Thursday, August 8, 2019

Literary Magazine Schedule and Chapbook

My poem, "Diagnosis Prelude" was accepted for publication by the Bacopa Literary Review on June first.  The editors say I'll receive my contributor copy in late September.  This poem is, I feel, one of the most important pieces in my upcoming chapbook from Dancing Girl Press.  I'm pleased its first home will be BLR.

Editor Bowen (the amazing editor from DGP) told me on August first that my chapbook might be ready within the next month!  Yes!  And... uh-oh.

I didn't anticipate the trajectory, but I now feel like I'm sandwiched between two bullet trains.  At first, I panicked because Bacopa doesn't publish reprints.  What if my chapbook comes out before the issue?  I can't ask the literary magazine to pull my piece!  So, I emailed editor Bowen and told her my problem.  Since DGP is her baby, I'm hoping she can provide a little wiggle room.  If not, it's all down to prayer.

After knowing how close Body: Blessed & Bitter could be to release, I made sure to pull every poem in it from literary magazines' slush.  One (hopefully) near-miss is enough for me.

Have you ever had a publication collision?  

Monday, July 8, 2019

My (Meager) Marketing Plans

I'm hopeless at marketing, though I tried implementing strategies on this blog and Twitter for years.  Now, social media is just something I use the way I want—the way I want doesn't bring new readers.  And, I have two chapbooks coming out within a year of each other.
What I considered but rejected:

1.  Instagram - A lot of poets have success there, but I don't think it's a good fit because it's a younger person's site, it requires constant images (something I'm not good at), the technology I mainly use doesn't like it, etc.  I might be shooting myself in the foot.

2.  A newsletter - I can barely keep up blogging!  Maybe five people read my posts, so I doubt more would be interested in a newsletter.  To the two people who had a flare of hope for more boring updates from me:  I'm sorry (you can sign up to receive blog posts in your in-box, though).

3.  Tumblr - It's easy for posts to go viral there, but I don't need another blog.
What I plan on:

1.  Screaming, crying, and panicking.

2.  Blog changes - I plan on changing the tabs, creating a "buy" page when the time comes, revising the "About Me/Contact" page, and more things.  The theme and such will remain pretty much unaltered.

3.  A Facebook author page - The learning curve won't be severe for me because I've used Facebook for years and, since I keep my personal account locked down fairly tight, I'll be able to communicate better with people I don't know.

4.  Virtual launch parties - I'm not sure where online they will be, but there will be giveaways, sample poems, and more stuff.  I'll try to make them interesting.

5.  Readings at the local library - Launch parties offline are overboard for chapbooks, but readings are rarely a bad idea.
What have you found success with when it comes to marketing and promotion?  What didn't work at all?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Three New Poems in Bleached Butterfly

My poems, "New & Improved", "What Neglect Can Bring", "What You Eat" are in the new issue of Bleached Butterfly!  Check them out, if you want.  

"What Neglect Can Bring" will also appear in my chapbook Blighted Feast next year.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

My Ideal Writing Career

I was talking wirh writer Dov Zeller the other day on Twitter.  During our conversation, I asked him what his ideal writing career looked like (with being chronically ill).  He then asked me about my "perfect" career.  And, I didn't know how to answer.

Dov is a novelist, essayist, and photographer.  I write poetry and flash fiction.  He could, if the stars align, live off royalty payments.  In poetry, I'm lucky if I can buy dinner... one dinner.  He could have a whole team polishing and marketing his books.  If I find an affordable freelance editor, I'm lucky.

Are we talking relatively plausible or sheer fantasy?
My ideal writing career includes:

1. A full-length collection every three years (from first piece written to the finished book being sold).  Every book I put out is error-free and looks professional.

2.  A fan base!  Not sure how large, but I'd like my fans amazing and dedicated.

3.  No entry fees... ever.

4.  Certain presses publishing more than one book of mine.  So many poets never find a "home press" that they can trust and keep publishing with.

5.  Some success in other genres, though I'll never be a horror novelist.  Sorry, mom!

6.  An in-person poetry group of radical, incredible poets.  We'll all cheer each other on and help one another.  No jealousy, plagiarism, or feuds.

7.  Easy promotion/marketing (help with it).  I can do a reading or a talk and be entertaining (without passing out or crying).

8.  Someone to edit my poems/books so I don't make a fool of myself.  This person is affordable, patient, skilled, and kind.

9.  Changing people's lives for the better... somehow.

10.  Publishing (widely) in literary magazines.  I never publish somewhere (presses or magazines) I'll regret in the future.

11.  No longer feeling like I need a degree to be successful.

12.  Expansion of The Handy, Uncapped Pen.

13.  Starting a writing program in my community for at-risk teens.  We need it here.

14.  A humble heart.  I never want to forget what I fought for, and what others fight for every day.

15.  Attending a (fairly close by) conference.  Maybe this one, though I have no money or way to get there.  I've always wanted to go to a (good) conference... or two.
Some things I listed probably don't seem like part of a writing career, but they are the most important.

There are probably things I missed. I didn't mention making boatloads of money because there isn't money in poetry.  I didn't talk about agents because there are no agents for poets.  Can't travel around the country selling books because of my chronic pain and lack of funds.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Horror Chapbook Incoming! (The Poet's Haven)

In 2017, I wrote a blog post on the difficult decision to walk away from a chance at self-publishing a book.  The manuscript, a little horror poetry collection with a few pieces of flash fiction sprinkled in, wasn't going anywhere.  I had zero leads and tucked it away.

Poetry is a hard sell for presses because the readership just isn't there.  Most publishers who are devoted to poetry won't risk further splitting their audience with "genre" work.  (Plus, there's the perceived inferiority of any poetry not 100% "literary" in subject and tone.)
About a year ago, I came across a small press called The Poet's Haven.  It has an Author Series and accepts poetry like a regular online 'zine.  Looking through what they publish, I realized they seemed open to the possibility of horror.  I took a chance.

Sunday, I received an acceptance letter!  Blighted Feast is forthcoming in the summer of 2020.  This will be the second chapbook I'll have coming out in two years!  I'm thrilled (and nervous).

I'm not great at self-promotion.  I guess I better learn fast!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Disability Representation in Funny Little Bunnies

Released in 1934, Funny Little Bunnies is an Easter-themed short in the Silly Symphony series from Walt Disney.  It features bunnies dyeing eggs, carving chocolate rabbits, and putting baskets together for the holiday.

I watched it for the first time a few days ago and was surprised.  There are depictions of disabled rabbits!

The first is an old, brown rabbit hunched over a cane using his free hand to grasp a paintbrush.  He is shaking constantly.  Another rabbit brings him an egg so he can paint a spiky line around the egg's center.

Immediately after, cockeyed white twins paint each other's eggs while they sit side-by-side.

At around 5:44, two blind bunnies in sunglasses weave baskets.

Each example of disability comes at us with a jab of comedy (which isn't surprising in 1934).  The old rabbit can't draw straight!  The twins' eyes are so strange!  Are the blind bunnies even blind*?  The one clearly "saw" the piece he needed to grab!

But, as I watched, I didn't just see the weak humor that accompanied each disability portrayal.  I saw an old rabbit past his prime being assisted by another rabbit to still engage in his passion.  I saw twins doing what they loved together.  I saw blind rabbits who are skilled in basketry.  Every bunny, disabled or not, was doing their part to prepare for Easter.  Their society found places for them to contribute without making it a big deal.

This Silly Symphony emanates a sense of perfect harmony.  Easter Bunny Land is accessible and inclusive... and that's no joke.   

*Small note on visual impairment:  You don't have to have zero vision to be considered blind.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Interim (A Poem)

He is laughing at something on TV. My breath
scrapes over my teeth, back into a diseased body. Tears
slide in havoc, no tool to reverse them, remote

rewind.  Before this year, we didn't know I had cancer.

Months until we find out if I still do. A horror
movie villain downed with a shovel. Will
there be a sequel to this, a round two? Fights wear

on a person.  Depression has followed him this year, ate

away the light in his eyes. The light I give, I take
like a goddess in a sadistic carnival. Misery
unmeasured, delights on display.  "I'm sorry."

I ache to say to his damage.  I caused this unhappiness.

"It's not you," he says, like we're breaking up.
Close to the breakdown.  When he laughs in joy,
I cry because it's a rare sound.

I wrote this in 2017 after radiation therapy was completed.  I try not to write too many poems about cancer (I think I've written four in total) because someone has probably said everything better than I can.