Hello. I'm Alexander Velky. I write poems and publish them myself (like some kind of publisher or something) as Doubtist Books.
In 2013 I decided my first collection was ready. I had no interest in doing the merry dance of seeking publication through an existing poetry publisher; they take years and years and years, and largely produce awful products (even when the actual poems are good). So I decided to follow my brain, and go DIY. (DIM, I guess.)
But I couldn't afford the ISBNs and printing costs upfront, so I used Kickstarter to raise funds to print 200 books.
That went well. Better than I expected, in fact. I don't necessarily plan to crowdfund everything I publish in future, but for now it's still by far the most practical way of gauging interest, drumming up excitement about the projects, and allowing me to offer more interesting, inventive and diverse buying options to anyone out there who wants these books to exist.
Two years is a long time in poetry (especially when you're a full-time dad and part-time copywriter on the side). Although most of this collection was already written (and the theme of history/truth was taking shape) way back in 2013, I've learned a bit about the industry, and the craft, and the scene since then.
I've been shortlisted in 3 major international poetry competitions (all 3 of those poems are in this book, incidentally). I've taken a correspondence course in poetry, led by a mega-famous (well, poet-famous) poet; I've done a day's workshopping on performing poetry at RADA studios; I've curated two wonderful multimedia podcasts featuring some of my favourite poets and musicians; I've started a spin-off multimedia painting-and-poetry project that nobody (including me) fully understands at this point in time; and I've even ventured out of the shed, where I recorded a performance of every poem from the last book, and started doing some open-mic slots at local(ish) nights here in West Wales.
That said, my new book "Rhymes for all times" very much picks up where the first left off. I'm very proud of what I achieved with Has Doubts Vol 1, and as long as there's enough interest (i.e. £600's worth) I'll print, publish and promote Vol 2, and then carry on work on volumes 3, 4 and 6, which are all shaping up at varying speeds. (Oddly, I currently have no idea what volume 5 will be...) The plan is for it to be a 6-part series: each volume with a set theme, addressed in the space of 33 poems.
Because the theme of this book is (broadly) "history" I wanted the extra rewards to be historically themed. Last time the book was about art, so I did some art: Illustrations, handwritten poems, and an epic 2-years-in-the-making painting of the inside of my shed.
This time I'm offering a companion pamphlet called "Versification without occasion" (see what I did there?) which will serve both as a historical account of the book's composition, and as an alternative history: including, as it does, numerous poems that could have gone into the book, but in the end, for one reason or another, did not. (A lot of commas in that last sentence. Sorry.)
I'm also offering unique hand-painted flags of stateless nations (entities from an alternative history of our own world) with eulogising nationalist sonnets handwritten on the back. This side-project extends the "history/truth" theme to that of state mythologies and nationalism.
Beyond all that, my grand historical gesture to mark the launch of this book is that I am declaring the house I live in (in West Wales) to be independent from the rest of the UK by announcing the formation of a new sovereign entity: the Most Serene Republic of Landskeria. And I plan to make that declaration official by reading the state poem (or "national anthem", also one of the poems in this book) at a book launch in London on December the first, 2015. (How's that for "doing" history?)
If you can get to London on that date and you've bought a book, you + 1 guest are very welcome. If I make any surplus here I'll buy the guests some wine to celebrate.
If I fail to raise the funds, I don't really know what I'll do. I'll either scrap the project entirely or wait until I can afford to fund it myself, and print fewer copies. The world probably won't end. But I will be grumpy.
TL;DR: New poetry book. You can read some here. Please fund my art.
Alexander Velky, 2015
Risks and challenges
The book is ready to send to the printers. There'll be one final proofreading of the finished article, and it should be ready well in advance of the December publication date. Having embarked upon this exact process before, I am aware of nothing that should delay it.
The custom-made rewards might well take a little longer than the books, so please consider this when making your choice. You will get the book as soon as it's ready, but if you ask me to paint an especially complicated flag it might require numerous coats, and therefore several iterations of drying for the oil paints. (I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)