… And that is exactly what I had the privilege of doing when I met the poet-in-waiting and his marketing guru in a wooden cafe by the sea. For 90 minutes, they listened to me talking about writing. The excitement! The ego boost!
The marketing guru had picked up my card when I took a stand at a bank and attempted to lure people over to it with cupcakes. I had come away feeling the cupcakes and banks don’t mix, so I was delighted to realise my ploy had worked. She was representing a poet who had three collections of poems waiting to be published.
The poet is now at the point where he’s dying to show his work to the world and the marketing guru wanted to help him realise his publishing dreams. While I’m not a poet, I do know about publishing – and I know quite a few poets. So I agreed to meet them.
To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish
The central issue to be settled was whether to choose a traditional publisher or to self publish. The poet was pretty clued in on the main poetry publishing houses in the country, but he was also in a hurry, so although the jury is still out, I reckon he’ll choose self publishing. I recommended choosing a local printer with experience in printing small books.
The Publishing Process
I said that these days, publishing was a costly process and some poetry presses required their authors to obtain funding from local county councils. I also pointed them towards the Title by Title publishing scheme, which helps self publishers and publishing companies bring out titles.
If they choose self publishing, they’ll need the book to be as professional in design and content as possible. I recommended they find an editor and a book-cover designer to help them produce the book. Though this involves an investment, the investment will be worth it.
Promoting the Book
The poet was keen to perform his work, and to hear others perform it. He wondered about organising open-mic nights for poets. I suggested a local arty/scruffy bar which would be ideal. I had to break it to him that regardless of the publishing route he chose, the book was likely to take longer than he thought. so creating a marketing campaign to whet people’s appetite for the book would be a good way to make use of the time.
The Publishing Dream
I was highly flattered when the poet said he was blown away by the information I gave him (I blabbed so much my coffee nearly went cold!). I just relish the opportunity to share my passion, and whatever knowledge I’ve gathered. I didn’t pull any punches about the hazards of publishing.
But I told him it’s always worth publishing, so your work can see the light of day. There comes a time in your writing life when you need to show your work to the world, and with over 200 finished poems, my poet friend has reached that point.