|Posted by [email protected] on April 3, 2013 at 6:50 PM|
For years I entered contests, worked on book-sized projects that received little response, and sent poems to journals-- making the change from print to electronic media. If the opportunity ever came along, the less outgoing part of my personality dreaded the responsibilities attached to publishing a book.
Then Finishing Line Press accepted my chapbook An Alphabet of Romance. My husband is excited that my work will have a wider readership. I'm frightened: Frightened I won't meet the pre-sale target of fifty-five books, that marketing mis-steps may be wasting my time without finding an engaged audience, that David will be disappointed. How have other writers shouldered the weight?
Some days-- I am manic. After designing a flyer I attempt to e-mail to every poet in the Poets and Writers directory, then am driven to type up more letters and labels for envelops to send out the flyer by snail mail. Hours disappear while I sit at the computer. I start a new website. So when Beth Sweeney asks if I'm interested in adding a page called The Next Big Thing, I jump at the chance to interview myself. Making sure the page looks the way I want requires formatting beyond my skill level. Yet I persist. Meanwhile the dog needs her nails cut, laundry is piling up, and spiders are free to built webs in any old corner out of the cat's reach.
On a recent trip to San Francisco, I edged my way up to the bookcase at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the Poetry Room at City Lights Books. I dared myself to leave flyers and postcards about the book. Tonight I need to muster up the courage to take flyers to my Qi Gong class. Tomorrow night-- meditation class. These are lessons in being shameless. (Bring up the Garth Brooks song.) Or at least of going public as a poet. The practice will come in handy when we go to the L. A. Times Book Festival in a couple of weeks.
Other days-- the Muse is back. I curl up in the corner of the couch with a notebook and pencil. Too bad the Spring winds are strong enough to make working outdoors unpleasant. Writing new poems holds pleasures that trying to publish older ones doesn't. So much of the submission process is clerical work. And the dog needs her nails cut. . . .