Wednesday, August 3, 2011

World of Writing

-- World of Writing --

As many of our readers are already aware, we periodically offer a writer's perspective on reading, literacy, how authors can make a difference in the world, and writing as a career. Today we have a very special one lined up for you...


* I’d like to start with a shout out to Kat Sanborn, Editorial Associate with Cleis Press and Viva Editions ( for sending a query our way for today’s featured guest.

Allen Klein is an award-winning professional speaker who shows audiences worldwide how to find and use humor to deal with changes, challenges, and not-so-funny stuff. He is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, a Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speaker’s Association, and a Toastmaster’s Communication and Leadership Award. He is also the author of 17 books including The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying, Change Your Life, and Inspiration for a Lifetime. Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Klein is “a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.”

For more information about Klein and his work, go to

Q: How many books/stories have you written?
I’ve had 17 books published and a number of stories and articles published in magazines, as well at four pieces in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Some of the books have been published in different formats with different titles. My books have also been translated into nine languages.

Q: How have your books gotten published?
My first books, The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, and a few others, were sold through literary agents. My more recent books, Change Your Life!: A Little Book of Big Ideas, Inspiration for a Lifetime, and Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying, were sold to publishers through my own efforts.

Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have trouble writing in a void. So I collect things that interest and inspire me before I start writing. Years ago, I put those articles, ideas, thoughts, etc. in a carton. Then when I saw that the box was getting full, I go through it. If a pattern starts to emerge, then I start thinking about it as a book. Sometimes none of it actually gets used but it often triggers thoughts for my writing. Today, instead of a carton, a lot of it goes into folders on my computer, but the process is pretty much the same.

Q: What has been the most surprising thing you learned from creating your books?
I’ve learned that the journey of a book is amazing and unpredictable. You never know what will happen to a book after it is published. One of my books, for example, didn’t make the sales numbers that the publisher expected so they stopped printing it. I tried to get the rights back but they refused. Then I got a letter (it was pre-email time) telling me that they sold the book to Random House who republished it in a hardcover gift-format. It did so well for them, they that asked me to write several more gift books in the same vein. The series sold over 400,000 copies. Then, years later, that division of Random House closed their doors. This time I got the rights back and resold them to Viva Editions which so far published two of them. One of them, Change Your Life! A Little Book of Big Ideas, got into Hallmark stores all across the country.

Q: Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?
Yes, if you are a writer, then park yourself in front of your computer or with a yellow pad and write. You can’t talk about the book you are going to write. A writer writes.

Q: Do you hear from your readers? / What do they say?
It is very heartwarming to hear from readers and especially when they tell me how my words have made a major impression on their life. One letter in particular made all the struggles of writing, editing, and publicizing a book worthwhile.
A reader wrote to say that she was 67-years-old and at the age of 12 was violently raped twice. For 55 years she never told anyone about it. It haunted her everyday. Then she read a quote in one of my books concerning taking back your power. She wrote to say that she has the quote taped to her kitchen cabinet, that she has taken back her power, and that it has changed her life.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, information about their radio program, newsletter, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, or visiting the Brummet's Store - every sale raises funds for charity as well!


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