Monday, October 14, 2019

Halloween Cards 2019 (With Pictures)

This is my messy workstation. What the picture doesn't show you are all the boxes and supplies laid out around my table and chair.

I tried a bat theme in monochrome. Some of the bats are 3D, and they are all glittery. I am not thrilled with the way it came out.

Green is a Halloween color, so I thought I would pair two shades together. It's a simple stamp card, which I think turned out kind of cute.

I adore witches and purple, so this card was really pretty in my head. In reality, it's kind of boring. I hate that you can see visible glue smears on the black. Keep in mind, I am not a professional. 

This card turned out to be my favorite. The three pumpkins on the bottom have glittery eyes and mouths to match the glitter on the main pumpkin. The gold stripes in the background are shiny. It ended up working very well. (I'm still not sure about the three pumpkins on the bottom, it might've worked better with just the big pumpkin as the focus).
What do you think? Which card is your favorite?

Monday, September 23, 2019

"Absentee Father" in Antinarrative Journal

Last year, antinarrative journal published "Absentee Father".  The publication went under soon after, and I never had a chance to share the link.  While searching through my in-box yesterday, I found the email containing the piece.  
I love online literary magazines because of their accessibility but, when they become defunct, it's a lot harder to find proof of publication.  When you have a print magazine, contributors often receive copies they can scan (or take photos of) if the magazine ceases operation.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Word-of-Mouth Book Sales

Ninety-five percent of books are sold by word-of-mouth.  Ninety-five!  I knew recommendations from friends, family, and trusted reviewers were important to sales, but I never realized how much.

I shouldn't be surprised, my sister and I introduce each other to new authors and series all the time.  Our current (or favorite) reads are something we discuss each visit. I trust her judgement more than any advertisement—partly because she's not trying to sell me on anything, and partly because she's a smart woman who knows my tastes well.
I have a very small circle of people in my life who will read my chapbook.  Even less will recommend it to their (mostly) non-poetry-reading pals.  I don't want those who read my work to regret it.  And, I never want the people closest to me to shill my work out of obligation.

Promotion and marketing still feels yucky to me.  I like sharing news about my soon-to-be-published works because I'm excited about them, but there's a line I dread crossing.  How do you wear the neon "buy my book" sign?  How?  I refuse to make connections with an eye on sales (something related to what I touched on early this year).

Maybe I'm not meant to be a poet.  This salesman shtick is stressful.
A poetry chapbook generally sells a hundred copies in its entire existence (a full-length collection sells around 300).  I realize poetry isn't about the numbers, but I still want to reach people (and not be a "loss" for my presses). It's not about fame or awards... poetry rarely is.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Poem Deconstruct

Today, I'm sharing one of my rough drafts (and what I consider wrong with it). The piece has no title.  I won't be revising it.
Hold onto this, there is no lightness. Careful.
Dappled weight shifts on you the way
seeing your mother as a woman for the first
time rocks you.  Igneous, your ignorance 
astounds.  How she looks now, waiting
for your father who will never come.
She is red-cheek rouged.  Signalling
a lover to fly to her nest.  A myna bird
swoops into the absent place and settles.
His laugh, like your father's, just more caustic.*
His clothes, replace your father's in the closet.*
Careful, hold onto this.  Ashes are heavy.

Hold onto what?  The answer comes at the end (the father's ashes).  However, the poem sliding from command to conversation doesn't transition smoothly.  Rewording this or italicizing may help.

This may sound clever, but it doesn't make sense.

The narrator starts describing the mother waiting for the father's return.  Then, in the very next line, the mother is wearing cosmetics and looking for a replacement guy.  It shouldn't be so abrupt.  There is no indication of time passing.

The lack of stanzas isn't the best idea for this poem.

Some of the commas are misplaced/confusing.  Sentence fragments distract and disturb the pace.

*A pattern starts and fizzles.

The last line fits, but it might leave some readers scratching their heads.  What ashes?  If the narrator would say "his ashes", the reader would wonder if the ashes belong to the subject's father or stepfather.

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.