To Sell or Not to Sell

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A portion of this blog appeared previously, but given that new ‘venues’ for my work are now available, it seemed appropriate to see it here again:

There is nothing better, or WORSE, than marketing your own work.  I’ve downloaded the books, spoken to both Indie and traditionally published authors, scrolled through hundreds of blogs looking for tips… and in the end, I still have no idea what I’m doing.  And since I find many of the pushy salesmen types on Twitter to be insincere and annoying, I’m in a quandary.

How EXACTLY do I convince people to buy my work (at the price set by the publisher, no less!)?

I could and do mention the following:

* supporting my work benefits me directly (do you like me? are we friends? were you going to buy me a birthday present?)

* supporting my work benefits the small press that is taking the risk of publishing my chapbook (because let’s face it, no one is getting rich off of poetry and the relationship between press and poet is far more symbiotic than in mass-market publishing)

Beyond these two basic premises, I have a difficult time.  I wholeheartedly believe that my work is a contribution to the permanent body of poetry, a continuance in a very long tradition.  I also think there’s humor and honesty that many might enjoy, even those that wouldn’t normally ‘like’ poetry.  But I just can’t bring myself to constantly bring it up to people.

I was at an open mic last night and really enjoyed the camaraderie of the poets and audience.  I even read, not something I always opt to do.  But when it came time (even at that moment when it might have been socially acceptable to do so) I did NOT plug Sand River and other Places I’ve Been.

WHY NOT? It’s simple, really.  I didn’t want to destroy that fragile rapport by turning friendship into a commodity.

I suppose I’m going to sell far fewer books than I need to.

On that note–it’s available here.

Have an opinion on this? Run into a similar problem and have suggestions for solutions? Leave a comment below!

Trying to Organize my Poetry = Blech

real simpleI cyclically go through phases where I have a desperate need to clear away clutter and simplify my life.  Unfortunately, these tendencies rarely extend in all directions.  That means while I’m cleaning out the clutter in the kitchen junk drawer, the hall linen closet gets stuffed with unfolded sheets.  Martha Stewart I am NOT.

I’m not sure about other writers, but over the years, I’ve accumulated a great deal of POEMS.  Trying to organize these various documents and files has become a little overwhelming.  Why aren’t they just in alphabetical order, you ask? Because that would be too freaking simple!

No, seriously, they aren’t in alphabetical order because pieces are in various stages of editing and revision.  Sometimes they are bunched up as I consider themes and collections.  Sometimes they are leftovers from writing assignments in classes.  Frankly, I even have multiple copies of the SAME poem in ten different places (which makes things doubly confusing when I edit/revise in one location and then forget exactly WHERE that location Is).

One of the nice things about Nanowrimo is that the organization would send out weekly reminders to back up your novel.  I LOVE this because I would take time, right then, to save the document to the cloud.  It’s not like I don’t know to “save” my work, but how many of us do this with regularity? (Shut IT if you are one of those a-holes who is always on top of this)  By the same token, I’d like to get my work uploaded somewhere safe and in a cohesive manner that’s easily navigable.

This is one of those occasions when I would LOVE to hear from others about their suggestions.  Feel free to comment below, via twitter, or on my facebook page.  Right now, I’ve decided to put poems under “theme” headings, like “School/Teacher” poems.  Then if a poem gets published somewhere, I’m going to change the name the document is saved under to include the publication’s name and date.

I suppose I’m inspired to do this in part because I try to organize and simplify my life EVERY new year.  Even though I know some of my efforts fall apart over the course of the year, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to realize that I am NOT quite the same flitterbegibbit that I was at twenty-one.  Gosh, it’s been at least a month since I lost my keys!

Now where the hell are my sunglasses?