

 

How can readers contact you?

There are two great ways to reach out. Visit our main website or send us a Facebook message.

 

Essays, repost, writing tips

Repost: Don’t Put Everything in Your Book

I am subscribed to The Steve Laube Agency blog because  its agents often post timely, useful, and practical articles about writing and publishing. I thought this post on the writer’s platform and its relationship to an author’s books was worth sharing.

I hope you enjoy today’s post by Click heading below for article. 

Don’t Put Everything in Your Book

 

download

Essays

Update on Wolf’s Bane and Excerpt

Here’s the update on Wolf’s Bane, the sequel to my self-published book, The Purple Morrow. The formatting for the ebook version is finished! The active Table of Contents is complete, chapter heads, and alternating Headers and Footers are working…OMG, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Here’s something about this process that I thought I’d share. Last week, as I was building up towards the formatted version, I realized I still needed help in order to finish the project right. As some of you know, this is an old manuscript: about 2 years old, maybe more. It has gone through so many revisions, rewrites and beta-reads I’ve lost count. I did manage to find a great proofreader. But something inside me still said, “Wait.” Now, I know no book is ever perfect–I’ve found errors in books published by big publishing houses, as I’m sure some of you have. Still, I want to do everything I can to make sure my readers have the best reading experience possible. So, because I can no longer see the errors, even obvious ones, I did something I haven’t done before: I asked for test readers. Three responded: one who read the first book and two who have not. It’ll be interesting to see the results.

Now, there are a few specific reasons I did this. To save time, I’ll just copy the message I sent the test readers, as I think it explains things well:

…There are two reasons I decided to host a pre-release (test) read/review of Wolf’s Bane. The first is for marketing, word of mouth, and publicity reasons. (i.e. I asked them to note sections that might be good for taglines, excerpts, citations, etc. I also asked them write a review which I can then post on my blog/website, press-releases, interviews, etc.).  The second is because I also need a little help with the manuscript. I’ll explain: This review version is the version I intend to publish. It has been proofread and I have made the recommended changes, but I haven’t reread the final version. There are two reasons for this: a) I have read the story so many times that, even though I love the story, I just can’t reread it again. By the time I will be able to, too much time will have to pass and I won’t ever get it published, and b) I am concerned that if I reread it now, I’ll start to change things, which, again, would delay the process. As you know, any story, even good ones, can be tweaked until Kingdom come, lol So, should you notice things that don’t follow (ex. words left out, or something that reads as though it might have been added at the last minute) please note them. I’m NOT looking for another proofread or edit, but things that just might read as out of place. Also, if you see any formatting issues I might have missed, please note those as well. After staring at 400 pages over and over, I just don’t see errors anymore…

Now, I might be taking a big chance with this; I don’t know. But, at this point, it seemed like the best way to handle the situation. Once I get the readers’ comments back, I intend to update the formatted version and upload that for publishing. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and once again, my super-talented illustrator sister, Amy Hands, is working on the cover art. See below for the painting of Jeru (main character) that she did for me. She is available for other projects!

Painting by Amy Hands
Painting by Amy Hands

 

The final stage after that, is for my also super-talented and dedicated husband, Samuel, to get to the graphic designing. He’s done both my current covers (The Purple Morrow and The Eagle’s Gift WIP), so if you’ve seen them you’ve seen his work. 🙂

And lastly, here’s an excerpt from Bane for you. In this section from Usurper (chapter 1), we get to know Oren, Kelen’s adoptive father, a little more, and are introduced to a new player in the game. Oren is on his way to a meeting when he pauses to reflect on an event that might tip the scales of fate in his favor…

From dustin.wikidot.com
From dustin.wikidot.com

Though he knew he was wasting precious seconds, Oren could not stop himself from taking a few more to reflect on what had interrupted him. The very thought of it sent excitement and a deep sense of satisfaction through him. Mid-way through his nightly meditations, he had sensed an old, familiar presence, one he had not felt for at least a year. The call had been faint, yet so surprised was he to hear it whispering at the edges of his thoughts, that he had ceased his incantations mid-sentence. Instantly filled with longing as well as a lingering hatred, Oren had thrashed his way through the scrolls and quills and a selection of prized books to the bottom of an ancient cedar trunk where he had found the crystal tuning orb.

 Once seated before it, he’d wasted only a moment to consider what he was doing and how many Seer laws he was breaking. But the presence called again, more insistently this time, so Oren pushed his reservations aside and set his eyes on the crystal’s clear, reflective surface. Calling up the appropriate incantation, he whispered the words, and soon, like struck crystal, the voice rang clear. Sweet and alluring to his soul as ab-clan honey to the tongue, it also exuded an undertone of discordant tension. This was fitting, for Oren both loved and loathed the Dark Master. As a moth is drawn towards the flame of his own destruction, he did not have the power within himself to refuse the Master’s call.

Lapi shuffled further out of Oren’s way to allow him a clear path to the door. The sound of his dragging feet against the floor drew Oren’s attention back to the situation at hand. He sneered at the nearly prostrate attendant, grabbed the edges of his crystal-embossed outer robe, and then crossed them one over the other before tying them down tightly with a red, tasselled sash. At the door, Oren twirled out of the room, but not before giving the attendant another withering look. “You are correct, Lapi. I do hate to be interrupted; however, not as much as I despise being late to meet the Naagra-Oni. Something I now must do, thanks to you!”

The door slammed behind him, its ringing most certainly heard throughout the entire east wing of the temple. Oren imagined the weak-minded Lapi trembling from his fury, or better yet, fainted on the floor. And smiled.

(excerpt Dyane Forde Copyright © 2014) 

Thanks for stopping by! Have you used test readers before? How are your formatting and self-publishing attempts going? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

 

 

 

 

Essays, Misc

Final Thoughts on the Real Writer’s Life

I’m back! I’ve been out of commission a few weeks but that doesn’t mean the old brain has stopped thinking about writing or blogging. Spending days alone in a hospital room—by some miracle, I lucked out and was given a private room—I had PLENTY of time to think. And to think some more. So, what conclusions did I come to during this time?

from www.genevieveng.com
from http://www.genevieveng.com

Well, I decided it was time to close the book on my ponderings about the writing life for the moment, and that this last post should do it. Like anything new, understanding the writing business and my place in it took time but I think I finally came to grips with something important.

Brace yourselves.

I concluded that it’s entirely possible that this dream of making it as a successful writer could end up being little more than an expensive hobby.

Gasp!

Somewhere in the backs of our minds we already know this but hope, passion, and drive shoves the possibility aside. Only, once you get your feet wet, once you start putting in the real elbow grease to sell your books, that’s when reality really hits. This is really hard!

It’s aggravating. When I think back over these last few years and what they involved, it was the hope of success that pushed me through each challenge—I climbed those mountains because of the carrot dangling at the end of a rope. And that’s not to say that I have failed, nor is this sour grapes. I achieved my life-long dream of writing and self-publishing a book (The Purple Morrow) and I am proud of it. I’ve gone ahead and written the sequel and started the last book of the series. I plan to write and publish those and the other books I’ve got brewing in my head. I’m blessed that Morrow is selling, and, thanks to you all, my blog is doing well, and people like my stories. It’s just that the business part of this writing gig involves so much time and effort (and money!) and it doesn’t always pay us back in kind—in other words, we don’t always receive according to what we’ve put in. Or worse, more is required before we begin to see any form of meaningful return.

Do you see where I’m headed? I don’t know about you but I’ve got a fulltime job and a family to support. Luckily, I’ve made back the investment to produce my book but therein lies the truth we keep hearing all over the web: writing is also a business. In order to make money, you have to spend money. Which involves risk. Realizing that any further investment in time and money might not bring in a decent return gave me pause. How far do I want to go? How far can I go? These are some of the questions that every serious writer should be asking themselves.

I’m not at all saying that we should only write to make money. But there is a difference between writing as a hobby because we love it and writing because we want to publish so we can reach larger numbers of readers and earn something for our efforts. Most of us write because we love it. So much so that we lock ourselves away from our own families and the rest of the world to ‘live’ in another, made-up world. And that’s the way it should be, at its heart. We do what we love because we love to do it. I just think it’s important to know why we write so that we can know what to expect before jumping in with both feet.

So…is this post all about discouraging people from wanting to publish their books? Not at all. As usual, my goal is to share of my own experience for the benefit of someone else. If even one person comes away from this with a clearer and more realistic picture of what awaits them, then I’m good.

If you are thinking about writing seriously, here are some things to consider:

Writing is competitive: There is a ton of competition out there. Anyone can publish a book these days, and for reasons unknown, even poorly written books suddenly strike it rich. Does that mean quality doesn’t matter? No, it definitely does. Putting your name on a book will associate you with it until the end of time. Write your book but write it well; your reputation is at stake. Also, success or failure aside, it’s important to do your best to produce something you can be proud of. Just know that no matter how well-written your book is it might not sell as well as you’d hoped. Reality check number 1.

Writing is time consuming: It takes time to produce something of quality. This is true whether you write part-time or full-time. You will write, rewrite, edit and re-edit until you can’t stand you story anymore, but these processes are essential. I think readers can tell when a story has been thrown together versus one where the author took time to nurture and develop the world and its characters. I think any reader who lays down money for a book expects to be treated to a well-told story, so be certain you put in the time needed to properly craft your tale.

Writing is expensive: There are many ways to publish books. There’s doing it for free on a site like CreateSpace, there’s hiring a company to help with editing, book covers and formatting, or the traditional way of going through an agent to maybe one day get a deal. In any of those cases, a quality edit is needed—again, regardless of the format chosen, it’s important to have a manuscript that is as clean and free of plot holes and content errors as possible. IMO, this means paying a qualified person to do the work. Friends and family might be okay for a beta read and to build the morale, but if you are asking readers to lay down their hard-earned money to buy your book, do them a favor and get a good edit. Again, your rep is on the line, and after all the hard work you put into the story, you deserve to have your manuscript shine in the best light possible.

Writing is full of disappointments: As high as we can feel after creating a piece we love, there are some intense lows that come hand in hand with writing. Rejection after rejection letter from agents, publishers, magazines, are some examples. A story that didn’t get the attention or reaction you wanted, or a book that didn’t sell as well as expected, are others. There are no guarantees in any venture we undertake, but knowing that the road ahead is not all sunshine and rainbows can help us better prepare mentally and emotionally for the ups and downs.

Writing is taxing: We all know this. Not only do we have to write well, we have to market well, we have to find and connect with the new markets, we have to connect with our readers, we have to…the list goes on. And on. And on. There is never ANY end to the number of things we have to do. And those who have more time to dedicate to it all naturally have a leg up on those who don’t. They say that writing should be considered as a second job, and in a lot of ways, it is. If you add up the hours spent writing, platform building, and in social media I’m sure you’d be surprised at how much it added up to. And we wonder why we are always tired!

So what is a writer to do?

www.picstopin.com
http://www.picstopin.com

That’s what I have been struggling to figure out these last few months through my posts. I have been slowly coming to the conclusion that perhaps writing just might become an expensive hobby. Or, that it might take a lot longer than expected before there are important returns on the investments I have made and will continue to make. It’s sobering, but as far as I can tell, it’s the truth. I haven’t yet decided on what to do next, or how to handle this possibility, but I am taking the time to re-evaluate my priorities and expectations. I think, for the moment, that’s the best I can do.

How about you? What do you think? Where are you on your publishing or self-publishing road?

Essays

The Book is Written-Now What?

Well, I did it. I actually wrote tonight! Seems strange to say after posting only a few weeks ago about how I’d found my ‘writing mojo’ again. It was true, but that was actually in relation to editing a manuscript not writing one. At the time, I’d become excited about the story again and went into rewrites with gusto. I’d reconnected with the characters and their crazy world and couldn’t wait to finish it right. But that project is done and now…well, I’m trying to figure out where to turn next. I have two WIP’s already simmering on back burners somewhere as well as book three of my trilogy to write. So which one should I pull out?

Seems simple, but I find right now that Life is getting in the way of writing. I just published The Purple Morrow, my first book, and as exciting and amazing as that is, publishing it is still near the beginning of the book-making-selling process: now comes the business of getting it into the hands of readers. That takes time! I’ve got local bookshops to meet, book signings and whatnot to look into, not to mention online marketing tools to learn and develop…the list goes on and on. The stress constantly increases. And it’s November, the most depressing month of the year–I mean, really, pitch black outside at 4:30 PM? Who came up with that???

Futurama

I love writing but I find I’m in a new phase called Exhaustion. Life was simpler when all I had was the Dream to publish a book and all I had to do was sit at my laptop and write! Now there’s all this Other Stuff added to that, which though interesting and new, takes away from the simple joy of doing what I love best, all because I want to get my book out there, make it stand out from the others circulating in the market, and maybe make some pocket change in the process. Am I complaining? No. I enjoy challenges and I enjoy learning so it’s not all bad. I guess I’m just starting to realize the impact that pursuing this dream is having on my life as I push along this second career path. It’s time consuming like crazy and sometimes I think, “Something’s got to give.” But what?

Anyway, this is my evening ramble just before I head to bed. If anyone can make sense out this, drop me a line. Anyone have words of wisdom to share or a related experience to share? I’d love to hear from you.

Nighty-Night!