I am so lucky that my husband and business partner share the same passion: making a difference every single day. Over the 25 years in business, we have been able to donate books, drums and gift certificates to fundraisers and silent auctions annually. In fact, we donate 10% of the business profits to charity, we adopt fur kids from shelters or re-home situations, and we grow 60-70% of the fruit, nuts and vegetables right here at home.

A black and white photo of a person writing on a laptop.

As conscious consumers we purchase what we can locally and are aligned with suppliers with a similar mindset. We look at everything from eco upgrades on the home and office to landscaping. It is really amazing to realize that in just the last 25 years we have helped save 7 vegetable seeds from extinction, supported numerous nonprofits and local events, and routinely used our writing career as well as online social media and social networks as a tool for positive change.

Through our efforts at home, media outreach and business activities we have been acknowledged by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Pollinator Partnership, North American Butterfly Association, Seeds Of Diversity, Boundary Family Read, Columbia Basin Alliance For Literacy, and the National Wildlife Federation. We received a beautiful glass trophy award for “outstanding use of various media in ongoing outreach work to reduce waste in our environment” by the Recycling Council of British Columbia. Our wall is decorated with these and other awards like the one we received for being Community Heroes, signed by the Premier of Canada.

Whenever I am feeling low, seeing those acknowledgements gives me that positive boost to keep going in the fast-paced ever-changing world of writing.

How It All Began

I entered the world of writing as a career back in 1999, when the first article was picked up as a column and went on to run for 6 years in several countries. *Later on, that column became the basis for the green living series (Trash Talk – It’s Easy To Be Green).

I continued my journey as a staff writer for a popular print newsletter that had a fairly large circulation and a small niche magazine. Time marched on as I branched out into freelance and assignment work.

The day we signed a contract with a traditional publisher for our first book, everything switched over to one heck of a fast track. Zipping forward to the present day, Dave and I now have 6 books on Amazon including Purple Snowflake Marketing – How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd (revised: May 2021). We have a trilogy coming out very soon followed by a backyard garden guidebook and then a collection of fictional short stories, possibly a sequel to the Purple Snowflake Marketing book, and maybe a third poetry book… time will tell.

It’s More Than Just Writing

Being a published author opened up more opportunities to try new things than I could have ever imagined. Over the years I have worn many hats: blogger (20 years), podcast host  (Authors Read; 2 years), talk radio show host (Conscious Discussions Talk Radio; 12 years), professional book reviewer, and then a product reviewer. Today I keep busy managing the Brummet Media Channel on YouTube, and our 2 blogs (Brummet’s Conscious Blog -and- Drum It With Brummet Blog).

I have won several awards for my poetry and was published in a few anthologies and magazines serving poetry fans. Poetry holds a very fond place in my heart – it has always been reliable, my healing tool, my safe place to fall. As such Dave and I have been able to release 2 books in our Playing With Words series.

What About Writer’s Block?

I honestly feel that there really is no such thing as writer’s block. When we are struggling, it is time to research some of the best-selling magazines or books within that genre. Browse related online sites and groups. Get inspired – speak your troubles to the walls if you have to, or join a writer’s group either in person locally or online.

Throughout my writing career, I have been lucky enough to have connections with the Elephant Mountain Literacy Foundation, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, Urban Gems Indie Writers Group, the Nonfiction Author Association, Okanagan Writer’s League and Grand Forks Writer’s Guild. 

More often than not, when a writer is in this slump, they are listening to and giving into the inner critic, inner judge, or the inner saboteur – setting up obstacles and feeling small. Sometimes we are simply at a stage where we need to grow as a writer and widen our life experiences before we can carry on with that project. There are times, too, when it is best to set the project aside and let it rest until the skills and enthusiasm are sufficient enough to start again. Get outdoors, do some gardening or other meditative activity. Listen to some audiobooks and go for a walk. Writing will always come back to you.

There was a time, once, when poetry was not there for me and my world fell into this black hole of helpless loss. The loss of this tool happened after the suicide of my chronically ill parents when emotions were overwhelming. The loss of this tool hit me hard because writing had always been there to pull me out of depression. Thankfully it returned, and I soon discovered that my ability to write had grown to a new level entirely.

Slow down, make a plan and take it one step at a time.

The world of writing is constantly evolving and the fast-paced changes keep us in this ongoing university level of learning. There always seems to be so much to do, and it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

“Take the time to do the task at hand thoroughly, utilize it well, learn everything that you can do with it, make a plan that allows you to nurture and maintain the work you have done, and THEN take on the next task”. ~ Lillian Brummet

If some of our readers are just entering the world of writing – well there are some things you need to be aware of. But first I just want to remind you that there are numerous outlets, thousands of platforms publications and genres to explore so never limit yourself… explore and try them out because you never know where you are going to bloom.

Let’s start by taking a realistic look at the current environment:

Studies show us that book sales have grown exponentially since 2020, especially in the e-book and audio sectors which grew by 30%. So that is really good news. Writers, too, are publishing more frequently: stats show that 1,000 – 6,000 new books are released in the English language every single day for the global audience to choose from.

Sadly, for every 10 book lovers – only 2 of them are actually reading a book right now due to:

  • Budget constraints
  • Limited schedules
  • Competition via free audio, streaming video, podcasts and online visual alternatives (i.e. YouTube, Prime & Netflix)
  • Free e-books: At one time authors were giving away books as a “promotion” for the book and to create a readership for their work. However, this also created a sector of readers who do not want to pay for books, and so now experts don’t recommend it. Free and low-priced books give the impression that the content is also low quality. Studies show that it trains your readers to expect free and discounted prices, they will not want to pay full retail price on anything else you publish in the future.

“You don’t ask your plumber to fix your sink for free just because you might call him again later on.” ~ Lillian Brummet

The best advice I could give others when it comes to struggling with all the data out on pricing books, running sales or hosting promotional events is this:

  • Offer an excerpt of your book as a free prize only for a particular event, one that has a deadline.
  • It is perfectly fine to offer a discount sales price ($0.99-3.99 e-book; 10%-30% off print) for a limited time.
  • Set the retail price accordingly: The best price range is (US) $1.99 – 3.99 for most e-books, and $4.99 – 5.99 for most nonfiction or educational e-books. When choosing a price for your audio, print and hardcover formats, be sure to research what best sellers in your genre are charging.

Reality Check

The reality is that it can take 6-12 months of performing daily marketing activities for a new author to build an audience, or to get an audience for a new genre you are branching out into. The same formula will apply to any podcast or blog that the author ends up doing as part of their marketing plan.

Most authors burn out their finances, ideas for promotional activities, and direct contacts during the first 3-18 months of a book release. This is called the Honeymoon Period in the industry: When the joy-joy excitement runs out, exhaustion sets in and authors tend to give up. This is when they have to roll up their sleeves and dig into the tedious work ahead.

Studies show that only 1 in 40,000 authors sell more than 1000 copies of their book, and most sell less than 100, due to not being prepared. This means that writers need to have the mindset of an entrepreneur. Studies also show that we have to attract or intrigue a book-lover 7-15 times before they will reach in their pocket and buy a book, or put it in their wish list or to-be-read list.

Write That Marketing PlanA marketing plan should last for the life of each book – including new editions, rewrites, changing over to a new publisher and releasing in other formats or expanding into new venues like e-courses, articles webinars and in-person events – as one does during the lifeline for each book.

While online sales account for a majority of book sales, studies are showing that direct sales are increasing, however, only a small number of those are happening at traditional book retail outlets. There are a large number of alternative platforms for readers too, some enjoy subscription books, and others prefer vlogs or flipbooks audio books or Vella. Also, contrary to popular thought – the age of a book seldom plays a role for a reader; the important thing is that the content is not outdated.

What this means is that the marketing efforts for each book last for its entire lifespan until it is no longer available to purchase. Therefore writers need to learn to be tenacious and self-disciplined.

So the issue here is how to stand out among these billions of books like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm, attract those few active book readers, and continue to do this over a long period of time. That is why a marketing plan is essential.