What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
That would be Purple Snowflake Marketing – and thanks for asking! I love this book – it is our personal marketing plan and I have used it for everything we write; each article, book or media event utilizes the contents in the e-book. It focuses on providing a step-by-step guide to creating an effective, frugal marketing plan for each product a writer produces. Not only that but the reader will learn how to make their marketing plan last for the life of that product – so if I have a book contract for 5 years with one publisher then I can expect to develop an outline for a marketing plan to last for those 5 years. What most publicists, publishers and agents like about this e-book is that it offers more than 900 useful resources in the 26 appendices. Other publicists tell me the event calendar in one of the appendices is worth the price of the book alone. Of course we love hearing this, but when we hear back from the individual author who tells us that we have given them the encouragement and tools they needed – well… there’s just no feeling like it.
Tell us something about yourself.
I have many passions – the environment, gardening, writing, spending time in nature, rescuing dogs and cats… I have a huge passion for literacy and the power of having access to written works. Today’s e-books, hand held reading devices, audio books and other formats are really leveling the playing field when it comes to location and economic status on this planet. Now anyone, everyone who can read has access to vast amounts of information.
For many years I worked on a volunteer basis as a book reviewer at several professional review sites. The experience was invaluable. I learned so much from just reading those books, learning from each author… but I was also challenged to improve and expand upon my skills as a writer – becoming more creative and finding new ways to write book review articles that are rich with information and really evaluate the book for the reader. It was a lot of fun and I hope, (she laughs), that some day I’ll have the time to take this on again.
Instead I offer writers of most genres another option – my radio show Authors Read, where they can come in to read an excerpt from their published work to our international audience.
Whenever I receive a book from friends/family (who are well aware that we are voracious readers) or through publicists/authors querying to be on one of the radio shows I host, those books are not sold or traded (although I see nothing wrong with that). What I do is donate them, used and new books by the hundreds every year for the last 8 years to: the Grand Forks and West Boundary Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy – the Women’s Resource Center – Whispers of Hope Org. – the Grand Forks Public Library – and the Community Futures Resource Center.
What inspired you to write this book?
Great question! Most people would think that our motive was to make a lot of money, but as I was trying to demonstrate above – we really believe in the power of literacy and want to encourage people to share their lives, their ideas, skills, experiences… through memoirs, poetry collections, short stories… whatever they are comfortable with. The comfort this brings to family members and loved ones that are left behind is incredible. They will learn about themselves as well as their family history. So you don’t have to be published to be a writer. Just write.
Now we were being asked via emails and on forums how we did virtually everything we did to get where we are. And often the questions would be repeated and repeated, over and over. So we decided that this book just had to be made available to the public. We did the research and a lot of people out there with similar products rich in content and found they were charging a lot of money – money we couldn’t afford, let alone a new author. With this in mind we worked hard to find a way to produce this book at an affordable price for writers everywhere.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that method?
We knew most writers are online – or at least have computers, and would find the appendix section of use in this format since they could access the resources with just a click of a mouse.
Purple Snowflake Marketing is in e-book format, we have the opportunity to update it every year – or so – with new, useful information that we have learned since the last publication and new resources. And I just love the “green” aspect of electronic publishing.
How can writers help the industry become more environmentally conscious?
Oh, it is amazing what the individual can do. Simply look around for a publisher that donates to charity, supports an environmental fund, contributes to a pollution-offset program or tree-planting program. Other things to look for are how the products are produced: What kind of recycled content is present? What are the in-house recycling programs? How do they support their local community?
Just asking the publishers, printers, and others that a writer will encounter in their career what their policies are in this regard can have an amazing effect. It gets them thinking and talking about it, and that is where change starts.
And let us not forget that we as writers can utilize more eco-friendly options in the inks, cartridges, paper and energy use we consume in our office. We can have our promotional items printed on recycled content, using vegetable inks and so on.
Today’s consumer is very conscious and they will vote with their dollar for the things they believe in. So if you have some positive environmental or social aspect to your work, share it! By sharing it publicly we entice our peers and contacts to do the same… so it is kind of like a ripple in the pond effect – and each one of us can play a vital role in greening this planet with daily actions like this.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The self-discipline. It takes an incredible amount of energy, time and commitment to write – some pieces of course will come flowing out the end of a pen or keyboard at a surprisingly rapid pace, but most of the time the work is grueling and slow. We learn to develop patience, consideration and find numerous ways to overcome obstacles in the way. We learn to manage the people around us – just because we have a home office does not mean we can become the family servant, or a handy place to visit at their convenience. It can be hard to set those boundaries for others
We have to develop set writing hours, strict marketing and query efforts must be scheduled in every single day – and yet we must be flexible to be able to handle the immense changes this industry has, and will, face.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Whatever stage you are at in the writing world, research it very well. Find out about the person you are dealing with, visit all their sites, glean information from the previous people they’ve worked with, and understand their guidelines and needs. When you have this information, you can feel confident that your initial contact will provide them with everything they need, entice them by showing you understand their audience, their advertisers and the focus of that publication/publisher. Try to above and beyond in being considerate of others and thank everyone – even those that don’t appreciate your work, those who seemed grouchy in their letter to you and those that rejected your query. Thank them for taking the time to even consider your work, at the very least. It is amazing how few of the writers out there actually do that one simple, yet incredibly effective task. And finally I must say that writers need to promote events – if they are interviewed somewhere, are given a link at a site or anything at all… promote it like crazy!
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?