One of the coolest things I get to do on the blog is bring some amazing people in to share their perspectives. I'm excited to introduce you to the passionate and talented Loren Kleinman, a writer and editor with some very impressive credentials who is involved with the indie book movement as a staff writer for IndieReader.com.
Hi Loren, and welcome to my blog! Tell us about yourself—who you are as a writer, what brought you to editing as a professional?
Writing found me. I remember when I was a little girl my mother would buy me children’s books. I spent hours in my room reading all of those books and then I would re-write them my way. I would also write stories about things that I would see whether it was about the life my stuffed bears were leading while I was sleeping or poems about the first snow fall in my backyard. From then on I knew that I had to write, not because it was something I had to do, but something that I must do.
I recognized at a very young age that writing was a calling. I knew that it would connect me to the larger universe. Writing meant that I would always live in a state of openness and it connected me to something that was greater than myself. I loved the way words allowed me to reveal what I was afraid to speak. Writing allowed me to break all barriers of just being. Through writing I was able to imagine what it was like to be. Writing allowed me to break free and connect to my observations around me.
I also knew that I wanted to help people get to that same writing place. I wanted to provide people with a sense of purpose and courage in order to achieve their writing goals. Being an editor seemed like a good fit. Writing is about finding yourself deep in the layers that you never knew were there. Editing is about helping people peel back those layers and discover something wonderful about their ideas.
My blog is about “living a creative life in Hawaii” so I often ask guests to talk about their creative process. What inspires you and keeps creativity flowing in your life?
Everything inspires me. From the people I work with to the randomness of the world. I often work to music. I live off jazz and especially indie rock. I often try to find music that expresses the mood I’m in and then I write from that guttural rhythm. I also believe in being spiritual and practicing a spiritual life. You get creativity by giving back to the community. It is so important to give back and to recognize the beauty in what other creatives are doing. I work hard at remaining open to the human experience by considering that creativity is larger than myself.
Life is a class. You are a student and the observer. Just when you think you can’t write anymore, just when you think you can’t create anymore, look next to you and consider what you see as a sign to begin your work. Live and create deliberately.
Everyone can see publishing is undergoing the kind of cataclysmic change the music business went through ten years ago. You have your finger on the pulse of some of this as a contributor to IndieReader.com. What do you see ahead?
Self-publishing is not going away; it’s only going to get bigger. For years, big name publishers have decided what got published and what didn’t. They still do, but their hand in what gets published and what doesn’t get published today is not that impressive anymore. Now more than ever, consumers have the upper hand in deciding what is worth reading. I say worth very loosely. What I mean is that years ago, it was perceived that if someone self-published it meant they weren’t a real writer and that someone who was published by a brand name publisher was a writer. To be honest, there are shitty books being published by brand name publishers every day. Publishing your book via a brand name has nothing to do with your worth as a writer. Truth is: people decide what is good and that’s their choice. Let’s keep that choice with the people.
I’ve been open with people who are asking for the sequel to my debut novel, Blood Orchids, that I’ve got a deadline of June 15 for my agent to bring in a book deal for the next books before I go ahead and publish it myself—and it’s getting hard to wait to release the next in my series! If you were me, would you be waiting for a traditional publishing deal when you’d already launched a successful indie novel?
You wouldn’t wait to eat if you were hungry, right? Don’t wait. Move ahead with what you feel you have to do to be successful. People are waiting and asking for your work, and you have to give back to your audience. Your audience is what fuels your work and propels it forward. That’s the yummy center of indie: you don’t have to wait to do you.
One of the most important things a writer can have is a good editor who knows their genre and can take their writing to the next level—and that’s guaranteed when you’re published with a house. As an editor, what’s your advice to indie writers who want to try to skip this step?
You need an editor. Don’t skimp. You may write a great story, but you also have to consider that behind any creative endeavor is business. If you want people to take you seriously as a writer, you have to take them seriously. There is nothing worse than reading an amazing book and then you notice a glaring error. You don’t have to spend tons of money for an editor, just the right editor. Do your research and ask for references. Submitting a clean book for possible publication will show your professionalism; it shows how serious you are about your writing.
What’s your advice for writers setting out to establish a name for themselves?
You have to establish your brand. Don’t wait until your book is published to get your name out there. You have to start building your brand months before you release your book. Get out into the community. Start a Twitter account, start a Facebook page, create a Pinterest portfolio. You have to network and you MUST start practicing paying it forward. If you promote someone (genuinely) they will promote you back. Even more, paying it forward is much more than just doing good things for people. Paying it forward is about, as I said before, realizing that the creative process is much larger than you.
Creativity extends into how you leverage your network in order to build your goals. I make it a point to actively engage with my Twitter followers every day by asking them questions, asking them for advice and promoting their hard work. Building your brand is about engaging with your community. For example, I work with so many fantastic people that I met mostly through social media such as Eden Baylee, bestselling indie author of Fall into Winter. I interviewed Eden for a column on IndieReader.com, and we kept the conversation going. Right now I am working with her on the #IndiesUnite4Joshua fundraiser to raise 10K for writer Maxwell Cynn’s son who has leukemia. You can read more at IndieGoGo. I also met Rachel Thompson, author of The Mancode Exposed who has really taught me the ropes of social media. There are so many more people I need to thank and I am so grateful for all of their support.
There are SO MANY places to hear about indie books, all online. How can readers, who are used to going into bookstores, able to find good indie books they’ll like without getting confused and overwhelmed? What is your advice?
I am going to shamelessly self-promote here. IndieReader.com is an amazing guide to all the great indie books and the great writers that write them. What I love about IndieReader is that every staff writer is completely engaged in the indie community. Amy Edelman, the editor and founder, works so hard to bring the best indies to readers.
Thanks so much for joining me. What’s a little something about the secret life of Loren?
I love what I do. I am not just saying that to fill space either. I love what I do. My goal is to help writers achieve their writing goals and build my editorial firm, so that I can serve the indie community. I always know that I am where I am supposed to be because of the people I’ve met along the way. There is so much work to do, but it’s just the beginning. I am so grateful.
Bio: Loren Kleinman has ten years of writing and editorial experience, a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex (UK). Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Nimrod, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. She is the recipient of the Spire Press Poetry Prize and a 2000 and 2003 Pushcart Prize Nominee. She has contributed to trade and commercial magazines like Premier Romance, Bonita Magazine, Premier Hotels, Premier Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Travel Agent Magazine, Newark Council Monitor, Aesthetica: A Journal of Arts, The New Writer, and Open Wide Magazine (UK). Kleinman has proofread books such as The Complete Guide to the Craft: Song Writing (Limelight Editions), The Future of the Music Business (Hal Leonard Books), and more. She judged the literary entries for the book Alt-History: New Writing from Brighton published by QueenSpark Books. Kleinman is the founder of LK Editorial, a full-service editorial firm speciailizing in web content strategy, social media management, editing and more. Check LK out at www.lkeditorial.com or follow LK on Twitter at @LK_Editorial.