Kelly Boyer Sagert www.kbsagert.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
How and when did you get started as a writer?
I remember writing a story in the 6th grade, so maybe that qualifies as the
official beginning. At the time, I thought this story was fairly brilliant; in retrospect, I realize that I had simply put
the kids in my neighborhood into a Scooby Doo type situation that featured a haunted house – and then I named the story
The Haunted House Mystery. Not so brilliantly original, after all.
I made my first professional
sale in 1990, when I wrote about a tomcat that moved into our family’s funeral home. I called it “Odd Jobs”
and I sold the humorous essay about Mr. Gray to Cats Magazine. That launched my
freelance writer career, in which I’ve published over 1,000 pieces of my writing.
How do you usually find your ideas?
I find ideas from the articles and books that I read, the people that I meet, and in
the quirky and unusual aspects of life. I especially enjoy making history relevant again for readers.
Did you ever get any rejections?
If yes, how did you react to them?
I let myself get mad and then I put the rejection away for a while. In the light of day,
the rejection generally had good cause and so I either reworked the piece a new way or I went on to something else.
Tell us about your books. What was your first one?
I loved writing my first book! Called >Bout Boomerangs: America’s Silent
Sport (PlantSpeak Publications, 1996), I wrote about boomerangs as an art, a science, a sport, history, a cultural and
social phenomenon – and much more. Although only 3,000 hard backed copies sold, at least one book was sold in more than
20 different countries and, at a world boomerang event, people passed around their copies of my book and had the various athletes
from around the globe sign them.
I’ve published several other books since, including:
of the 70s (Greenwood
Publishing, Feb. 2007)
FabJob Guide to Become a Funeral Director (FabJob, 2005)
Baseball's All-Time Greatest Hitters: Joe
Jackson (Greenwood Publishing, 2004).
To promote this book, I spoke at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and appeared on the ESPN2 program, "The Top Five Reasons You Can't Blame the
What inspired you to write the first book?
A boomerang champion named Gary Broadbent lived in the area. Not only had Gary traveled
the world winning competitions, he owned the world’s largest boomerang collection – at the time, over 10,000 of
them – and some were shaped like cartoon characters and another was shaped like Michael Jordan dunking a basketball.
He decorated his house with them, including all around his mailbox and in the rafters of his roof. Shortly after that, another
local guy, John Gorski, set a boomerang world record, drawing
the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records. John had, believe it or not, kept a boomerang up in the air for an incredible
17 minutes and 10 seconds.
So, how could I pass up material as terrific as this?
How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote the book in just under three months. I wrote for about 50 hours per week, drawing
on my research that I’d done for newspaper and magazine articles about boomerang throwing. I also included material
from over 50 new interviews in this book.
What are the major challenges that you have faced
in your career?
It took me forever and ever to commit myself to having a fulltime writing and editing
career. From 1990-1996, I worked as a freelance writer part time; from 1997-2001, I had a fulltime job as a magazine editor.
Then, for the next five years, I worked at a nonprofit agency, delegating my publishing to a part time endeavor again. (Although,
ironically, this is when I became the most productive in my book writing.) Finally, in 2006, I plunged back into writing and
editing as a fulltime career – and I hope to continue this career path for the rest of my life. There is so much more
that I want to do!
Has the Internet helped you in your writing career?
In the mid-90s, AOL’s Writer’s Club hired me to interview professional writers,
editors, agents and publishers, and so, for several years, top notch professionals were contacting me, a relatively new writer.
Without the Internet, that never could have happened!
Researching online is wonderful and it’s the easiest and fastest way to make contact
with interview subjects, other writers and editors.
Since 2000, I’ve also taught writing online for Writer’s Digest and that’s a wonderful job. Several people from my classes have gone on to their own
publishing successes, which is great.
What do you advise new writers to do?
I’ve actually just started writing a weekly online column on how new writers can
write a book. This column
is supposed to last at least through the end of 2007.
I encourage new writers to learn as much as they can about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Attend writers’
conferences and network as much as possible with people who have succeeded in publishing the types of material that you’d
like to create.
and commitment to the process is vital, as is a willingness to hear constructive criticism from editors. Keep an open mind
when it comes to revising your work. Don’t sell out, but don’t become stubborn over details that, in the long
run, don’t really matter. Finally, nurture your passion!