I self-published a book this month on May 6th. It is a small chapbook of my poetry entitled: Life’s Inspiration and Reflection in a Few Words. Last night, at a gallery where I am known as a jewelry artist, I read poetry from my own book. It was both a surreal and vulnerable experience. But, I felt it was an important step to grow as an author and poet. I firmly believe that if you are lucky enough to have talents and gifts, they should be shared.
Certainly, I am sharing through publishing a book of my own work. But, to sit in front of a live audience and read one’s own work? Well, that is a different story entirely. I am an introvert at heart. Over the last twenty-three years, I’ve pushed myself to grow and try new things. An introvert doesn’t like to take center stage. But, at the same time, I like to be recognized for my talents and hard work. Let me be clear, none of what I’ve done – whether it be developing student enrichment groups for our community, being a successful jewelry artist, writing poetry and prose, taking photos, or self-publishing a book has been easy. They’ve all been things that have taken perseverance and dedication, as well as a healthy belief in myself that I can accomplish what I set out to do.
But, that said, the world of being an indie-published author is slightly different. I am responsible for all aspects of my book, from conception to finished product, it is up to me to make it right AND to market it.
This is hard for an introvert. Participating in the poetry reading last night was one way to market my work. Luckily author copies arrived just in time for the event. I’ve sold 9 books since May 8th on Amazon. I know I sold at least one copy of my book last night at the reading. While am not out to get rich off this little book of poetry, it makes me feel good that the people who purchase it want to support me. And, secondly, they might even be interested in what I write!
What else have I done to market my book; you might wonder?
I belong to an online forum of poets. I have belonged to the Poetry Friday group for over two years. Many people post weekly, as I’ve done. We comment on each other’s poetry, and many are published in each other’s anthologies. But as I tried to “market” my one new book in the forum, I’ve had the feeling that I am putting people off. What I’ve done is not unusual at all. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I am new to the indie publishing world and have exactly one book. Many people in the forum have many publications. They market their books weekly, it seems, as I’ve done for exactly the last month. I am entirely uncertain of what I am feeling about this now.
I made a Twitter account. I haven’t had a lot of action on the account but nor have I tweeted very often. I was told in a course I took on self-publishing that if I was going to be successful at it, I needed a Twitter account. I feel successful but Twitter has not been part of it. I’ll hang on a little longer but am starting to believe it is not necessary at all. There are other ways to network, right?!
I’ve posted about my writing on my personal Facebook page. My blog, this blog, is posted to my personal Facebook account daily. Those nine books that I’ve sold? I’m pretty sure they’ve been purchased by friends who are linked to me and my posts on Facebook. I thank every single one of them. I do not have an “author” page on Facebook. Another online webinar suggested that this, like the Twitter account, is also a must for any author who wants to be successful. I’ll think about it.
Right now, success for me is that I did it! I wrote and published a book! I had it professionally edited. The editor liked it and is willing to work with me again. That is huge! I wrote the words, formatted the pages, ordered the chapters, and made the cover. I learned more about using Canva than I have learned in my past experiences with the software. All this means that the book, my authorship, and my publishing press are successful! I’ll take the win.
In conclusion, today, I move on to other projects. I have more poetry to write, more jewelry to make, and more stories to tell. (You know we are also moving soon.) You will see more books from me. I derived a great deal of self-satisfaction from my authoring endeavor simply because I did it! In addition to moving on to other projects, I will continue to network. A small part of participating in the live poetry reading last night was networking with some new people – people who write and read poetry and can appreciate the thoughts of others. It was about having an art gallery staff that knows me primarily as a jewelry artist, start to see me in a different light – as a poet, a publisher, and an environmental educator who has a long history of working with children. I will continue to seek out additional online forums in which I can feel supported and nurtured in my work and not strange about my new accomplishments.
But the biggest hurdle that remains is marketing my work. It will be a challenge for me as it has been for millions of others. As an introvert, it will the hardest task of all. I’ll find a way to make it work.
My poetry chapbook can be found on Amazon at: