04-15-2011 06:46 PM - edited 04-16-2011 10:55 AM
Mornin' folks and ladies,
I run a large, growing online magazine called Pie for young people (you can check it out here) and I stumbled across Lulu not too long ago. Having written a collection of poems and formed a very small anthology, I took the leap and self-published here on Lulu. Naturally, I'm not going to beg you to buy my poetry book because you have little reason to, but if you're browsing for something to read then by all means go for it and it'd be great to hear what you think (I think you can access my e-mail, if not let me know!)
Link to the book is here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-moment-w
It'll have that dandy 50% off for about three months, so there's no need to rush either!
Anyway, if you have any tips for me, I'm all ears.
04-15-2011 08:33 PM
You have a classy way of introducing yourself, Ben. From your subject to your valediction, all was smooth, smooth, smooth. That's much appreciated from this consumer.
Cheers and Best!
04-15-2011 08:39 PM - edited 04-15-2011 11:55 PM
Tip 1: Include a preview. I won't purchase any material anymore without the preview (unless it is a work by an author from whom I trust). I know for a bona fide fact that I'm not the only one who demands a preview before a purchase. So please, Ben, include a preview for us :-).
04-17-2011 04:15 AM - edited 04-17-2011 04:26 AM
Hi - good luck with your book.
A couple of points. I have read the preview, you do seem to have one now, but unless it is "poetry" you have confused "your" and "you're" in your showcase poem, i.e. the one in your preview. Not a great start for a self-proclaimed literature student.
Also, I really like the title of the book but the cover is very black. Is that intentional? Have a think about using a photo or picture to make the book stand out a little.
You really need reviews in newspapers and magazines to help get the word out. You may want to try and write a little "press release" and send this to your local newspapers. You will be surprised at how responsive the local press are as they can often be stuck for good stories. I had a whole page I kid you not in a Southampton newspaper a few years ago when I wrote a fictional stary based around a player of Southhampton FC. And I didn't even live there, I just sent them a press release. I also got stories into my local paper where I went to school ("Buckingham author... blah blah...." I hadn't lived there in yonks) and also up in Scotland where my parents had retired to (Dumfries author blah blah blah...) : ) So long as there is a local angle they will read your press release or email to the editor telling them about your book.
(I have been in marketing and maybe I should write a post here for new authors with hints and tips. I was also on BBC Radio Scotland and my local radio station being interviewed about my book. The reason was that I sent them an email telling them about it and would they like to interview me. As I keep saying, marketing is not rocket science, it is more about self belief and having a deep belief in your work. If you believe in yourself, rather than apologising for your first efforts (and this goes for other people not you) then you can start to get noticed. But no one likes an arrogant so and so - you have to write from the heart and not from your ego).
And finally, you only have 8 poems in your book. While I am sure they are excellent poems, you may want to rethink your download price. Also, as editor of the magazine, you are still at the stage of getting yourself established. So maybe find a few other young poets as well, and add their poems in. Try and find some common bond between you all so that it is not just a random collection of people. What is the thread running through your lives? Amazon now sell second hand books cheaply and this is your competition. I have actually just purchased a book a poetry, but by someone who could arguably be said to be Latin America's greatest ever poet, for not much more money than your book. This is the cruel and competitive world we live in.
But as I said, your web magazine looks nice, I am sure you have some talented friends, and that if you really work on it you have the ability to put together a really compelling book that people will really want to purchase.
04-17-2011 05:42 AM
I see you have opted to use colour inside the book. On the preview it comes out as red page numbers on the index....
Using internal colour really pushes up the production cost by around 3X) and probably accounts for the very expensive retail price for a 17 page book. Unless you need colour pictures or coloured text is integral inside you'd be better off with a B&W inside. (Funny because you choose black for the cover)
Talking of page numbers --- where are they?? Your index says Needle in Haystack is on page 4, but in your preview it is actually on the 5th page although none of the pages are numbered.
Misspelling 'your' is niggling
04-17-2011 03:27 PM
04-17-2011 04:28 PM - edited 04-17-2011 04:30 PM
Well it's good that you have taken the advice on board. Some authors here seem to cobble a book together with little effort, and do not respond to people's comments.
Also, as an author you want to give advice while still recognising that other people create works with a huge amount of effort, and you do not want to risk upsetting them, but you still want to give sound advice to help them improve.
With you, you are quite young but I didn't want to patronise you - I figured you would be ok with the observations. As I said I think you have a lot of potential, and if you can compile a set of poems that has some kind of reason, as opposed to a random collection of disparate poets, I think you could do really well if you also work on how to approach media outlets for publicity, i.e. really think about just one key point that they will be interested in e.g. "young poets writing about ecology", "young poets tackle bullying" "young poets from Salisbury create work to help teenagers remain positive" that sort of thing. It gives journalists a hook to write a story around.
I am not saying every poem has to be on the same theme, but maybe as a collective you all have one vision or one goal that you seek to achieve through the poems. Just an idea which you are of course free to ignore.
04-18-2011 03:40 PM
04-18-2011 04:08 PM
I think my only other point is to experiment with covers. I am sure you must have access to either talented photographers or graphic designers. You can actually achieve pretty good layouts with Lulu's templates, and then messing with the colour palettes and adding either photos or jpeg images. But you can also design the entire cover, so have a think about this aspect as it makes a huge impact, especially emotionally, when people see your book for the very first time.