Are you ready for this? Brian Klems, online editor from Writer's Digest, is prepared to answer questions aspiring writers might have, ranging from writing and editing to being published and social media, as well as many issues in between. If you switch the letters in his name, it spells B-R-A-I-N, so come ready to pick Brian's brain about writing! Let's get to know our esteemed keynote speaker, Brian A. Klems, author of Oh, Boy, You're Having a Girl.
Penny: What’s the hottest trend in publishing right now? Are you for it?
Brian: Labeling any current category trend is too late, as if you try to follow the current one, you’re too late. The only publishing trend I abide by is the constant trend: Get great books published and in the hands of readers.
Penny: Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. You’re the online editor from Writer’s Digest. How cool is that?! Well, I’ve asked several writers, and collected a plethora of answers/guesses. According to them, an online editor’s tasks might range from “the process of post-production linear video editing,” to, “the opposite of an off-line editor,” or, “Gee, I’m not really sure.” Brian, please edify us – what exactly is an online editor, and why are we so doggone excited to have you as our 2017 AWN! keynote speaker?
Brian: An online editor is typically someone who oversees acquisition, editing and production of online content. I do a lot more than that, as I also generate newsletters, lead our social media, develop other content, and more. But that’s the gist.
As for why you’re happy to have me, I’m not sure I can answer that. Could be for my pink speaking shirt that I regularly wear at events (my daughters insist I wear it for good luck—and, like any dad with daughters, I follow their fashion advice). Though I’m hoping that my experience as a writer, editor, published author and social media guy, will appeal to those who attend. I’ve worn nearly every hat there is on both sides of the publishing world, so I can answer many, many questions.
Penny: What are the advantages of being an online editor?
Brian: Being able to work from any location that has WiFi. Plus, working online saves trees. I’m a Lorax kind of guy, so I like that.
Penny: What’s your favorite writing conference activity? Why?
Brian: My favorite conference activity is Q&A sessions with writers. I give a lot of different talks on different topics and all are packed with insight and advice, but when I’m at events, I really want to make sure that I’m answering the questions that are on people’s minds. There’s lots of value in that and it makes me feel good helping other writers take steps toward achieving their goals and dreams.
Penny: Pretend you are the king of the literary universe. You want to make up a new genre. Is it a hybrid of existing genres, or brand new?
Brian: It’d likely be a hybrid of Scrabble and Boggle. I’m not sure how it’d work, but I guarantee it’d be loads of fun for word-nerds like me.
Penny: In the publishing industry, describe the qualities of a good leader.
Brian:Someone who persists and never gives up. There are challenges all over the industry. As writers, we are champions of our own brands. Rejection is common and tastes are subjective, so if you truly believe in your writing you need to continue to show your confidence in it—whether that be pitching your book or working on your next book, no matter how many rejections you’ve received so far.
Penny: Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
Brian: Hopefully on a bestseller list somewhere, along with several people who attend your event.
Penny: Is caffeine intake a requisite skill for a full-time professional and dad all rolled up into one guy?
Brian: Ha! The truth is, I don’t really drink caffeine (don’t tell anyone I don’t like coffee—it might kill my street cred with other writers!). Really, what keeps me going is my passion for being a dad and my passion for writing. It really gives me all the energy I need. (Plus, I sneak occasional naps on the weekend, which helps.)
Penny: Please share your ideal way for writers to “recharge their (writing) batteries," besides attending AWN!.
Brian: To me, going out and having experiences is the best way to recharge. It helps stimulate ideas for future stories. Plus, read whenever you can. Just by taking in good books you subconsciously absorb ideas and writing nuances that can help in your own craft.
Penny: Finally, according to Brian Klems, who will win the World Series this year?
Brian: The Cincinnati Reds. Always the Cincinnati Reds.