On February 25, JC Hutchins wrote a blip on the blog Writer Unboxed about the ebooks and the Amazon debacle. I am a big fan of this blog, as it has a variety of authors that pull from their experiences and offer insight into the creative writing/ publishing world. As an author who is unpublished, this is the best! It is rare that you get straight answers about the publishing world, and on this blog the authors do just that. There is no holding back on their thoughts, and I find it a breath of fresh air.
As I was saying before I side-tracked, Hutchins wrote about epublishing and its pros and cons. I have included a link to the article and I highly recommend people read it! Do it now. I mean it. What I found to be most interesting in the article were her thoughts on how DIY publishing is, more often than not, not a means for making a living. I have no bones about her contentions, but I do find this method could be a great tool for poets.
If writing novels is the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket in terms of making money, then writing poetry is like betting the Cubs will make it to the big game, or the Buffalo Bills will have a winning season. But then again, joking about that is like comparing the sizes of infinities... which, surprisingly enough, people actually do! [Warning: the link provided is very heady/nerdy mathematics] What I'm saying is that poetry is a poor man's (or woman's) pastime. It's ubiquitous and relative: everyone does it at some point and rarely do people like another's work enough to buy. Thus, the hardest part in the poet's job description is getting an audience that will invest in their works.
How one goes about it, in my mind, should be through the traditional formats: journals, quarterly pubs, and now online sites. The publications mentioned do not provide a monetary sum or a very minimal one at best. What they do provide is exposure, and that is a commodity that can go a long way when working to build a fan base. So, to become a successful DIY publisher I feel you must not eschew the traditional formats, but embrace them as part of a marketing campaign. Then, with your website, blog, or what have you, you can push the DIY (e)book onto your new-found loyal fan base. It sounds so easy, right? It's not, I know, and it takes a lot of work to be successful at it. Yet, when you spend so much time submitting to publishers hoping to get that chap book in print, only to have it sit on shelves collecting dust, can it really hurt to throw your proverbial hat in the ring?
What do you think?