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Craigslist. That’s how this all started. By this, I’m referring to my fulfilling my lifelong dream of publishing a book! But I’m not sure if “fulfilling” is the right word. See, this book may never make it to my coffee table, this book may never make it to the shelf of a library, this book may very well remain trapped in a computer, never examined closely for any words between the lines, but rather scanned quickly and then forgotten perhaps without its tangibility serving as a reminder of its worth.
But I did it, I published a book. Surprisingly, I compiled the book in a little over one week! It started when I instinctively searched the Craigslist “jobs” section one morning. I like to look under “writing jobs” just for fun even though I am satisfied with the full-time job I already have. I came across the title “Looking to Publish a Book?” or something similar. I emailed the person, who turned out to be a man named Gordon from in Bend, Oregon, and directed him to my blog. Gordon called or emailed me back, I don’t recall, and told me about the Amazon Select Program, otherwise known as KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing. You’ve heard of it.
Gordon asked me how soon I could have a book ready. I told him that my memoir wasn’t completed yet (not sure that I would even take this route with the memoir) but that I was interested in compiling a book of poetry. “Great” he said, “when can you have it ready?”
I scanned my blog, journals, and stash of paper napkin poems for a theme. Relationships, that’s what kept coming up. Desperate poems. So be it, I thought, and started to make a list of poems that would go into the book. I quickly researched how to compile a book of poems and came up with a couple hard-fast rules: long poem, short poem, long poem, short poem (that’s so the reader doesn’t feel that all of the poems are the same) and, start with a strong poem, end with a strong poem, or meaningful poem, or whatever. There were some other rules too, but I like to keep poetry free.
I put together the draft, skipping the prologue, feeling like I had nothing to say that wasn’t already said in the poems themselves, or addressed in my bio at the end of the book. My boyfriend, Forrest, helped me design the book cover after I rejected the one the publisher’s “people” made which was of a cosmopolitan-looking woman sitting on a lazy boy in a field. No. When I sent the book in, cover and all, I worried, of course, that it wasn’t up to par (that was it? But I self-edited!?!) I was, however, left with a feeling of total control: I wrote the book, I edited the book, I designed the book cover, I even wrote the book description! Wow!
When it was all said and done, I posted the good news on my blog, my relatives posted the Amazon link on their Facebook pages, and I announced the book on Craigslist once or twice in the “artists” section. I also created a flyer but I haven’t distributed it yet (will a few flyers posted in Eugene really make a difference when the people who are downloading my book are from Afghanistan and Canada?) I still plan to put up the flyer–knowing it can bring in a sell or two–but otherwise, with the exception of rants like you are reading now, my work here is done. Gordon wants to know when I’m planning to submit another book for publishing, but I’d like to see how things go with Poems by a Horny first. Let me summarize for you my first month of sales:
I’ve sold 7 books (waa-waa-waaaa), however, on my free promotional days, I gave away 108 (yippie!) Gordon says the first month is always the worst for sales. We’ll have to just wait and see (what about momentum?)
The purpose of this post was to 1) Inform my 27 (I love you) readers about the success (in my opinion!) of Poems by a Horny Small-Town Gal, 2) Initiate discussion and provide information about KDP, as I know of at least a couple of people who are in the process of trying it out and, of course, 3) Promote my book Poems by a Horny Small-Town Gal.
Thanks for reading, I encourage comments especially regarding other authors and their experiences with Kindle Direct Publishing. Cheers.