Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Jessie on my blog post on Confession Tuesday about Marketing Books--

i confess i want people to read my poetry book when it comes out but i also confess that i do become tired of people who only ever market their book and never want to discuss anything with you (via blog, facebook whatever the source is) except their book.

there is nothing worse than meeting a writer at a gathering of some sort and the only thing they do is say hello and shove their book into your hands. can i at least get a little foreplay? like a how are you?

Yes! Give us some foreplay before you expect us to sleep with you (and your book!) Sheesh, if you're going to request a threesome, then at least pretend to be interested in us.

* * *

Poets/Bloggers who I think are the example of how to market their books while still being interesting incredible people & poets--

January Gill O'Neil, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Sandra Beasley, Mary Biddinger, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Susan Rich, Alison Stine, Martha Silano, Ivy Alvarez, Suzanne Frischkorn (who has the best author photo), Rebecca Loudon, Oliver de la Paz, Peter Pereira, C.Dale Young. (There are more, but these were the folks who came into my head first...)

I am not sure why there are more women than men. Part of me thinks this is because I am a woman and I look for other women on how to be a good example. Another part of me thinks that it could be because women are just awesome. But so are men.

Maybe men tend to a be a little more heavy handed? I'm not sure. I'm going to think about my favorite male poets with blogs and books and see who comes to mind. Do notice I have three fabulous gentlemen in the list - Peter, C. Dale, & Oliver.

But yes, this group above would be a quick list of poets I feel do a great job of sharing their work with readers AND not making feel as if they are desperate to sell their books. They've all got a good coolness about them-- here's my book, if you want it, fantastic. If not, not loss. (Well, they aren't thinking that, but I am.)

More later, I must meet with 2 other editors in an hour to discuss poems for the next issue of CCR and I have not showered. Nice.



  1. I confess that whenever I mention my book on my blog I cringe a little bit. Still! And it's been four years!

  2. Kelli:

    I am somewhat surprised by the level of anxiety that I’ve detected in recent posts about marketing books. The reason is that I feel like you are pretty much an exemplary author/ambassador for your own work. The public persona I see from reading your blog for a while is that you are always willing to discuss your work, what motivates you and peaks your attention, but at the same time, everything is not just “all about you.” As far as authors go, you are very reader/consumer friendly. There is an intimate connection between you and your public.

    You’ve mentioned several poets that you feel are “the example of how to market their books while still being interesting incredible people & poets.” I am particularly familiar with three of them and I would whole heartedly agree with your assessment. But here’s the thing, the three I’m thinking of are so much like you in their public persona. Your writing seems so honest and your connectivity with others genuine. That makes for a very good fit in marketing because it feels the most natural.

    Your comment about men (authors) maybe being a little heavy handed is interesting to me because most of the contact I’ve had with male authors has been quite the opposite. These have mostly been local poets, but they tend to be more like in shock and amazement that someone would be interested in their book. They tend to avoid showing much enthusiasm for their own work which makes me then wonder why I should be interested if the author isn’t.

    My advise is relax and be yourself, because you seem to be a natural.

  3. Ah, J9! You shouldn't.

    Thanks, Michael. I'm not sure I'm anxious about "marketing" my book but it may seem that way because I've been talking about it lately. I think I have been because Tatyana and I had that great talk about it and how to do it authentically.

    I think what I'm feeling with this book is how to share my book in a more thoughtful way. Also, I process things out loud, to try to understand it.

    When my first book came out, I had no clue, plus my step-dad had just died and I kind of just let everything drop. I want to be more prepared and for me, being more prepared means looking at how people do things and seeing if there are part of it I can use for myself.

    I'md love to hear more about the male poets who have been the opposite of heavy-handed. I think I know the type though. Maybe it's not a male/female thing, but just a personality type. Some people just discount what the do or have grown bored (or seem bored!) by it, some people have a sincere excitement, and some people just push-push-push.

    But thank you for your kind words. It very much appreciate your note!

  4. love the foreplay comparison. :)

    And I think you've done a great job so far--it's clear to readers of the blog that you have a book coming out (so the marketing is getting done), but you also provide interesting content that makes people want to read your posts about your book and writing life, and, one would hope, makes them want to read your book, too.

  5. Kell, you're awesome, loved this.

  6. *blushing here* thanks Kelli!
    i still feel terribly guilty promoting my chapbooks and upcoming book but we sought publication so in some ways i wish we were all better about just owning it :)

    i have heard of almost all of the poets you mentioned whose marketing abilities you admire. i don't think it is necessarily a male or female thing but definitely a personality thing.

    the person i mentioned in my comment who just shoved their book into my hands was a should have known to want some foreplay :)

  7. Hi,

    I respect you a lot, but I do feel this post is a bit judgmental in a way that's unfair. I personally love when someone shoves a book in my face--no joke. Most of the time I haven't heard of the book or poet and I'm glad that I have exposure to them. My attitude: if someone is full of that much conviction about their work, hats off to them! It seems like your talking about issues of etiquette; this is a transgression against the way one should behave. I'm entertained when someone disrupts social codes. Democrats/poets need to do it a lot more often in this scary world of ours.

  8. Steve - I can see what your saying. I love when people are unconventional but there is unconventional and then borderline rude. I don't mind seeing the book but I really don't appreciate it when the person hasn't even introduced themselves or, as in one case, someone interrupted a conversation I was having to ask if I would review their book. I didn't even know who they were. Guess we all have our pet peeves :)

  9. Hi Steve,
    Interesting. As I said, it's probably a least favorite thing of mine. And for me it seems the poets/writers who have been the pushiest with their books are also offering the poorest quality. This has been my experience. I can see why you may appreciate such an act, but for me, it's just not my style or to my liking.

    You're right, I'm definitely talking etiquette in some manner. I'll be polite to them, but I don't have a lot respect for that technique on any level.

    I agree with Jessie here. I like unconventional marketing but I'm not crazy about shameless self-promoting with the exception of people who do it in a humorous way and purposely. The people who bother me tend not to realize they are crossing any lines.

    Thanks for your note. I'm glad to hear someone does like this kind of marketing. Makes me feel if I f-up, I'll still have readers.


  10. Hi,

    One last thing: You'll *always* have me as a reader. I like you a lot.

  11. Thanks, Steve.

    You had me at "always."

  12. Hey! What am I? Chopped liver?

    Yes, those folks you mentioned are doing a great job at blogging, and they probably are more interesting than me. ;-)

  13. Sorry, Collin! I knew there were people I forgot.

    I forgot Diane Lockward and Charles Jensen also. I also didn't mention Victoria Chang, Reb Livingston, and well, honestly, the list goes on. You're in with a good crowd, I just don't have very good memory recall, as you can see... Anyway, you are definitely not chopped liver! ;-)

  14. Thanks for the mention, Kelli! I think it's somehow to do with knowing the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness when promoting one's work.

    It's also probably trusting one's instincts with how far to push the limits, being creative without alienating people and I guess believing in the reasons you do it.

    But what do I know? :-)


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