Twitter, my new mistress and stealer of time, sometimes seems as though I am in a bizarre market of promoters bellowing at the top of their lungs. “Roll up, roll up! Come see the contraptions on equal footing with Edison and Tesla. Yes, the two giants of industry and science today meet their match in this outstanding offering! Just 7.99 to enter!” It’s a wonderful song, and I flit from booth to booth to see what the self-publishers and indie-promoters are doing. They are in the boat that I am, and their successes, their triumphs, are stuff of budding legends. I have opened my own small booth on this green–@dustyjournal–but I seem to chat with the other booth owners more than attract a new clientele.
This has become a stumbling block. I’m ostensibly a professional poet, and ostensibly I sell poems.
But should I be? I have been turning over in my mind the wonderful example of Gabriel Gadfly. His website is devoted to daily poems that he announces to his followers via email and twitter. He builds up an audience on the same principles as webcomics. You give away the object to your reader. They laugh, they think, they come back for more. When it comes time to make a book, the fans support you. New readers can easily sample your work on the web. The hard work of convincing your audience that you are a poet of note is already done by the daily efforts of writing, posting, and reaching out to your audience.
For a market that doesn’t see a lot of cash (and let’s be honest, poetry is the worst market in all of literature), Gabriel has created a niche for his work.
His example is leading me to re-evaluate how & where I should go looking for an audience. I have decided to follow Gabriel’s example, and put my energies towards creating a website that will publish poems on a weekly basis. After Manifesto For All is sent out for proofs next week, I will delve into the muck of website building yet again to create a place where my poems can be read on-line. Currently, I think it will be a website separate from the Dusty Journal. This is a place for musing. I wouldn’t want to clutter it up with unfortunate poems lobbed at my fiction-writing ROW peers.
On the work front, this week turned out to be a tremendous & average sort of week. Tremendous in that I published Letters from Nowhere, my first poetry collection, on the Kindle. (If you want to preview the book, the print version actually has poems to read). The average: I only made the expected headway on Manifesto For All. But as I look back at the week, average ain’t bad by half.
1. 360 / 300 minutes on the manuscript. This coming week will be the final week of full-time work. Manifesto for All will be sent out for proofs by Saturday.
2. 100 / 200 minutes of sketching and drawing. Less work that I would have liked, but still more than zero minutes. I had a meeting with a client on Tuesday for a large illustration job; I am excitedly looking forward to dipping my toe into professional work.
3. Excel entries were not tracked for this week. I decided to see what my productivity looked like without detailing it in a spreadsheet. As it turned out, I did still accomplish a bit of work (as well as spent hours fruitlessly wrangling with epub. How I hate epub!) but not as much as I would have, had I tracked my time. For this coming week, I have hooked myself up with a timer (mytasktimer.com). If I can’t track starting times for what I do, the least I can do is track the amount of time it takes to accomplish something.
How did your week go, fellow ROWers? What tremendous and average happenings befell you? Have you had any revelations about how you want to sell your work (if you’re published), and if not–have you given thought to what you might do once you’ve finished your first novel/book of poems/table-top book of found SPAM art?