Start Your Own Literary Magazine with Helen Scheuerer

Welcome to #FriendFriday, an interview-style guest post series every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Want to be the next interviewee? Send me an email!

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Happy #FriendFriday! Today I'm hosting one of my favorite people in the book biz, Helen Scheuerer! She's a cool Aussie who started her own literary magazine and published my short story in her anthology, Kindling.

Round of applause for Helen!

Here's your intro question. Tell me about yourself in less than 70 words.

Here goes: My name is Helen Scheuerer, I’m a novelist and editor from Sydney, Australia. I’m the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit – the Online Literary Magazine (http://www.writersedit.com/), and the Editor of our creative writing anthology Kindling (now onto it’s second volume). I freelance for a number of other creative websites and document my own writing process at http://helenscheuerer.com/

You're a blogger, writer, freelancer and Founding Editor of Writer's Edit. Tell us how you got started.

Growing up, I wrote (terrible) novels throughout high school and when it came to university, there was nothing else I could see myself doing. I went about completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing and started working as a copywriter for an e-commerce site.

I worked as a writer/editor for two of the biggest Internet start-ups in Australia before I realised that this wasn’t the kind of writing that I had imagined for myself. Realising I needed to run my own show in order to be happy and creative, I quit the copywriting business and while I was traveling in the UK, the idea for Writer’s Edit was born.

Writer’s Edit started as a Tumblr blog – I wanted to test my commitment before launching a fully formed online literary magazine. Turns out, I have plenty of commitment. Because of my work for Writer’s Edit, I’ve also been able to pick up a range of freelance clients that support me while I work on the site and my own fiction.

Let's put you to the test. How did you organize and publish the Kindling anthology? What were the hardest and most rewarding parts?

Wow, that’s a hard one for sure! It was always my dream that Writer’s Edit become a small press. While I love the opportunities that the online world brings (like meeting you for instance!), there’s just something magical about print! Kindling started as a pipe dream that I voiced to our Deputy Editor, Kyra.

It seems like such a long time ago now, but we went about publishing a call-out for short stories, poems and essays and recruiting editors for each category. We edited our shortlisted pieces, compiled the manuscript and got our talented designer, Alissa to create the interior and cover designs. We crowdfunded in order to cover our printing and launch costs.

The hardest (and scariest) part was probably hitting ‘publish’ on the crowdfunding campaign. Sharing your ideas with the whole world and asking for help is no easy task. You open yourself up to judgement and critique, but off the back of that – it’s also the most rewarding part; seeing an influx of incredible support, and usually from a range of people you just don’t expect. It’s such a heart-warming experience. That, and the moment the first box of books arrived at my studio were the most rewarding parts. Seeing the finished product really took my breath away.

If you could be the author of any novel in history, which novel would that be and why? (Stumped you, didn't I?)

Actually, no. :)  This is by far, the easiest of your questions! Cormac McCarthy’s The Road wins this one by a long shot. The one, all-encompassing feeling I have when it comes to McCarthy and this book is awe. Pure awe. I wish I could inspire that same feeling in others.

And finally, before we let you go, what's the best advice you've received and how did it get you here today?

Oh there’s so much I could rattle off here, but what it ultimately comes down to is this: Find out what you love doing, and do that.

Doing what I love has meant putting in more effort, more time and more commitment than I have for any other job. It’s that passion, and commitment to my own goals that’s helped me get where I am today.

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Thanks so much for having me, Jenny!