Poetry book: moving forward, looking back


So far the book I’m preparing to self-publish of my poems and a few essays and photographs is going well. I have the poems selected, my dedication, acknowledgements and a foreward written. I’m going to request some editorial help shortly, as I feel it’s always good to have another set of eyes going over my work.

In my writing group, Jon refers to feedback being very important to seek out and allow room for. I think especially when getting ready to publish something and hoping people might purchase it, that’s the least I can do.

Working with the template provided by CreateSpace is really easy, but formatting a book of poetry has its challenges. With line breaks and errant punctuation marks, and the addition of photographs and essays, I’ve had to rework the copy a few times, going over and over it with a fine-tooth comb.

Still, I enjoy the work and wind up focusing on it for hours to the neglect of almost everything else.

This whole process is taking me back to my days working as a copy editor and desktop publisher for a tv listings company. Before on-screen cable and satellite tv guides, people like me sat in cubicles and flowed text in and out of Quark Xpress, a desktop publishing software that I’m not sure even exists anymore. Such was my job for several years, and I can’t really complain. I learned a lot and acquired some really useful skills I can still employ today.

Eventually I got so good at it, I could do eight hours worth of work in five. The rest of my evenings usually went smoothly.

Last week in writing group Jon’s editor came to speak with us. She discussed the different roles and jobs of an editor (she’s freelance now), a profession I thought at one time might be a natural extension for me when I worked in tv listings. It was so interesting to hear how it really becomes a partnership between the writer and the editor to make a book come to life, how the editor can see things that  make the whole better that the writer often cannot. Like me she’d been an English major, but with aspirations toward teaching.

I liked writing too much, however, to simply sit around and edit the work of other people forever. So later on (after a short flirtation with advertising and graphic design) I changed direction and went into nursing instead, writing from then on only for myself.

Thankfully, not much has changed in desktop publishing. If anything, it’s even easier than I remember. I love choosing fonts and selecting the size of the type; the task of getting a poem to fit on one page and still read like the others is an oddly enjoyable challenge. So nerdy, I know. And of course I love looking through all my photographs, picking out which ones I think reflect best the words by which they appear.

For any aspiring self-publishers out there, I strongly encourage you to move forward. Even if the cost becomes a factor (which of course it is, but it’s less expensive than you’d think), it’s still good practice to think about getting ready to show your work to others. As I do with every post on this blog, it gets easier and easier to put work out in to the world, letting others hear your voice.

More updates to come…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s