Sunday, April 3, 2011

❤author: Lillian Brummet Interview and Giveaway!

I'm pleased to feature Lillian Brummet at the blog today. Hello, Lillian! Would you share a brief bio with us?

Lillian Brummet is the host of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show since 2007. On top of these 4 years of radio host experience, Lillian has been the marketing executive for the 4 books that she and her husband have written, and runs the office end of both their writing and drum teaching/repair business. So today we'll be dipping in to more than 12 years of hands-on media experience - Join us as we learn how to gain publicity and write effective queries. Lillian and Dave can be found at: www.brummet.ca.

Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Lillian. Do you believe you chose the writing profession or that it chose you?

I suppose that, really, it chose me. I began to feel comfortable with the pen at a very early age. In my younger years I was often acknowledged in classes for the stories or poems I wrote. Looking back, the style I wrote in and the subject matter should have been a signal to the teachers that something was going on at home – however, in those days, they didn’t have the knowledge that we do now. I remember clearly a short story I wrote about an older woman who wore very bright, gaudy clothing in order to brighten her miserable life - and in doing this, even in some small way, she was able to make herself feel better. I wrote a poem about a child who bullied others to ease their own pain… and to feel SOMETHING. These were both written long before high-school years and I remember the attention I received very well. You see I was shocked that I could move adults to tears, and it kind of scared me a little.

Later on in life, as a teenager, I used poetry as a tool to express the incredible array of intense emotions from the abuse and neglect in home life. After finding myself on my own at 13, the poetry was a way for me to vent and blow off steam – and then I would burn them, watching them go up in smoke… it eased my pain. Soon bits of poetry survived here and there, and as time went on I found these crumpled up bits of ramblings… and upon reading I found them incredibly revealing about who I was, where I was going and how I felt about things…. These were thoughts and feelings I didn’t have before and this started me on the journey to where I am now.

Sounds like a heartbreaking, but very familiar path. What was your path to publication?

The first article I wrote was picked up immediately by a local publication that asked me to write a series of articles in that genre – thus the birth of the Trash Talk column. (Your readers may even be able to find some of these old articles kicking around online, since some of them are still being picked up from online article distributors). I worked for several other local publications before branching out to larger magazines and then into the book industry.

Trash Talk, again, led the way to the book publishing experience and, honestly, it was accepted by two of the first three publishers I approached with the idea. After that project, Dave and I really began writing as a team in earnest and haven’t looked back.

What’s the best advice you were given about writing?

The best advice I received was from the writing course that taught me the insider’s view of what editors, members of the media, and publishers go through. Knowing their time-lines, the publication’s needs, specific requirements and guidelines, and the contact’s name are key to any query process. But understanding what their daily life is like, helped nurture an empathy for their workload and this has greatly helped me in the way I handle queries, follow-ups and other communications with another professional.

What business challenges have you faced as a writer?

Advertising is a huge issue for most authors, since most advertising costs are extremely high and may not result in any sales at all. So to face this issue, we found ways of getting free advertising through major networking campaigns. We’ve done everything from audio ad exchanges with other radio show hosts, and offering free filler content, to offering blurbs on our newsletter or blog in exchange for something on their site or publication. Bartering and networking is still alive and well on the Internet, the key is to make sure that your approach communicates a mutually beneficial opportunity. Therefore it is important to look at a marketing opportunity with a “What can I do for them?” focus prior to querying.

What’s your best advice for new writers?

The best advice for any new writer – besides doing diligent research – is to keep accurate records so that at a glance you will know who to follow up, and when an article or book project should be submitted elsewhere. Record keeping is the only way to know where you are at with the media, - such as: who needs information from you, when you will be appearing on their radio program and what the topic will be. Research is key to the writing career – period. If you don’t know who your audience is and why that publication or publisher should even consider working with you – don’t bother querying. If you don’t know how to reach the audience of that radio show with an interesting topic and one they haven’t heard yet on that program… then, don’t bother querying.

Is there any aspect to your profession that gets you in touch with your
readers directly?
There are several. First, we make ourselves available through the contact button on our site – www.brummet.ca - also they can message us through social networking sites and that kind of thing. Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show allows me to reach an online radio show audience, while the Brummet’s Muse is an opt-in newsletter that goes out twice a month. Additionally I have the Brummet’s Conscious Blog where I offer inspiring green and conscious living, and that includes the world of writing interviews. Each of these sites offer ways for people to contact us, and we encourage this because their comments help us refine our writing, find resources that will benefit our audience, improve the radio show, or glean ideas for future projects or topics.

Thanks for your excellent advice, and for taking the time to come over to the blog today, Lillian. Readers, Lillian has generously offered one first-edition print copy of Towards Understanding to one lucky commenter today. All you have to do is go over to her blog and become a follower. Then, come back here and tell me you're following her blog. Remember to leave your email address! If you follow my blog, you get an extra entry towards the drawing :)

Contest ends April 30, 2011 at 11.59 PM EST and is eligible to US residents only. Enter away, and good luck!