So I took a big step today. Let me give you the backstory.
I started writing poetry when I was a child. I entered contests and often got placed, but didn’t win so much. I had a few things published in local papers and school press and so forth. Nothing to shout about, but nothing too shabby.
Several years ago (around 2005) I started uploading my poetry to a deviantart account. Whilst feedback was scattered, I did get some lovely comments and a substantial amount of likes for some of my work. Even more importantly I never got any negative comments.
Earlier this year I submitted a poem called ‘A House’s Worth’ to the ‘ufyh creates’* contest. It was reblogged a few times and got some likes, and even got a comment saying ‘Not bad for a random on the internet’.
I took some hope from this. It was a nice comment but I had also realised that I was getting a little tired of being just a ‘random on the internet’. This coincided with me starting to write a much greater volume of stuff and getting more feedback than ever on Deviantart. I discussed some of it with my former flatmate. My former flatmate also challenged me to send things off to publishers. And I love a good challenge. So I did.
I had two letters this week from different publishers asking to include poems I had sent to them in anthologies. And a hopeful sounding email from a third. To say that my socks had been knocked off doesn’t cover it.
Something in my writing has clicked in the last year or so, and I feel better about it than I ever have. Who was it who first said in order to write well, you need to write 10,000 words of crap first? I must have written double that and now I feel like what I’m writing is worth reading. But I also believe that my writing tells a story of my life and that to understand it all, you need to read it in sequence. As a collection, rather than a single entities. So I decided I would look at putting together a collection.
I’d heard of self publishing before and I discovered lulu.com and decided that I would give it a go. As much to get hold of a printed and bound copy of the work I am most proud of.
And now … it’s done. I’ve edited the poems, ordered and collected them, uploaded the book and designed the cover that I’ve had in my head for a while. And now ‘Musings’ by Kate Jones (yes, you get my real life name for this entry) is available to buy from lulu.com for £3 in the UK, or $5.29 in the US.
You can buy it here - just in case you were interested. There is a preview available to read a few to see if you like them: http://www.lulu.com/shop/kathryn-jones/musings/paperback/product-20461072.html
So there we are. This year I achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a published poet. My work is going to appear in publishing collections and it is available for purchase in a printed volume, just the way I wanted it to be. I might not get paid very much, but any copies that do sell will give me a few pennies. But that’s not the point. It’s finally out there, to be read by people. And all at once, I feel rather proud, a bit teary, a little emotional and in need of a glass of wine.
*(I have tagged this as ‘ufyh’ as a bit of a thank you to the person who runs the blog, for running the contest and giving me some exposure for my piece. It meant a lot, and has lead to a lot, and I probably wouldn’t have taken this step without it. So Thank You. Not just for helping me unfuck my habitat, but for inspiring me to unfuck my dream project and get it done. Thank You.)
Y’all, let’s see if we can show some support for a fellow unfucker.