What now? Getting published?

Publishing a book?

The Skeptic’s Kaddish?

Many friends and family have suggested that I publish my Kaddish Journey as a book, and I do very much like the idea of touching other mourners, of providing others with some measure of support and guidance.

However, as I’ve said before, I think the idea is impractical because the series was written to be read online – full of hyperlinks, YouTube videos, color-coded text, etc. Essentially, I could, perhaps, write a book about writing the Skeptic’s Kaddish, but the Skeptic’s Kaddish itself is not a book. And… somehow, I feel unready or maybe even entirely unable to do that.

At least in part, I suppose, this has to do with not wanting to relive that experience, now that is is more than two years behind me. Also, it has to do with the Jewish’ness of the Skeptic’s Kaddish… or, to be more precise, it has to do with my Jewish’ness… The Skeptic’s Kaddish was my very personal way of honoring my dead father – it’s not something that I think would work for most Jews, let alone for gentiles.

Really, my ultimate point in the Skeptic’s Kaddish is that people should, each in our individual way(s), lean upon our ancestors’ and communities’ respective traditions to honor our departed loved ones. In so doing, we can process our losses, rather than leaving our feelings bottled up inside.

See? I just summarized my entire year of mourning in two sentences. I don’t need a book for that.

A book of poetry?

So… I guess I could write a book of poetry – apparently, that’s all the rage among WordPress writers. Compose book, promote book, sell book…. easy peasy.

But I’ve got at least three problems with that:

Technical skills

Never having formatted a book (or published one), there will definitely be a learning curve for me to surmount when I decided to publish a book.

However, this is the least of my concerns. I happen to be adept at formatting and editing – I do a lot of that for work, and I do a lot of that here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish. Sure, it’ll be a challenge – but it won’t be a major challenge… and there are plenty of resources to guide me through the process.

Insecurity

A somewhat greater concern for me is my insecurity. I would be lying if told you that it doesn’t get in my way. Now, this isn’t something unique to me by any stretch of the imagination – many burgeoning creators doubt themselves. Honestly, there’s not much for me to say about this, other than that I own it:

I am insecure – I admit it; and I can move past it.

Perfectionism

By perfectionism, I’m not speaking about the quality of my poetry, per se.

See, I enjoy both writing and reading my own poetry, and I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from other writers, which is has been incredibly heartening (thank you!).

The issue, rather, is that I have no interest in publishing a book that never sees the light of day. Let’s say I publish a book – how many people would buy it? 5? 50? 500? To be honest, it’s hard for me to imagine that 500 people would buy it – that seems like a stretch to me… but, for the sake of argument, let’s go with that number. That’s not especially successful.

The reality is that publishing a book with the intent to actually sell it requires a lot of promotion, with which I have no experience . The only people who know about my poetry are my friends, my family, and [some of] the WordPress poetry community. Those are the only people who would be interested in purchasing a book of my poems… and, honestly, people can find my poetry here – online at the Skeptic’s Kaddish. So what would the point of publishing be, exactly?


Conclusion: submit to poetry magazines

While I was busy cranking out poems for my 2021 #APoemADay challenge and responding to weekly d’Verse prompts, I had very little bandwidth do deal with other writing-related goals.

I’ve yet to submit any pieces for publication, but a lot of my fellow blogger-poets seem to be receiving warm welcomes at Spillwords.com… so perhaps I should start there. 🤷‍♂️

Should you have any advice in this arena, please let me know – I’m game to hear it!

76 thoughts on “What now? Getting published?”

  1. Several online publishing sites have step by step guides to how to format / produce / illustrate and price your books. You might want to try mainstream publishers too and get lots of feedback and constructive criticism. You are undoubtedly a great writer – go for it

  2. Sounds like a productive process, deciding on what to do with writing, as you write. I’ve published a number of books and I don’t worry much about selling. They are available if and when someone wants one, but it’s satisfying just knowing the books are. . .books! Amazon has a fairly easy publishing process, then you let it go. Keep writing, David.

  3. Your writing is brilliant. Writing books – even publishing them – is easy. But selling them after they are published takes constant hard work and sacrifice. God bless you in your writing no matter in which form you share it.

    1. selling them after they are published takes constant hard work and sacrifice

      Stephanie – thank you for your feedback! This is exactly my impression, and I am worried that I will not be able to dedicate enough time and energy to selling my books at this stage… That’s my main hesitancy, I think.


      David

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