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. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

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

68 thoughts on “What now? Getting published?”

  1. I completely agree!!This is exactly how I feel sometimes, wanting perfection, and always worried about what other people want, what kind of background and decoration to give my posts, what images to add so that people will be captivated…honestly, I’ve been thinking more about the presentation than the poems πŸ˜‚

  2. Your perspective is well-thought through, David. Without a doubt, you are an excellent poet but I understand your reasons for being reluctant to go through the publishing process. I hope that, whichever route you follow, you retain the motivation and joy that you already have in your poetry.

  3. David, you address valid points about publishing (your) poetry. The only advice I have to offer is do what feels right for you and what excites and motivates you. You are prolific in this forum and through your engaging blog you enrich your life and the lives of your readers. Publishing three poetry collections with my illustrator daughter was a labor of love and connected us during the pandemic. πŸ’•

      1. Cindy is a sweet name, but it isn’t mine. πŸ˜‰

        Thank you, David. πŸ’— It was a rewarding experience and now we have the memories and tangible products of our labor. I cannot offer you advice on sales and marketing because I am still learning, but I can tell you it is a wonderful feeling to share our creations with others. Follow your heart. Start with one publication submission and go from there. I recommend subscribing to Poets & Writers magazine.

  4. kaykuala

    Submitting to publications is a good start but it is in reality ‘a blogging act at another venue’ In time there’ll be a variety of gems lying in many places in cyberspace left unattended perhaps eventually forgotten. What is needed is not to write (they are already written) just compile them into a book (in fact many books eventually) Readers targetted are those not in the blogging community and they are out there in the thousands. Best wishes, David!

    Hank

  5. i would like to publish but i still cant’ figure out how to do it… [and of course, i make reference to #APoemADay] should i use the tag…[ΒΏ?]

    1. Coco, the way that I personally do it is to schedule one poem every day on my Twitter account, and I tag it on Twitter with #APoemADay (because there are other poets on Twitter who are using that tag).

      Then, each Friday, I post that last week’s worth of 7 Twitter poems to this WordPress blog!

      Does that make sense?

      ❀
      David

  6. David…
    How do I say this?
    What you’ve written- while it may help and touch others- is primarily for YOU. It helped YOU to find your way through your grief, honor your father, appreciate and acknowledge the many ways- great and small- his life and death have shaped and changed YOU.

    Sharing that journey for the sake of sharing it…is a beautiful and touching thing. But I sense (correct me if I’m wrong) that you feel (as I do with my photography) that sharing it on a larger scale for the intent of “recognition” (for lack of a better term) somehow…changes what you’ve written?

    Basically, I guess I’m saying I understand your reasoning in having no real desire to publish your homage to your father, to share your personal journey in losing a parent on a larger scale. It’s been suggested to me as well- about several different things I’ve written about.

    But somehow…it simply wouldn’t be the SAME, would it?

    Peace,
    Tina

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