News on my Third Collection

I had been modeling my previous collection formats by very excellent, well known Poets published by big name companies. As a new, small time, self published poet, that’s really not the best idea! Big publishers want more material from their poets, that’s not necessarily what the readers want. The industry is focused on markets and money. That’s not where my focus should be.

I ran a poll on Twitter and changed things up!

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So my third collection started off about 170+ pages and I’m now working towards getting it under 100 if I can. The idea now is to really split the collection into 2 different books. I’ve done some crazy editing to cut the book down.

With this new concept, I’ll be reconfiguring my title and cover as well as sequence of the poems. In short, this third collection is getting a massive remodel, which right now is mainly tearing down the old walls till we’re down to the studs. I’m not worried about my third release date so this construction schedule suits me just fine.

We may have another collection this summer! More updates to come!

The choice to self publish

The dream for me had always been to be picked up by a big publishing company in the future of my writing career. I knew that would not happen right away and self publishing some books would almost be like building up a resume. I could grow my own fan base, I would be showing that I’m not just a one hit wonder, and I would show that I have the passion and commitment to continue on for many more years. 

 

There’s definitely stress and frustration that comes with putting a book together but I do love having control over every decision and making my collection EXACTLY how I want it. As I’ve never been traditionally published, I don’t know when the hand off happens exactly. But I’m sure there’s Cover Designers and Illustrators that can give your collection a complete makeover – a makeover you may not want. You can be included in the conversation but how could you disagree with the professionals if you didn’t like the design?

 

A big plus of signing with a traditional company is the marketing resources that can be dedicated to getting your book to consumers’ hands. When you self publish all the marketing and promoting falls on you. The thing is I’ve seen some collections that were published by traditional companies but barely have 50 reviews on Amazon. I know reviews don’t equal sales but one of the big 5 publishing houses should have enough resources to ensure their books are being promoted well. 

 

Traditional publishing companies have been in the industry for a long time, they have a lot of connections, and they know all the ins and outs to get your book in front of the right people. But will they use that knowledge on you, that’s no guarantee as this recent thread on Twitter speaks to. 

 

After publishing my first two collections, I’ve learned I want control of all creative decisions and I want as much promotional help as possible, it seems there are plenty of examples in the industry that traditional companies don’t help me with either of those things. 

 

Being picked up by a publishing company could be the greatest thing to ever happen to your writing career. It could be the greatest to happen to mine as well, I’m just saying that I no longer feel that hungry desire to chase after one of the big 5 houses. I’m happy self publishing. It’s difficult at some points and I know traditional would have it’s own difficulties as well. Self publishing has been making steady strides in this industry for years and I am here for it’s next step.

 

Interview with Poet Alice Fawn – Installment 8

Alice Fawn is bursting with creative talent from her poetry, singing songwriting, writing, and even teaching yoga. Alice carries out her day in an art form with grace. She heals your body, mind, and soul through all of her creative work. Let’s dive into some of her many projects now.

 

How would you describe ‘Soft Fairytales’ in one sentence? 


The fairytales I’ve written are dreamy, soft and empowering. They are pleasant magical journeys wherein the message is always the same: You have a purpose. Powerful beauty is already within you Kindness and compassion matter. 

This is unconventional for a fairytale. Classically, they are generally a bit dark and dramatic. 

 

 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

 

I am open to whatever expression wants to flow through next. I had no idea that I’d be writing poetry, fairytales, or even children’s books! I thought I was just a singer who made up lyrics. If we take away labels and expectations, we can be surprised at what comes out!

 

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from Alice’s Instagram, linked below

 

What do you hope readers will take away from your children’s book, Ginny’s Cloud?

I hope readers delight in the whimsy of the story. I aim to inspire children to have heart based connections with others.

 

 

What is your background in spirituality & yoga? how does it influence poetry/ creative process?

 

I am a yoga teacher and healer, and I tune in every morning with a brief meditation. This helps me to stay elevated and more calm throughout my day. The quieter my mind, the richer the ideas! I am open to receive. Sometimes a phrase will drift into my consciousness seemingly out of nowhere. I believe this can only happen when I am still. 

 

 

Why is writing important to you?

 

Its nice to have a solitary creative outlet. It often feels like a form of meditation. I hope to uplift and empower people through my work. 

 

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photo from Alice’s instagram, linked below

 

When did you start singing? How did you make the jump to starting this new project?

 

I remember singing and humming as a child. In a rock band, it’s hard to sing pretty the whole time, and lyrics get lost. My current project, Aurora Aura , came about because I realized that my lyrics were important, and the ethereal quality of my voice needed to be heard. Aurora Aura has guitar looping by Dustin Sebes and melody/lyrics by me.  

 

If you’d like to see more of Alice, connect with her here!

Musical Instagram

Poetry Instagram

Blog

Amazon

Youtube

Blog Tour Interview: An Interview with Poet Megan O’Keeffe — The Literary Librarian

What gave you the idea for Where I Ache? Or what inspired you to write it?

Where I Ache focuses on various aspects of mental health, such as depression and self esteem, which are definitely important to me and my writing. Mental health can be such a delicate topic and often gets avoided because of that. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish this book because I didn’t know if I could put that vulnerability out there. But then I reflected that because of the silence, people with mental illness feel even more alone, so then I knew I wanted to publish this collection, so that the readers could be their own little community of support and unity.

Interview: An Interview with Poet Megan OKeeffe

via Interview: An Interview with Poet Megan O’Keeffe — The Literary Librarian

Blog Tour: Here is my interview with Megan O’Keeffe (AuthorsInterviews)

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Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

MO: I guess I started to consider myself a writer when I launched my blog Debatably Dateable. Before that I wasn’t consistently sharing my work and had actually tried to stop writing a few times.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

MO: All the positive feedback I was receiving from my blog really encouraged me to put a collection together. I wanted the collection to tell a cohesive story and was inspired deeply by love and love lost. Love poems are really a cornerstone of my writing but I’ve been evolving into various topics.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title of your new book?

MO: The book Where I Ache focuses on depression, self esteem, grief, and self love and there’s a lot of mental and physical pain here. The chapters refer to different parts of the body (head, heart, spine) focusing on different parts of where the speaker is aching.

 

Read the rest via Here is my interview with Megan O’Keeffe

Thanks so much for the interview Fiona!

 

 

how to come up with a Book marketing strategy

Marketing your book is tough business and your book’s success depends on your ability to get it right. I’m going to tell you how to implement a book marketing strategy using the 5 month timeline of my book release. Just a heads up, most research would suggest marketing 12-6 months out.

 

Beta Readers / Marketing Research

Early february – Beta readers play two important parts for an author. First, they are a fresh set of eyes that can find any last minute mistakes. They’re a great tool for marketing too since they’re your first focus group on your new project. Their initially feedback will help you learn how first time readers will interpret your book. This will help you decide how you will want to market your book and what you want to draw a reader’s attention to. You can ask beta readers (focus groups) specific questions that may be concerning you and they may bring to light questions you hadn’t considered.

 

Blog Tour

Mid march – Blog tours are a great marketing tool where different bloggers will reviews your book, interview you, or just share information about your book. Blog tours are a big scheduling task though so getting it organized early will save you a headache later. For my release, I’ll be contacting poet interviewers now and hopefully start the tour in early may and have it finish the week before the release date. Since I’m leaning towards interviewing, the more time I have to answer questions, the less stressful the marketing release process will be for me.

 

ARCs

April – By Late February you have the feedback from your beta readers and you’ve made your final changes to the collection. Now you’re ready to send out ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) to book bloggers, fellow poets, and anyone else that will help market your book. Free ARCs are given to readers in exchange for their honest review of your book. If you’re selling on Amazon, it’s super important to have a lot of reviews close to your release date to boost your book in the rankings. The higher in the rankings you are, the more people will see your book and consider purchasing it.

 

More Frequent Posting

May – We’re 6 weeks out from release date and it’s time to pick up the marketing. This is when my blog tour starts, this is when you’re highlighting reviews that have been coming in due to your ARCs, and when you’re posting on all social medias so that everyone knows when and where to buy your book! Support and momentum are really important during the weeks surrounding your release date!

 

Celebrate!

Release Date – June 10th! You’re book is officially released! Time to shout it to the world and celebrate!! You’ve just accomplished something super amazing! Continue to love on your book, but try not to drown your followers in too much noise. Congratulations and best of luck to your book!

 

25 before 25 list

It’s time to see how I did on my list of 25 before 25.

 

1. Go on a caribbean trip

6 month check in: I’ve finally booked a trip for February!

Totally lied lol, we ended up using that money to go to California instead!

 

2. Figure out how all this self hosting works (how can I find my view sessions?! lol)

6 month check in: It’s a work in progress.

It’s actually going well!! Last month, I reached my highest monthly view yet! I also became a member of a few affiliation programs and made $12 from Google Adsense, so slowly but surely I’m figuring it all out!

 

3. Breakeven on my self hosting investment

6 month check in: That is definitely not happening lol

One of the things I often discredit is that my books are actually products so the money I make there could be used to counter my self hosting costs. First year, I did not make money, but maybe I’ll breakeven this second year.

 

4. Sell 100 copies of my debut poetry collection Cracked Open in its first 6 months

6 month check in: haha definitely not… but I have made over $100 so I’ll take what I can get

Cracked Open is a year old and I am definitely not near 100 sold copies but I do have high hopes that Where I Ache will do much better than my first collection. Fingers crossed!!!

collections

 

5. Go hiking regularly in the warm weather

6 month check in: I didn’t get out much as I wanted it

I’m hopeful I can get back into hiking this Spring/Summer!

 

6. Advance my career

6 month check in: Still hoping to

I’m actually switching career paths! I’m very excited to be heading in a new, happier direction.

 

7. Write 125 new poems

6 month check in: I’m at about 50 so I’ll probably only get to 100

In addition to this 50, I also wrote over 50 exclusively for Where I Ache! But I fell short of 125 by a few since I’ve been using my older poems on the blog.

 

8. Create some healthy eating habits

6 month check in: Some weeks I do, some weeks I don’t

I don’t have the self discipline for this… lol

 

9. Be more active with my dog

6 month check in: Definitely taking my dog on more walks

Had to slow down with the winter weather but I’m planning some doggie park adventures!

 

10. Go kayaking

6 month check in: Didn’t get to it this summer

I think I’ll try something else this summer, leave some suggestions in the comments!

 

11. Go to a concert

6 month check in: I didn’t this summer but who knows with the holidays

I went to a Post Malone concert on New Year’s Eve with my boyfriend!!

 

12. Publish 200 new posts

6 month check in: I post 3 times a week and with 52 weeks in year, I’ll be about 50 short. (should have done some better math before making this goal lol)

Still fell short but I actually have switched my posts from 10 times a month to 12-13 monthly so I am posting more content!

 

13. Dye my hair a new color

6 month check in: Indeed I did! It’s blonde now

Check out my different hair colors through the years!

 

14. Start organizing for my next poetry collection

6 month check in: You know it! I have over a 100 poems ready for this one.

WHERE I  ACHE COMING OUT JUNE 10TH!!!!!! Guys I am soooo excited!! I’m so happy that this collection is longer than the first and features a lot more diverse content. I’m also so so happy that I got to work with my boyfriend for this project!! Grab your copy of Where I Ache to see his amazing illustrations!!!

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15. Surprise my boyfriend (no more details incase he reads this)

6 month check in: I surprised him with a dinner cruise for our 1 year anniversary!

This reminds me that I need to do something nice for my boyfriend! He puts up with a lot from me haha

 

16. Grow Blog and Twitter following immensely (hard to put a number on it right now)

6 month check in: I’ve been working hard at this one!

From April 2018 to this April my blog gained 1,810 followers

From April 2018 to this April my twitter gained 2,595 followers

 

17. Get another tattoo

6 month check in: I’m not in a rush and I’m still thinking about what I might want

Since I’m changing career paths I need to be more financially conscious so this is on hold for a while.

 

18. Attend a sporting event

6 month check in: My boyfriend took me to a baseball game.

I also saw a college basketball game!

 

19. Have half of the finances needed to buy a house

6 month check in: I think I’ll reach this goal

Starting on a new career path is going to push me back a few years unfortunately.

 

20. Visit another state

6 month check in: I think I will be, still working out the details

Went to California with my boyfriend over the winter!!

 

21. Visit 20 new places

6 month check in: I’ve been to quite a few new restaurants and local attractions.

I think I’ve reached this one!

 

22. Go to the golf range more often

6 month check in: Nah didn’t happen

I’m not as interested in this goal this spring.

 

23. Go on a boat ride

6 month check in: You bet I did!

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24. Get stronger so I can start seeing my chiropractor less

6 month check in: I am seeing the doctor less

I haven’t seen my chiropractor at all this year and I’ve only had a few shoulder flare ups!

 

25. Have some adventures this summer – fun and carefree!

6 month check in: I definitely got to do some new things and see some new places!

Summer is around the corner yet again, I can’t wait to get a tan and spend time with my family!! Lots of celebrations coming!

 

Personal Thoughts on Poetry

Through reading, writing, and studying poetry over the years, I’ve formulated some personal opinions on certain poetry components and trends I really like and dislike. There’s plenty I still have to learn about the craft and the community but for now, here are some of my feelings on some poetic aspects:

 

Chapters

I love that my collections have chapters. I understand chapbooks not having chapters due to their shorter lengths or not including chapters as a personal choice and preference. There is in fact a downside to categorizing poems as lumping similar themed poems could end up seeming repetitive to a reader. That’s something I’m becoming more conscious of while working on my second collection Where I Ache. But overall, I do enjoy seeing how certain poems can relate to one another. It’s so cool to see one theme through such a wide range of perspectives in chaptered collections.

 

Titles

I personally prefer poems that have titles. I’ve seen plenty that don’t and I understand everyone will have their own creative ideas and reasoning. Titles to me add something to the poem. They might help give the poem an overall theme, emphasis on a particular word or feeling, or additional information. I like titles to give me a hint about the poem I’m about to read rather than just being thrown into a narrative. Titles set a tone or mood, a time period, or reference point. A creative aspect I enjoy about titles is when they’re used as the first line of the poem.

 

No rhyme or reason

I don’t think poetry needs to rhyme. I think types of poetry work better when it rhymes such as songs and children’s nursery rhymes. There are plenty of forms that require it and plenty that forbid it. I think people unfamiliar with poetry would assume it always rhymes when in fact a large number of poetry presses request that submissions aren’t rhyming poems.

 

Poetess

I like the term poetess – it reminds me of male lion vs female lioness and lionesses are super badass running their prides and being the hunters of their species. They’re strong and fierce, what’s not to like. Leaning on that idea and calling yourself a poetess seems very cool in my opinion.  

 

Insta poetry

I understand that social media is so huge in today’s society and I completely understand artists wanting to reach their audiences on all platforms. The world is moving at a fast pace, technology is fast, and therefore you never want anything taking up too much of your time. So short and sweet ‘instapoems’ have become quite popular. I’m all for being smart with how you use your page’s real estate but I think poems with more than just 4 lines are more powerful and moving. I’ve written instapoems myself, they’re just not the only poem length I write.

 

Indie Presses

Essentially every poem I write, I then publish on this blog. This makes all those poems ineligible for most printing presses since they wouldn’t be exclusive to that publication. I never really understood why poets took the time to publish to indie presses until I realized that some poets don’t have blogs or just might not publish to online forms/sites. When I write a poem, I want to share it with strangers so of course, if I wasn’t publishing them online I would absolutely be submitting to indie presses in order to get my poems into print! I also very very briefly submitted some work and I don’t know how these Poets continuously handle the rejection.