One of my most favorite parts about what I do is meeting interesting people. Almost every day I am either introduced to, or find someone who is killing it in the goals and dreams they have for themselves and their business. I never tire of hearing their stories and using their enthusiasm and knowledge to add a fresh perspective to our business, the way we serve our authors, and my own writing. One of these amazing people whom I’ve met recently is Crystal Klimavicz. She is the owner of Indie Books Unleashed (IBU), and the author of three novels. Recently, I interviewed Crystal with the hope that you will get as much out of her passion for writing and writers and I do!
JT: How did you get started writing novels?
CK: Secretly, I have always held the desire to write books. However, I chose a career in sales after college simply because I needed a more secure way to support myself. It wasn’t until after I experienced a family tragedy five years ago that I decided to begin my writing journey. I have loved every key-tapping moment ever since.
JT: What is your inspiration for your stories?
CK: As with many writers, my first novel originated from more personal experiences. Although the characters and events in Falling Through Trees are fictitious, it was out of my mother’s suicide that the kernel of the idea for that book came.
I then wrote the sequel, This Side of Perfect, simply because the characters hadn’t stopped crowding my thoughts and talking in my head. They still had a voice, and I gave it to them. I love all of my characters and have even dreamt about them.
My third book was, and originated from, an entirely different place. The Days of Not So Long Ago is a collection of short historical memoirs from fifteen pre-centennials whom I interviewed. I was volunteering in a local assisted living facility, and it was my love for history that prompted this endeavor.
JT: What is your favorite thing to do to combat writer's block?
CK: I would not be lying to say that I have never truly experienced the proverbial ‘writer’s block’. I wear many hats in my life, from writer to runner to mother to entrepreneur. So, if I ever sit down to write and feel that the words aren’t forthcoming, I just move on to accomplish something else. The key is to make sure that I always return to the writing. As it’s my passion, though, that’s never a problem!
JT: What writer's groups/networks are you involved in?
CK: I believe strongly in giving back to the community and I try not to pass judgement on others who don’t feel the same. Last year, I served on the South Carolina Writer’s Association (SCWA) and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). This year, I am still on the Board for WFWA which is a fantastic organization of writers from all over, and I also serve on the Daniel Island Historical Society which sponsored the printing of my third book, The Days.
JT: What do you see as the top two or three biggest issues facing indie writers in today's publishing world?
CK: Part of the wonder in today’s world is that there is so much information available. But, that information overload is part of the problem, too. Writers don’t often know where to look and how to move forward with their writing. The subsequent production of their books sometimes suffers.
The best advice is to not cut corners. Do what you do well, and let other professionals do the rest. If that means write your book but pay for editing, do that (although I personally think writers should always pay for edits!). Design your book cover if you have artistic inclinations, or hire a professional. Don’t skimp on anything. Produce a book as professional and ‘perfect’ as you can… let’s face it, after the hours you spent writing it, your book deserves it.
Also, writers write alone. Indie authors need to make extra effort to network, talk to people in their community, and join writing groups. Learn as much as you can. Get out from behind your desk. And start building your email list, your social media platform, and your audience early (I mean really early!).
JT: What gave you the idea to start IBU?
CK: I was at last year’s WFWA conference and heard a very accomplished author talk about a program called ‘Books on the Subway’. I wondered, rather tongue-in-cheek, what those of us who didn’t have public transportation could do. From there, the idea for Indie Books Unleashed began.
IBU is a program that’s community-driven and will eventually be nationwide. It circumvents the traditional modes of book distribution just as indie authors have moved outside of traditional publishing. The concept is simple: Indie authors get their books into new markets, into readers’ hands, and get those online reviews that we desperately need. The locations that participate love it as do their clients and customers, and it’s a win-win for authors everywhere.
JT: How do you think IBU will help indie authors?
CK: IBU offers real-world discoverability to the self-published. Authors are already encouraged to give their books away to family and friends -- IBU simply makes better use of those giveaways and opens up new markets for their books to get into.
We at IBU are excited about the opportunities that the program will bring, and authors can find more information about us, how we work, and the benefits, at www.IndieBooksUnleashed.com!
JT: What is your favorite author/book?
CK: That’s a tough one. Too many to choose from, though with sentimentality involved, I think I most loved Tai-Pan by James Clavell. I read it during my senior year of high school, and his epic novel opened up my mind to not only foreign lands, but to the breadth of history in the world around me.
JT: What is your favorite flower?
CK: My mom used to tell the story that in elementary school, she always knew when I was walking home from school because our neighbors would call her to complain that I had picked their beautiful flowers. She could never get angry with me when I arrived home and gave them to her, though, so that continued for quite some time. I love all flowers and only wish I could grow them, but green things tend not to do well near me.
JT: What is your favorite kind of music?
CK: My friends make fun of my music choices, and I will admit that I’m probably stuck in a past era. However, I do love Enya, the Eurhythmics, U2, Carly Simon, Dave Mathews… to name a few, though maybe we shouldn’t tell everyone that. J
Crystal Klimavicz grew up in a small, coastal Maine town and spent her early adulthood in Boston, Atlanta, and three years overseas in Kiev, Ukraine. She worked in executive sales in the health care industry, earned her Master’s degree, and has written/taught a number of professional development courses. She is an avid volunteer, frequent guest blogger, and runs an active local writers’ group.
Currently, Crystal and her husband reside in Charleston, South Carolina with their two children, two dogs and one plump cat. Her passion lies in creating dramatic stories that reflect the struggle of life’s balance, and helping others to learn and grow. You can read more about her at www.CrystalKlimavicz.com.