Where have I been? Well it’s been a long while- had a minor injury so was out of the loop for a bit. In the mean time I got the opportunity to talk to Adan Lerma @ http://yoga-adan.com/
When I asked him to give me a one line bio he described himself as one who believes in integrating (in no particular order) yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process.
You’ve described in your blog a lot about the ‘process’ of integrating many aspects of your life into your writing. When did the writing bug hit you- were you always integrating experiences or did having the blog put things together?
This is a tricky question, tricky in the sense of my trying to answer. 😉
I remember telling my younger brother and sister stories under the sheets by the time I was five years old. I can consider the arts, and most of life, a continuum, so I’ll cheat here and say the writing bug was embedded in my childhood story telling days.
Was I always integrating experiences? I would have to say, in hindsight, yes. And that I believe we all do that, just with differing degrees of awareness. My current blog, almost a year and a half old, was instrumental, along with re-entering training as a yoga instructor, in becoming aware of the integration already going on within me.
You have authored over 30 ebooks- tell the poet blogger what he or she has to do to get published.
Not trying to be facetious, but to get published, one has to have work that can be published. Ideas and hunches and sketches, are a start, and I’ve seen some published work that was just that, notations of the creative process. But they have to have been put down on paper, or transcribed, or dictated, or put in digital form, or some concrete form that can be shared with other people. This seems so obvious, but until one starts making one’s thoughts and feelings concrete and shareable, there’s no publishing.
Beyond that, oh boy, there’s much in regards to formatting etc, but there’s lots and lots of blogs and sites to help with that. Having something to work with is number one. That’s why, in writing especially I think, first drafts are so critical. A first draft is like a still very pliable clay with much of the form suggested and felt.
Is publication what you expected it to be?
Umm, no. 😉
I began assembling and formatting material for ebooks late last year, because the dominant online ebook retailers were strongly skewing search results toward indie authors, rather than just to well known print authors. Or at least it seemed that way to me. I’m not a good authority on anything going on with the online digital book outlets, and maybe with all the experimentation and shifts of approaches to exposing an author’s work to potential readers / buyers, no one can be.
Regardless, I have found that how and why a particular work is featured, is in flux. But, I also have no doubt that if a work “catches on” regardless of how, it’s another ball game.
Meanwhile the old advice holds, create the best work you can, please yourself, and feel as connected to as much of the world of people as you can as you create. That can be via an idea, a mantra, a feeling, a color, or an episode in yours or someone’s life that you feel you recognize as similar to that in other people.
We do it all the time, with friends and people we don’t like as much. 😉 We recognize things about each other.
What should newbies know about getting published via Amazon?
Excellent retail structure and reach.
And like all new online ventures, struggling to balance profit and a more wide open democracy, where competing values like free speech, respect for other individuals, and fairness as to what is a review and what is an opinion is very much playing out.
I don’t have much to go on in countries outside the US, but there seems to be a sincere effort to balance those competing values. I’m not an attorney, but I heard it expressed in many classes I took in college, that balancing these values has been a historical development in the very structure of our laws trying to mediate a democracy.
Something I would like to say, regarding getting published with any of the major online digital retailers, is that in regard to sales of poetry ebooks, I have read somewhere (and this may be outdated now, or even have simply changed) that sales of poetry ebooks are in the single digits, percent wise, of total digital book sales. And, that a huge percentage of those poetry ebook sales, are of pre-existing, ie, classical well-regarded known poets.
This means, if one wants to publish their work, poetry in particular, do it because you want to or feel the need to, not with an assumption you’ll have huge sales. Then if you do sell remarkably well, that’s fantastic! 😉
How long do you dedicate to your blog?
Totally variable depending on things I want or feel a need to upload. I do try to match recommended links to correlate or enhance what the blog post is about. And I try to remember to check each link once the page is up.
And I’m doing better at categories and key words. Those all take “x” amount of time. But the dedicated time for blog posts themselves varies too greatly for me to say with any kind of meaning.
Describe the process of putting an ebook together- do you work on a theme?
Generally, yes. I may even eventually have an “assorted poems” theme ebook. But right now, because I was working from so much pre-existing work, gathering similar themed work seemed the most prudent. So I’ve ended up with poem books for sports, nurses, family, lovers, teachers, business, and the arts.
In my more recent fiction work, one novella finished and a second going through a thorough read-through right now, I have more general themes, besides life in general. 😉 I would say interest in the life cycle to include issues for seniors is important now, and even in some of my more recent poetry.
Are the poems written randomly or particularly for the theme?
Most of my poems were begun in the early 90s when my wife and I presented them at mall shows and art shows and offered to personalize them.
So, in one sense, they were written for a theme that people requested of us. Family, an occupation, a sport.
In another sense though, because I would be inspired by particular requests, I would write poems that simply appealed to me at the moment, as I would sit at a booth, sometimes for a ten or twelves hour day several days in a row.
Is the yoga discipline that has been an integral part of your life responsible for your ability to be able to make the most out of technology?
I personally think it is unfair to give credit to anything outside ourselves, our most enduring part of ourselves we can recognize and connect to (I’m not sure the human form allows beyond a certain connection, but it sure seems pretty powerful and enduring in our literature and arts.)
Yoga’s most significant gift to me, I have always felt, was enhancing my awareness. The discipline of adjusting myself within defined poses with room to wiggle, either pushing or relaxing, is often called “playing the edge.” Yoga has helped me see this “edge” exists in everything we do and think and feel.
Has it helped me make the most out of technology? Specifically? I wouldn’t say so. Gestaltly, as part of my varied life interests? Yes.
But so has music and dance and painting and loving and breathing. Yoga, for me, is a part of that.
Your advice to blogging poets and wannabe writers.
If I “have” to give advice 😉 it’d be to simply follow your heart, but blend it with your mind so the two parts of you work to create your own special harmony.
Which writer do you recommend aspiring writers to read?
No one writer, that’s for sure! But anyone that appeals to you. I found it fun, years and years ago, to do things like read both Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Kinda like viewing Renoir and Monet side by side. Interesting differences, striking similarities.
All I can say is that this was a really fun interview to do- learnt a great deal from Adan. Thank you!