Today, Reviews and Interviews welcomes Lillian Brummet back. This time she is touring with BK Walker’s Authors Promoting Authors virtual book tour. Their full schedule is here.
Lillian, welcome back. A few more questions for you about your writing and your writing life with husband/co-author, Dave.
How long have you been writing?
I have been finding comfort with a pen since I can remember. My earliest memories go back to elementary school where I brought teachers to tears with some of my short stories, won awards, and was encouraged to pursue writing. In high school, English was the one class that inspired me to keep returning to class, despite the fact that I was on my own at 13.5 years old, was holding down jobs and paying rent. It wasn’t long before the growing gap between myself and the world my peers lived in became too apparent and difficult for me to deal with, and I left school. In my 20’s I earned a university level of grade 12 (with the advanced courses) – but despite this gap in education, a pen could often be found in my hand along with shoeboxes stuffed full of scraps of paper.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in writing?
Sadly, many people see the world of writing as a career of leisure – which is actually opposite to the truth. For one thing, writing is a creative process and like any artist, writers need the time and energy to craft their work. This can include brainstorming sessions, research, and learning new writing skills. Any interruption can disrupt the creative process and this can be detrimental to writers.
Time is consumed by office work from book keeping to recording our efforts and results. So as a self-employed person, a writer is actually putting in many more hours than the regular 9-to-5 career demands. Book promotion leads to interviews that can be held at virtually any time of the day. For instance, imagine, that I have an interview booked that airs live at 6 am Atlantic time; this would actually be 1 AM in my time zone, which is Pacific.
Finding a delicate way to create space for yourself and get those around you to understand that you are not available for their needs can be difficult. We actually lost some friends over having to be so strict about them coming by at their convenience. Occasionally, we still struggle over small issues in the house when something needs to be done and it is assumed that because one of us is in the office that day we would have the convenient time line to do the chores. I encourage new writers to seriously consider how they will handle these issues and discuss them well ahead of time with those that may be affected.
Another misconception that often lives in the minds of authors is that they think once their book is written, the work ends there and the royalty cheques will just come pouring in. Again, this is far from the truth. In fact, once the book is actually accepted by the publisher, goes through the editing and proofing processes and is released to the public, the authors’ work has just begun. As much as 80% of an author’s time is for marketing purposes alone; and marketing plans should begin several months prior to the release of a book. For writers, there is a lot of preparation and research involved for each plan of action… and this is something any author or freelance writer should be ready to face.
Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a query letter or project proposal?
Editors want to see that you have done your research, that you really understand their focus, who their readers and advertisers are, that you are aware of the various departments and have taken the time to make sure that your query is received in the right hands and at the right time. Many new writers are not aware that editors work with schedules up to 9 months in advance – so if you want coverage for Earth Day 2010, for instance – you are too late!
What have you learned about working with your spouse (co-writer)?
Compromise and courtesy are two tools we employ regularly. We shared one computer, one office for the first 10 years of our careers as authors. Luckily, I am a morning person – Dave is an evening guy, and as such we are able to find a balance. Just recently we were finally able to afford a second computer and we are excited about the potential for increased productivity. Discovering each other’s strengths and working with those, rather than expecting each other to be able to have skills in all areas – this is a really big thing for couples. My advice for any couple is to stop with the expectations, create a list of to-do’s and have a meeting to arrange a priority list. Once you’ve got the items of the day, or week, lined out in an orderly fashion you can split off and do the work. More often than not one person will be really good at graphics, while another person is good at website maintenance; or one person is better at research, while the other is better at proof-reading. So accept that and outsource where you can.
What are some of your favorite writers’ resources?
My favorite writer’s resources include Rose & Thorne, Writer’s Gazette, Writer 2 Writer, Book Hitch, Funds for Writers, John Kremer’s Book Marketing, Book Marketing Experts, World Wide Freelance, Marketing Guys & Gals, Writer’s in the Sky, Smart Writers Newsletter, Book Crossing & the Savvy Bookmarketer. I encourage your readers to search these helpful resources on their favorite Internet browser.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love to just read, or work in the yard and garden. My joys are to be in nature, spending time with my fur companions (2 rescued dogs, and my husband – lol – ), and doing exercises like drumming, walking… Dave and I get out every weekend to do hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking or canoeing in the pristine Kootenay/Boundary mountains of BC (Canada). While we are out there we try to pull invasive weeds and bring home refuse, where we take the time to sort it into recyclables, reusables (for donation) and garbage. We’ve found everything from broken glass and machinery to expensive sports gear and children’s toys.
Thank you for your time. Enjoy the tour!
My next guest for the virtual book tour will be April 19, James C. Wallace II