Home > Poetry, Random Musings, Writing > Poetry, Self-Publishing, and Lines from an Old Love

Poetry, Self-Publishing, and Lines from an Old Love


So, I’ve been working on this project. I’ve decided to self-publish a volume of poetry via CreateSpace on Amazon. (I’m sure I can somehow blame Barry Eisler for that. Or his freakishly perfect hair. *wink*)

This decision took me a while to make. For one thing, I’ve never been a huge fan of self-publishing. I don’t quite know why. I think it was an ego thing. I wanted to be chosen by an editor. I wonder if that stems from years of being picked nearly last for dodge ball. Or kick ball. Or the bane of my high school gym class: baseball. (To this day, I still discard the bat with more force than necessary. I don’t mean it!)

But poetry is notoriously hard to sell. It’s also difficult to profit from. That whole cliché about starving poets? Yeah, that’s pretty much true. This isn’t about making money, although that would be nice. This is about putting the work out there. It’s about not waiting around for someone to notice me. This is me, being proactive. (I’m currently not sure how to price it. I dislike the whole “art should cost .99” philosophy. It was Catherynne Valante who posited that people pay six bucks for a cup of coffee — why the hoopla about paying that much for a book? It doesn’t make sense. Also, as she pointed out, most CDs on itunes are still 10-15 dollars. A single song does not equal a book.)

It’s also rather scary, if I’m being honest. Sure, I have no problem publishing poetry via this blog. However, a whole volume? Out there in the world? It’s a bit daunting.

Like Millay said, I’ll be appearing (shortly) with my pants off in public. (Best quote ever:  A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.) I know there will be some criticism. That happens with anything you write or publish. I promise not to have a meltdown. No one will make a hilarious coffee mug (I’m looking at you, Shaffer) in my honor. Unless it’s something like, “Coffee Vampire.” Because that is an actual nickname some people have for me.

The collection is tentatively titled Lines from an Old Love, but I might change my mind fifty more times before it’s done. I hope, when it’s done, you all like it.

  1. May 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Oh Yay! Congratulations and good luck! Keep us posted on the process and when it’s done.

    • Ali
      May 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Thank you! I will keep you all posted. I’m excited.

  2. May 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Pricing your work is always difficult. Too low and it doesn’t look like you see enough value in your own work so people discount it, too high and your out of reach and looking vain.
    Anyway very exciting process of putting your work out there for the world. Good luck with all of it, pricing, and naming included 🙂

    • Ali
      May 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

      Thanks, Jess! I see so many things priced for .99 and (to me) that’s just crazy. You pay more than that for a hamburger. You know? *shakes head*

  3. May 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Holy. Crap. Sorry, did I say that out loud? I just spent two days in a booth at the LA Times Festival of Books on the USC campus, trying to sell my books. It was equal parts fun, irritating, energizing and exhausting, and my muscles are telling me today that I shouldn’t have stood for 8 hours two days in a row. Annnnnyway, I read your quote – (Best quote ever: A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.) – this morning, just after I’ve had a dream last night of wandering around naked at a school. Now I know what it meant.

    Yes, please, join the dark side and become an Indie Author like me! I, too, wanted the validation of having a publisher pick ME, but you’re correct about poetry books. Just like my book of humor essays, they all swear they like your poems but don’t know how to market them. And having been selected by a small publisher, I’ll never bash the company, but it wasn’t the experience I thought it would be.

    Make certain you also publish on Kindle and on Smashwords. I’ve heard poetry books do well on Smashwords. If you have any questions about it all, or need any help, ask me. I’ve made most of the mistakes already, so I know what to avoid. (I’ll let you make the rest. LOL)

    • Ali
      May 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

      I’ve heard that the dark side has cookies. I hope that’s true! *grin* I’m excited about the poetry book. Once that’s out in the world, I’m going back to novel writing for a while. Well, short stories, too.

      I didn’t even think about Smashwords! I should’ve. I know next to nothing about them. So, I may bombard you with questions. *grin* Thank you for the offer, Gayle! 🙂

  4. Nicola
    May 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I’m buying itttttt.

    • Ali
      May 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

      Yay, Nicola! 🙂

  5. greekphysique
    May 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Let me know if you want to put together a marketing campaign 🙂 I do love to watch the content creation and distribution process!

    • Ali
      May 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      I’m going to do that, I think. Well, as far as the internet (and word of mouth) goes. I have to design the cover, which I might ask for your input on, once I get started going that. 🙂 Thanks for the offer. 🙂

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