Interview With Kymberli W. Brady, Author
Interview With Kymberli W. Brady, Author
Before your first book was published, were you published anywhere
else (magazines?) and what type of things had you written?
I had some poetry published and did a lot of copywriting for
corporate brochures, ads and the like through my advertising agency.
When did Give Them Wings and Let Them Fly first become published and why did you choose this particular theme?
Give Them Wings and Let Them Fly was published in May of 2000. The theme came about as a result of my healing from six miscarriages through my writing. This book is the culmination of that journey.
I am often told that grief is such a narrow niche that not many want to take on this subject, what do you think made your book stand out, so that the publisher wanted to take the risk?
I noticed a void in the books that were offered on the subject. Although there were many that dealt with losing a child through miscarriage, SIDS, accident, illness and the like, I found that they all either touched on the physical or emotional aspect of healing after loss. I wanted to know how to heal my heart.
Your second book entitled Sleepy Little Star seems to have sparked some new interest in your first book, why do you think this has occurred?
I can only think it is because of the unique link the two have with each other. Although they are very different books, The Sleepy Little Star would never have been written if it weren't for Give Them Wings and Let Them Fly.
Two years ago, my son in his infinite five year old wisdom came to me and asked, "Mommy, you wrote a book for your other babies, where's mine?" Now I have a book that comforts those who have lost a child, and another, a promise fulfilled to my son that celebrates children everywhere.
How long had you been searching for a publisher for The Sleepy Little Star and how many rejections had you faced?
Actually, I've been so incredibly blessed (or lucky). My first publisher wanted it as soon as he saw it, but my long-time friend and accountant talked me out of it. She reminded me of the itty-bitty royalties I get from the first book and suggested that we do it ourselves. In thinking about it, I looked back at how hard I've worked on promoting Give Them Wings and Let Them Fly (at my own expense) and figured I might as well reap a larger reward for my time and efforts on this one. Wendy and I became partners and joined the realm of publishing by forming Kymzinn, Inc. It's a wonderful relationship. She acquires the financing necessary to cover our expenses and I handle all the creative and marketing. 20 years of experience in advertising hasn't hurt either.
Although it turned out beautifully, I remember how difficult it was for me to let go of the creative aspect of the first book. I did put my foot down however, and was allowed to design the cover. With my new one, I had complete control over the look and feel of the book and nightlight designs.
Do you use an agent to get your works published? If so, what do you look for in an agent and is it necessary to have an agent to sell children's books?
I have never had an agent. That's not to say I won't in the future, but things are going pretty well (knock on wood) without one for the time being.
Just recently, you went to the ACM (Academy of Country Music) awards and handed out 80 The Sleepy Little Star books and book lights to the music stars, gratis. Who paid for those books and what was your reasoning for this?
This was "guerella marketing" at its best! If you look at the raw cost of 80 books and nightlights, for less than $500, we had the opportunity of a lifetime and received national publicity with over 20 live radio interviews around the country and a taping of Extra!
Add to that the exposure we received, the endorsements we will get from the celebrities (which sells a lot of books along with the doors that were opened to us that we are just now beginning to see, and you have the holy grail in marketing!
Additionally, we had one copy signed by over 40 celebrities and donated it to the St. Jude Country Cares Celebrity Auction (huge exposure) benefiting children in need of medical treatment. The reviews that have since come in from the auction stated that our little book "blew the socks off most of the other items listed" and was one of the most sought after items!
In a nutshell, you simply cannot put a price on publicity like that. It was in fact the best investment we've made to date on this project. Since the show, we have been invited to participate in two additional national charity functions and will be all too happy to oblige as you simply cannot buy that kind of media exposure.
I've even been offered the opportunity to participate in a book project for a celebrity (can't reveal that yet) who's turned down all other offers before now. It just keeps getting better and better. I still have to pinch myself every morning.
How did you get behind stage passes? And what was it like?
I have worked for Dick Clark Productions on an independent basis for about 15 years now and simply called and made the offer to donate the books and night lights to the celebrity gift baskets (of course, they'll take all the freebies they can get).
Then, they called me back and asked if I would come and sign each one personally, instead as the celebrities picked up their gifts. Needless to say, it was an easy decision and Wendy and I had the time of our lives.
What other marketing techniques do you use to get your books noticed and what tricks would you recommend other newly published authors to try?
Aside from the required list of things to do (here's where I highly recommend The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter, do anything you can to get the word out.
In our case, we send out postcards to bookstores and gift shops, participate in local festivals, school functions and other events that attract media attention.
Donate books to silent auctions, hospitals, churches and other non- profits who will in turn promote or recommend it. Have your newspaper do a feature article on you (they love local authors). Donate books to television and radio stations as on-air give-aways in exchange for a little blurb on the air. It sounds like you are giving away a lot of books, but it's a lot cheaper than display advertising and huge direct mail campaigns and will come back to you ten-fold.
The most important thing is to be creative. The possibilities are endless. Long story short, everyone loves free stuff and most will be happy to help you endorse your books in exchange.
I just got word that you were asked to consider a line of merchandise to represent the characters in The Sleepy Little Star, how did this come about?
Actually, Ingram Books made the recommendation upon accepting the book. They also asked for a book/nightlight boxed gift set which we are currently working on. Additionally, they have asked us to come to Nashville next month to present this to their specialty sales division for possible placement in Target, Costco and other non- traditional bookstores. Who knows, maybe an animated video edition is also in the future. Pardon the pun but we are reaching for all the little stars we can get.
If you could leave others with one bit of advice or words of wisdom, what would you have to share?
Take the time to do it right. You only get one shot at making a new book a successful one. We decided at the proof stage to have The Sleepy Little Star completely re-illustrated, putting us some eight months behind schedule not to mention way over budget. The results of those setbacks in an effort to try to master perfection are now beginning to pay off. Don't settle for less.
Don't be shy. You are and will always be the best spokesperson for
your book. No one will be more passionate about it than you. Look for
your own creative ways to promote yourself. Don't be afraid to go out
there and find each and every possible opportunity to get the word
out. You can't be timid in this business. Shout it out to the world
in any way you can. Otherwise, they may not hear you.
About the Author: