After an absence of two years I’ve finally gotten around to writing, organizing, and self-publishing another book—this one about “Silly Little Love Poems.” I stole the title from an old Paul McCartney & Wings song—Silly Little Love Songs from the 70s. Don’t worry, one cannot copyright titles; I was dutiful in respecting the original material, however, and changed the last word in the title to reflect the book’s content. I want to use the book as an example on how to take a concept or idea, organize a project, and see it through to completion. Some writers are extremely organized, but not very creative. They are good at anthologies, non-fiction, co-editing academic books, and biographies. Other writers, while creative, don’t have the organizational skills to bring the idea to fruition. How often have you heard someone say “oh I wish I could get enthused again about the manuscript?” There’s no escaping the reality that writing is hard work and requires creativity, organization, and marketing skills.
When I began my poetry writing fifteen years ago with the poem “I Understand,” the idea followed a tumultuous time in my working career when I was starting my own business, and relied on the friendship of a business coach who helped me succeed. The poem was my way of saying “Thank You.” My poetry then took a backseat to action thrillers which I found easy to write because the pace is fast and structure is not as important as plot and character development.
Then my personal journey of going through a divorce last year prompted my poetry writing again to help me work through the discomfort, bewilderment, and pain of separating from a thirty-six year relationship. Many of the poems in the second section of the book were written during the separation as evidenced by some of the titles—Dissonance, A Piece of Paper, Don’t Cry for Me, and Empty Walls. I’ve always been a closet romantic—too afraid to share my emotions, but okay with writing them. Love’s Places is a compilation of places for lovers in the southwestern USA and Europe. I tried to capture the lighting, sounds, and smells of the locals, eateries, and beautiful scenery.
Another section, Family and Friends, originated from the idea that through troubled times you want someone “in your corner.” I tried to capture my feelings with Mother’s Day, Mother’s and Daughters, Father and Son, and A Gift to portray the importance of nuclear families. Unconditional love should begin with one’s parents if one is lucky enough to receive this enormous gift, as I did. To extend your love to your own children and grandchildren is a double treat.
The last section is religious in its tone while I tried to describe the feelings when someone close to you is dying. The loss is real and painful. We lost my mother last month after two years of suffering with emphysema. Her last wish was for her family to be with her when she died and we honored her request. It is with great admiration that I dedicated the book to my mother with the inscription: For mother, my first true love, and although gone from my sight your spirit soars.
Now that the book is complete and being published my efforts now turn to marketing. IUniverse.com has a great marketing package which is a free download which can assist you in making bookmarks, selling points, business cards, posters, and postcards, as you plan your marketing campaign for the sale of your book. Having your own website helps and you can easily direct people to the “buy” page with your publisher. Offering your book electronically is another great idea and many authors are going to this format as another passive source of income.
As I close this newsletter I am thankful for the people in my life who allowed me to grow and make mistakes. As I’ve said often before, writing is a lonely task and the catharsis is both an exploration and epiphany for those willing to take the journey. I wish you the best in telling your own story.
1. Take out that old manuscript and read it. If your enthusiasm and passion is renewed, then go for a second rewrite.
2. Explore electronic publishing. There are many excellent sources including:
Independent Bookstores-the NewPages Guide (www.newpages.com/NPGuides/bookstores.html
Bookstore Lists on the Web
The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Publishers-bookstores
Create successful booksignings by Connie Shelton
3. Develop a press release for your next book. Call your local newspaper editor who does the book reviews and ask to send him/her a copy of your release and book. Try to get on a local talk shore and practice your 30-second elevator speech.