JOAN BRAMSCH is a family person,
GEE-BEE-SPECIALTIES: owner, designer, amongst other areas
PREMIUM DESIGNER -- freelance. 7 years. For various companies
LIBERTY COMMUNICATIONS. Sole owner. 10 years. "Teach Me, I'm Yours" -- how-to parenting book via radio-tv talk shows and targeted print ads for mail order sales.
FEATURE, INTERVIEW WRITER -- local/national publications - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Learning Magazine, Modern Maturity, Antique Trader Weekly, Inside Collector, Deco Echo.
CONTRACT COPYWRITER, SPEECH WRITER, PROMOTION, PUBLIC RELATIONS -- local companies, agencies, and publishers.
NOVELIST -- Six books published by Bantam Publishing Company, NYC, all on Waldenbook's national best-seller list in top five positions.
BRAMSCH VIDEO GROUP. Producer -- Educational videos for teacher, parent, child; adult workshop materials- library, premium and direct marketing sales.
JB INFORMATION STATION - Creator, Producer, Marketeer of e-commerce materials for parents and children. Imprint for fictional work - REVERIES, Books With Heart!
TEACHER -- preschool through adult education, includes tutoring in public and private school systems. 12 years.
TELETYPE, RADIO OPERATOR -- Delta Airlines. 3 locations. 2 years.
as well as doing a variety of Volunteer Work such as PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR , and SCOUT LEADER. 5 years.
Joan was an EDITOR of a monthly writer's newsletter
Welcome to our spotlight of Joan Bramsch and her work.
Below is an interview I had with Joan Bramsch via e-mail in February 2001. Due to the expansion of our spotlights section many spotlights were delayed for some months.
Through this interview you will be able to read about Joan Bramsch, and get to know a little about her. At the bottom of the page is a book cover , of one of her books and a list of her books published and soon to be published. Click the title to find a review of that book, if one is available.
Joan is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
I'd like to announce that I've just reformatted all my books using the ebook system of the Future, which prevents piracy and unauthorized pass along copies, while providing readers with large FREE samplers of any book before they feel led to make the decision to buy. When they buy it's simple - click, buy, receive code key in real time, unlock and keep right on reading.
And this is all done automatically. Nothing is done manually. Disk or CD copies can be given away free at conventions and seminars or libraries, or given electronically, but the author will NEVER again lose one cent of royalty income.
Go here to read more:
Put your email into the box and receive an instant second msg. Then tomorrow, after testing one of my new ebooks, receive the third and last msg with directions to find price lists, etc.
Go here now to try one of the new formats:
I'll be happy to answer individual questions here:
AUTHOR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
What genres do you write?
I write children's fiction, romance, adult fiction, sci-fi, Parenting textbooks, humor, autobiography, and business how-to. Into what genre would you place my Empowered Parent Ezine, I wonder?
Primarily, serving Parents is my passion and I provide the ezine, as well as, many articles and information for parents, the most important job in the world. Parents among writers may wish to visit here:
What genres would you like to write?
Interactive children's fiction... and I shall asap.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ah, that lovely entity, my Muse! And when she comes to visit I take great care to pay attention and record copious notes. It's true that many experiences or observations may trigger the process, but in my heart of hearts, I believe it is my personal Muse who supplies the important stuff... like words! ;)
Do you pattern your characters after any real people?
No, not to my conscious knowledge. Usually I think about the character. Her face comes to mind. Then she tells me her first name. And what she does professionally. And then she tells me her background and why she decided to be in my story. After I do this with all the main characters, I more or less, act as a secretary and record their words, or I'm a detective and record what I see in my imagination.
What authors do you admire?
The authors I admire usually write to teach me something, I have discovered. Since my childhood, I've admired Pearl Buck and learned a great deal from her about a different culture and about doing heroic acts. Then in my twenties I discovered Napoleon Hill and enjoyed learning from him because I'm an entrepreneur and I _do_ believe "What you think is what you get." In the last ten years I've admired Deepak Chopra and his teachings that are concerned with quantum physics. He confirms what I've always suspected: everything in the Universe, you, me, this chair, that star, all are connected at a primal quantum level. Somehow it comforts me to know that. And work can be done at that level, too.
What authors do you read?
Those authors mentioned above are who I read when I need to think deeply. For entertainment I turn to old and true personal friends - Iris Johansen who was my mentor when I first began writing for Loveswept. She taught me what to expect, how to act, when to act and I shall always be indebted to her for her loving instructions for my success. Not every writer will help like that, I later discovered. I knew Judy McNaught before she was ever published and I celebrated her first book and still enjoy reading her work. And tho' I don't know him personally, I appreciate Father Greeley's good fiction writing.
What genres do you read?
Nonfiction, romance, mainstream.
What other genres do you see yourself writing?
My next published work will be a mainstream woman in jeopardy novel that takes place on the Hawaiian Islands. It's already completed but awaits the final edit. It's called "Pele's Fire" because Pele, goddess of volcanoes, is an integral part of the story. I had fun writing an original legend
about Pele and her Lover, but I hasten to add that I wrote with great
reverence and respect.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
More writing (I figure I must live to be 104 and healthy in order to get half done on my To-Do List :), but I hope long before ten years have passed that I am making enough income to hire others to do the other jobs necessary to keep my site popular and growing.
Do you see yourself ever not writing?
In a word - nope!
What books do you have planned in the near future?
I've already told you about "Pele's Fire." Then there's a romance ready for final editing called "The Power To Love." I'm doing on about Native Americans and past lives. And I have plans for many more textbooks for Parents to give their Child the skills for school success; books that compliment my text "Teach Me, I'm Yours: If You Want Your Child To Be Smart, You Be The First Teacher!"
How did you get started writing?
I think I always did compose stories. I have always been comfortable with words. If you mean when did I start trying to get published, that would be from my teens onward. My husband Bill would ask me how I could keep getting rejected time and again without giving up and moving on to something else. Finally, one day I gave that question serious thought and had my answer: I would die a little if I didn't keep writing.
What age were you when you started to write?
My mother saved scraps of poetry from the time I was seven or eight. I have always had this huge imagination and used it all the time, although I may not have always written down my stories. I suppose I seriously knew I would be a writer by the age of fourteen years.
When is your next book due?
I anticipate publication of the romance sometime in April or May. I haven't yet decided if I want to publish it first as a series.
Was there any author or authors that helped you get your start in writing, or helped you break into the field?
I already told you about Iris, but that was after the fact. Basically, I am a tenacious, hard-working writer who never, never, never, ever gives up! I also discovered that I enjoy writing humor, even in the romance novels. As it turned out that was a totally appreciated and sought after skill and my key to many Bantam sales. As far as helping or mentoring, that has been my privilege to do so. Writing can be a very lonely business, but if one has a mentor, then one is never alone. I always look for opportunities to encourage talent. It's very important to be useful and to pass on lessons learned in the business.
What do you feel makes your books unique or stand out from others in your genre?
Like all writers who work hard at their craft, I strive to spin a story that causes the reader to willingly suspend reality and join me. I can write funny. But I can also make you weep. If you can read the last chapter of The Light Side and not weep I'll give you double your money back! Basically, I would answer this way: I write from my heart and it connects with the heart of my reader.
What made you choose the genres you write?
I started out writing for children and then for parents. I wanted to bankroll a new text for parents and didn't have the funds so a neighbor dared me to write a romance. I had never read a romance but began to study and to write. It took four books before publication. I had to do it, you see... it was a double dare!
I don't actually choose genres, Carol. I don't often fit into those molds anyway. That's why I write electronically. Nobody can tell me what to write or when or for whom. I'm a professional so I don't get off the track easily; thus, I continue to write what I hope are considered good stories that are appreciated by an intelligent reader who also doesn't need genre definitions.
Do you have a special subgenre?
I don't even know how to answer this one. When I write a romance, you can bet it will be what's known in the business as a Sizzler. And it will be contemporary. When I write bigger stories they may be sagas or mainstream or single title which, in my mind, doesn't say much more than they are bigger books.
When I write stories for children, and then I decide to make it interactive, would that be a subgenre of stories for children? I just don't know the answer, Carol.
Do you have a favorite place you like to write?
Quiet is the first order of business. Then I usually curl up in the corner of the great room sofa and write longhand. By writing longhand I keep all my impulses on the right side of the brain, where Imagination and my Muse lives.
In what order do you write? For example starting beginning to end, combining parts, in random order or in development cycle?
In small contemporary novels:
I know the grabber - the first scene that reaches out to grab the reader's attention.
I know the kicker - the last scene that will provide some surprise but give a pleasant feeling as the story closes.
And I have a scrap of paper with numbers one to ten and a few words which denote how the story unfolds.
Do you feel that the e-books afford authors a bit more freedom of expression in their books?
Absolutely! That is exactly why I publish electronically.
What do you feel is, or isn't being done to promote authors?
If you're referring to the world of print publishers, there is no promotion unless you can command half a million advance or more. I've known many romance writers who have spent every cent of their growing advances to entertain lavishly and purchase expensive gifts for the critics, reviewers, and others in order to build up their following.
If you're talking about e-authors I think e-publishers do their best to let the world know about the latest book and something about the author. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to promote well, and I think most authors end up promoting themselves. It's not much different online as offline. I do think I can do it faster now basically because I've been networking online for years. I am honored that my many friends trust what I write and will then investigate for themselves. Would that every news release to a newspaper or magazine print editor might do the same!
Do you feel that the marketing departments have their finger on the pulse of readers?
Again, if you're talking print/paper, I doubt it. They are like this big ole sloth that moves waaaaaaaaay too slow to be of any use promotionally.
It's the difference between a huge conglomerate and a small entrepreneur: one takes forever to change directions while the second can turn on a dime.
How do you feel about review rating systems?
The stars and the bars are a concern to me, basically because they come from within the industry or genre. Of course, we are yet only ten percent of the industry as a whole so it probably has to be this way for a few years yet. I think sometimes the review can be a popularity contest, but not often. A reviewer who is a professional puts aside all things personal and judges a work on merit. And yet, a review _is_ subjective so, if it hurts the writer's feelings s/he should always remember that.
A review should never, never, never, ever stop a writer from writing.
Through what venues do you feel most of your books are being sold?
I know how they are being sold. From my own web site here: http://JoanBramsch.com
And from about one dozen affiliates.
I also believe that opportunities to do radio talk shows and interviews such as this one, are extremely condusive to sales or at least to an investigation by potential readers of my books.
What do you feel is the best part of the publishing industry?
SELLING GOOD BOOKS!
What do you feel needs to be changed about the industry?
Changes are coming. We don't need nor should we, imo, put any sort of restrictions on publishing electronically. We are evolving every day into a more professional e-industry. The shakeout will continue as some books sell and others languish. In that way it's no different than p-books. The customer rules. Many writers have published before they have honed their skills and thus, have faced disappointment and criticism. But they too will learn that they haven't wasted money if they have discovered more about their writing skills in the process.
I also think we as writers have opportunities unheard of in the p-world. New ways of promoting our books, better ways to reach our readers, unique ideas that make e-reading more enjoyable and less threatening. I'm working on some new ideas right now that will cost pennies per writer but will be worth a great deal more in their ability to reach new readers, and if other writers want to learn more about them I wish they'd contact me privately here: hijoan@JoanBramsch.com
Do you think small press and e-books will be the wave of the future?
Yes, I do, Carol. We can turn on a dime in any direction our readers take us. They want to sample free before they buy: we can do that now with RoyaltyLock. They want to talk about the books they buy: we can do that right now (a newsletter or list).
Can you imagine how many different committees and discussions and research teams and more discussion groups the Big Boys have to go through before they can make a decision? And most times they won't because "We've always done things this way!" INDIES are the future of publishing. I don't think it will be all the publishing, but a vast majority. And to whom will we sell? Our biggest buyers will be among this generation of children. And that's why I intend to write interesting and entertaining interactive stories for Today's Children!
Thank you, Carol, for this opportunity to sound off. It's been lovely.
Chilled Run; Joan Bramsch Author; 08/2000; $7.95; 160 pages
You Kids Just Wait Till I Get Over Being Pregnant... Am I Going To Straighten You Out!; Joan Bramsch Author; 03/2000; $5.95; 150 pages
A Collection of Original Short Stories For Children and Parents; Joan Bramsch Author; 04/2000; $4.95; 88 pages
CATER YOUR WAY TO RICHE$; Joan Bramsch Author; 04/2000; $4.95; 60 pages
TEACH ME, I'M YOURS: If You Want Your Child To Be Smart, You Be The First Teacher; Joan Bramsch Author; 03/2000; $19.95; 300 pages
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