This is a pretty straight forward project to publish a print and ebook version of my new collection, "A Bruise On Light". I'll give you a bit of back story about my experiences in the book world, and why I'm moving away from the traditional route and back to self publishing. I got my start in self publishing when I first began performing, 1999. I put out a number of chapbooks in my first 6 years as a way to help offset the costs of touring. In the beginning there was quite a bit of hustle going on; a lot of selling zines and chapbooks to raise enough money to get to the next city on the tour. The shows themselves often didn’t pay enough to get you to where you needed to be next. In 2005, I caught a number of very lucky breaks in Vancouver. I ended up performing at the Writer’s Fest (virtually unheard of for an unpublished author). I remember my friends and I being snickered at as we sat in the hotel lobby stapling together handmade books. Even the book seller for the fest refused to touch my little hand crafted tomes, and it was suggested that I could sell them our of my bag if there was any interest. The laughter soon stopped as I sold every last copy, and even had people waiting for me to staple together copies for them. I had the very good fortune of meeting someone who would then become a patron of mine for the next several years. Together we published Visiting Hours, my first major collection of poetry, which went on to become a book of the year selection from both The Globe And Mail as well as The Guardian.
The book is currently out of print, but because of demand I put out an ebook version across multiple platforms. The ibook version even has audio of me reading each poem (I plan to add this to the other platforms as the technology expands).
After that we published Stickboy, (a novel in verse) which recieved critical acclaim for its exploration of bullying. Stickboy is currently being adapted into an opera for Vancouver Opera.
After the release of Stickboy I received a number of letters asking when I would be putting out another collection of poems. The manuscript for Our Deathbeds Will Be Thirsty had been ready to go for some time, but I was looking to find a bigger home that would help shoulder the burden of distribution and promotion. The book, which contains the piece To This Day, sat with various publishers for a long while. Eventually it found a home but the wait from 2005 to 2012 felt preposterous to me.
Thankfully, we’re entering a new age where artists now have access to the tools needed to produce their own work, and aren’t tied to a labels, studios or publishers lack of vision. A Bruise On Light is one of those projects that’s been brewing in me for a while, and I’m at a place now where my experiences in publishing have given me the confidence to take the reins. Here’s a sample poem from the collection. The title of the book comes from a poem called “The Student”. This is the audio recording of the piece.
I’ve had a number of successes in my life, most of them due to the incredible fan support I receive. In a world that constantly tells me that there’s no interest in poetry I have to smack my palm to my face and shake my head. I guess that's why folks are tattooing my words onto their bodies
I wouldn’t still be doing this if no one was listening. Here’s a smattering of my work that suggests to me that people are listening, and are wanting poetry in their lives:
I plan to tour the book when it’s finally released (if all goes according to plan I’m looking at a June/July release to coincide with any festival touring this summer). If you take a look through the rewards you’ll see that there’s some good hearted fun involved. Some of them are outlandish and silly, but that’s just because that’s the kind of mood I’m in today. There are a few pretty cool rewards too. One of my favourites is the Our Deathbeds Will Be Thirsty variant pictured here:
This version was never released in North America, and I only have 32 copies available. In a rush to get books out for an Australian tour my previous publisher printed the unedited version of the manuscript, it’s got all kinds of mistakes and omissions. The perfect gift for a collector, or die hard fan. Take a look through what else is being offered, and support the project, or just have a good laugh. Thank you for all of your help thus far. You’ve all helped make my life so incredible.
Risks and challenges
Many of the setbacks that occur from publishing a book come from a lack of planning. A lot of folks think that you can just print the book and voila... you've published a book. That's a bit like saying, "My wife had a baby. I'm a father." Technically true, but missing the point. There's a lot of work that goes into being a father besides donating your share of the genetic material. You gotta get up if the baby starts crying, change diapers, teach them to ride bikes as they get older, help with the homework, awkwardly council him or her through the savage jungle of puberty, and the list goes on. The point is that there are a lot of little things that come up that you will not have thought of. That is, of course, unless you've already had a few kids and know what to expect. I started self publishing in 1999. I put out little stapled together zines and chapbooks because the publishing world didn't see any value in publishing poetry (they still don't). I've worked with other publishers and small presses, and learned what I could. From the smallest details of design (What paper? What font? What binding? Matte or gloss cover? Spot gloss? Elkote? Aqueous Coating?) to the content (Who will edit the book? Who can I trust to proofread?) to the bigger picture of the release (How do I get the book out there? Which publicist is better suited to the project? What's my social media strategy? How do I get a distributor? What will my book release tour look like?) I'm not saying that unforeseen problems won't arise; I'm only saying that I have experience in this field, and I have relationships with others who work in publishing who's expertise I can draw on if needed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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