In January I signed up for a free account with She Writes, a site with a membership about 7,000 women writers in all genres. The same day I signed up for Red Room.
My Red Room account promptly dissipated into the ether: they make an unsettling distinction between "members" and "authors," and my page doesn't turn up under the browsing menus. Meh. In contrast, within 24 hours the folks at She Writes welcomed me with a personal hello, an invitation to join the "poetry social" group, and a rotation of my author photo through the main page's mini-roster.
She Writes made me feel like a vital part of the community, right off the bat. So in return, I'm thrilled to contribute a series of "Countdown to Publication" posts to their site in the coming days--a kind of behind-the-scenes of what goes into launching a poetry book into the world. I am proud to be contributing alongside these other authors:
Virginia DeBerry & Donna Grant
Sonya Chung *
* Sonya has gotten a head start on the rest of us--and has already impressed me with the detail and the honesty of her posts...
Each weekday, one of us will be featured on the She Writes Blog, which is authored collectively; my "day" is Monday. We're following in great footsteps--Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) and Hope Edelman (author of The Possibility of Everything) have gone before us. Wish me luck!
& if you sign up for She Writes, invite me to be your friend, please?
Countdown to Publication: 48 Days
My first collection of poetry, Theories of Falling, was published by New Issues Poetry & Prose, which is based at Western Michigan University. They did a fantastic job with editing and design, and have been incredibly supportive at every step of the way (even now, having just initiated a 2010 reprint of the book). One great thing about a university press is that some of the staff will be salaried, meaning you don't have to feel guilty about asking them to respond in a timely fashion; sure, it's a labor of love, but it is also their job. Yet unlike New York houses (where the turnover can be relentless), employees at university presses tend to stay for at least 2-4 years, which will be the core lifespan of your book. These folks usually have priorities in addition to climbing the publishing ladder--a PhD program, or a family, or other commitments to the town. They stick around, and you get the pleasure of building a real, lasting relationship with them."
Even with the best presses, sometimes things go wrong.
Countdown to Publication: 52 Days
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