A Creative Way to Present Poetry

There's no question that poetry is one of the hardest types of writing to sell and few publishers are willing to take it on. But there are still poets among us; writers who have things on their hearts they need to get out, that they simply want to share. So what to do?

Get creative.

All authors need to do this to sell and promote effectively, but poets even more so probably because their audience is harder to pinpoint. Another challenge in marketing is that poetry is often misunderstood and tough for many readers to appreciate.

Two creative ideas crossed my desk in the last couple of weeks.

The first comes from a publisher and involves an intriguing idea of selling poetry via audio. There's a new website coming too. Read about it at Book Business Magazine

You may have read about the second one because the authors have promoted it for a couple of different holidays this year. Here's the current info:

Award-winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball have developed a new concept for inexpensive holiday gifts--an idea for poetic greetings apart from greeting cards.

They suggest a real chapbook of poetry and have released the first two in a series in time for the holidays. So far the series includes Cherished Pulse (for anyone you love) with artwork from California artist Vicki Thomas and She Wore Emerald Then (for mothers on your gift list) with photographs by May Lattanzio. New booklets are coming for Father's Day and for Christmas 2010.

The small books, a tradition in the poetry world since Elizabethan times, are priced to compete with greeting cards. The poets' idea is that, in general, cards from the rack seldom say what we'd like and that a small book of poetry would be more thoughtful.

Both Cherished Pulse and She Wore Emerald Then may be ordered from Amazon

Do you write poetry? How have you promoted it?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


More Interesting Stats from a Top Selling Author- If You Can Stomach Them

There aren't many places (at least in my experience) to find out real sales numbers in publishing. There are plenty of people who'll tell you to be traditionally published to make the most of your book and many others who'll say to go independent to do the same. Most do not back up what they say with any kind of hard data.

Author Lynn Viehl is one who has chosen to put it all out there even though it opens her up to both praise and criticism. Her current book is on a New York Times fiction best seller list and I find several of her numbers and stats quite interesting.

For example, the whole allowing of returns still boggles my mind. It continues to amaze me that this business model still exists (though at least some are starting to figure out it's probably not such a great idea). Here are the numbers for that for just her current statement:

Total sales for the novel now stand at 89,142 copies, minus returns of 27,479, for net sales of 61,663 copies.

That's twenty seven thousand books that have been paid to be shipped, shelved, un-shelved, boxed up again and shipped again. The saddest part is they've also all likely been destroyed, which means all the trees and chemicals used to make them were a complete waste of time, effort and resources. Anybody else's stomach turn just a little at that? In my opinion, there simply has to be a better way.

In addition to the above, Viehl also gives information about her income, which many readers/writers will also find surprising and enlightening. Again, I really appreciate her honesty and wish more publishers would do this kind of thing so the rest of us can be better educated in our decision making along the way.

Here's the link to her Genreality blog. Know of anyone else who is this open about their stats?

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett


Book Marketing Opportunity for Fiction Authors

I wanted to share the announcement below with you for two reasons. First, it looks like a good idea and I know my friend Carolyn wouldn't be involved in anything she didn't truly believe in. Second, it's a good example of authors supporting other authors. Carolyn shares success stories in her newsletter and I'm on her email media release list so that I can share her news when it fits my readers.

For the most part authors and writers help each other generously. If you aren't tweeting, making notes on Facebook, blogging etc. about other writers events or accomplishments, you're missing some wonderful opportunities just to be a part of a community and to feel good about helping others.
I encourage you to try it, pretty sure you'll be hooked in no time. If you're already doing so, how do you support other authors? Would love to hear your ideas.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

Lillian Cauldwell and Carolyn Howard-Johnson invite authors to participate in a frugal and fabulous reading and cross-promotion adventure

Starting March, 2010.
Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio will feature authors of published books of fiction to join in the first-ever serial weekly literary festival where authors read brief excerpts from their books over PIVTR’s radio network. (Nonfiction and Poetry Weeks will come later in 2010.)

Authors may book a reading on what may be a first-of-its-kind event:
It is only $10 for 10 minutes. Authors may contact lillian.cauldwell@gmail.com before January 15, 2010.
The special will air March 21 thru March 28, 10 to 11 p.m. (New York time) except Wednesday evening when the show starts 10:30 and ends at 11:30 p.m.

Text Lillian at 734-277-2733 Or E-mail: LSaraCauldwell@gmail.com for details!

The planned program also includes:

Authors book reviews will be posted on Carolyn's The New Book Review blog: http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. That blog was recently named to Online Universities 101 Best Blogs for Readers list.

A special authors' page will be created on Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio (www.pivtr.com) Web page.

Lillian will make MP3 streams (html codes) of participating authors' presentations available for $3 each plus shipping. Proceeds from the MP3 streams will go to Mission Socorro and Capuchin Soup Kitchen to help the homeless, migrant workers and recently released prisoners get back on their feet.

Passionate Voices Radio is based on three principles: to market and promote published mid-list and unknown authors to the media; to provide a conduit for voices not otherwise heard in this noisy world; and to provide quality educational and informative content to listeners so they can use it immediately in their spiritual, personal and business lives.

Lillian Cauldwell is an author of one award-winning nonfiction book, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide." She writes multi-cultural paranormal mysteries for mid teens (9 to 14 years) and mentors junior and senior high school students to write their first books. http://lilliancauldwell.com and http://internetvoicesradio.com.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist and poet. She is also the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

The pair plans future reading festivals for poets and writers of nonfiction


Price Wars- Where Will You Buy?

I'm sure you've heard by now, but at least for a short time Walmart, Target and a couple other major stores are selling top books for 9, 8 even as low as $7. And these aren't the little cheap paperbacks you'd expect to be in that price range. Many of the offerings are hardcover books with cover prices closer to the $20 range. T

You may know about the sale, but you may not know they're losing money on every sale. Also, you'll notice I didn't say they're losing money on every customer who buys at these bargain basement prices. They will lose on the few who walk out with just books, but for the rest, the books are what is known as a "loss leader", an item that the store knows it will lose money on (or maybe break even) in hopes that while a customer is there they find plenty of other stuff to buy. Maybe it'll be impulse purchases, maybe it will be "since I'm already here I might as well do the rest of my shopping" kinds of purchases but they're banking on making up the difference somewhere.

As far as other retailers, especially independent bookstores, something else you may not know is that some of them started to plan to stock their stores that way once they heard about the prices. Why would they want to do that when they normally buy at wholesale anyway? Because these prices, though they're retail in all reality, are even better than normal wholesale. For example a normal bookstore owner can purchase at 40% off the cover price so they get a $20 book for $12. Walmart may be selling that same book right now for $7 or 8. Buying them for their own stores sounded like a no-brainer except that Walmart (and the others) figured that out and put a quantity limit on those book purchases. So now what's happening is Walmart is buying at the same price as the other stores, but taking a planned loss of several dollars. There's no way independent or other smaller retailers can possibly keep up with that. In the short term, the little guys lose again.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet about this whole scenario is the situation we face as author/consumers. If you've got books on your holiday shopping list where will you buy?Will you understandably try to save on your own budget and buy at the big box stores, or will you pay a few bucks more at the smaller store you normally patronize? True, we've always been able to find bargains, but this is a whole new realm beyond in many ways.

In one sense, the big stores have made these books almost valueless. We expect to pay only a few dollars at used book sales, but brand new, especially hardcover, has always had a certain expectation of cost. Some people have even been known to save up specifically to buy a hardcover version or present one as a special gift. I'm not sure the same feel is there at the cost of a couple of cups of coffee. Will you support your own industry with the higher price point purchase this time around? Can we afford to? Can we afford not to?

Where does the path lead from here for publishers, distributors, for authors? No one knows just yet because it really is uncharted territory for the most part. One thing that is for sure though is it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett