Learning to promote a poetry book

This is the cover of one of my poetry books, Where the Opium Cactus Grows. It contains most of my earlier poetic output. I used to think my poems were humorous because some of them make me laugh like a loon, but this book made my mother cry. So I don’t really know how to evaluate it.

When I came out with this book I didn’t know much about how any self-published book could be promoted, much less how to do it with a poetry book. I’ve read a lot of how-to-promote-books info since then. But I’ve been shy about applying it to my poetry, because, well, it’s poetry. And as I put the books together myself, I can see all the things I should have done better.

One of the problems is that I need to gain some fans for my blog and social media accounts who like poetry. On Twitter I have been following accounts that tweet haikus and other short poetry. I also have changed the title of my account there to “Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie and cat person.” Which is also the title of my Facebook author page.

One thing I have learned that the self-published authors who gain readers don’t publish just one book and wait for it to sell. You have to keep producing. To that end I am determined to come out with my next poetry book, Waiting for the Poison Shot, sometime this year. To make my life really impossible, I also seem to be committed to a book of found poetry created from the speeches of annoying Left-wing people. I think this will be an anthology with other conservative poets involved.

The main think I believe is that we shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that our poetry books are— poetry. Yeah, some people don’t like poetry. There are also some people that hate romance novels, but that doesn’t stop romance writers from promoting their books. Be brave and find your ‘tribe’— a group of people who actually appreciates your work.

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eggs in a cool place

This is another post in Poets United’s Poetry Pantry. Go to their site to read more.

eggs in a cool place

A stale egg rises in water
fresh eggs are heavy
and sink to the bottom
farewell I gladly bid thee

Eggs should be well covered
and kept in a cool place
wash eggs just before using
thy life is vain and sinful

Eggs should never be boiled
as that renders them tough
they should be cooked
just under the boiling point
I long to be in heaven

In the early spring or fall
when eggs are plentiful at at their best,
pack them away for future use
where they will be rewarded.

1-4-18 (c) Nissa Annakindt

This is an example of found poetry inspired by a poetry book I have just purchased, ‘Mornings Like This’ by Annie Dillard.
My main source was an old cookbook of mine, ‘The Settlement Cook Book’ by Mrs Simon Kander, 1947 edition. The last line in each stanza was from a hymn, Farewell I Gladly Give Thee, (Valet will ich dir geben) written by Valerius Herberger, 1613, translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1863.

Since this is a very newly written poem, some things are uncertain. I don’t really know what I am going to do about capitalizations and punctuations, for example. I don’t really know whether this poem is more than temporary amusement for me. I like to let a poem ‘cook’ for a while before I make final revisions. A lot of hard work ahead, like putting a comma in and then later taking it out. 😉

Buying Poetry Books:

I believe every poet would do well to buy books by other poets— or poetry magazines or anthologies— on a regular basis. We learn more from each poem we write. I bought the Annie Dillard book ‘Mornings Like This’ because it is found poetry, and because I am working on a major poetic project based on found poetry. I didn’t expect much and was quite pleased I was more inspired by it than I ever thought possible.

Future blog post project

I am planning a future blog post with a title ‘How to teach students to hate poetry.’ My contention is that school poetry lessons in most schools do a lot to make students hate poetry, rather than like it or read it. Since I suspect today’s blog post may be visited by a number of poets and poetry lovers, I would welcome your opinions on the teaching of poetry.

Cement Shrouds

CONTENT WARNING: POETRY

I used to share a poem on this blog on Sundays, but haven’t done it for ages. Today that will change. Since I’ve been sorting through my old poems in the process of assembling my third poetry book, I’ve been more conscious of my lack of poetry postings. I know poetry seems to offend so many people— I lost a Twitter follower over it. At least, one that I know about who actually told me to quit Tweeting poetry as if I’m going to shape my Twitter life to fit him, ONE follower.

I have been writing quite a bit of minimalist poetry in recent years. Haiku, of course. And Collom lunes. There are two kinds of lunes, both more suitable for school children’s poem writing projects than the haiku, which has a long history and a lot of rules— a haiku is not just counting syllables.

The Collom lune counts words, not syllables, in an 3-5-3 pattern. Learn more about regular lunes and Collom lunes here: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poets/poetic-form-lune

This seems like a lot of introduction for a tiny little poem, doesn’t it? Anyway, here it is. Duck!

Cement Shrouds

the teacher uses
cement shrouds to keep us
lined up proper

 

Shared on Poets United

How to promote your book in a Facebook group

I have been the admin for a couple of Facebook groups for writers for some time now. I have seen a lot of desperate writers posting book promotions. Most of these book promotions are very, very bad. Most would be bad in any context. But some would be good as a paid ad but are fatal as a posting in a Facebook group.

Today I had a fellow post something that started with the words PRESS RELEASE. He lost most of us at the words PRESS RELEASE. Press releases are to be sent to the press. In a Facebook group, what is wanted are posts.

Here are some rules for an effective Facebook group post promoting your book:

First, interact with the group like a person, not a book promoter. Make friends. Offer encouragement and advice to others. Since your time is limited, choose carefully which groups to interact in. There are some groups out there that are only visited by book authors on days when they have a book promotion to post. Avoid those groups. No one is going there to find new books to read! Find groups where conversations are going on. Ideally, not just groups of writers, but groups of readers.

Write a post for your book that reads like part of a conversation. Avoid phrases like ‘best-seller’, ‘Makes a great Christmas gift.’ When you compose your post, think like a friend talking to friends. You don’t go to a cocktail party and say ‘Ocean Waves’ is one of the great novels of our day. Don’t miss it.’ You might say. ‘I have a new book out. It’s called ‘Ocean Waves’ and it’s about a guy who leaves his wife to become a fish.’

Your post should not sound like back cover copy, either. That’s not personal. It’s not meant to be personal. The fellow who reads your book’s back cover in a store or your book description online isn’t looking for personal. People in Facebook groups, however, are.

Promoting your book in a Facebook group is best done piece by piece. When you get a book cover designed, post it. “This is the book cover for my new book. What do you think?” When you compose a short book description, post it. “This is my book description. What do you think?”

Being in a group means you will get feedback. Don’t ignore all feedback. If dozens of people think your book cover is amateur hour, think on getting a better one. If they say your book description is too generic, write another one.

Respect a group’s policy about book promotions. Many writing groups don’t allow this because they don’t want to choke off writing discussion and networking. Read the posts in such a group for a while and see how other writers in the group mention their books without being guilty of posting a book promo. Especially watch what the group admin does. A mere mention of your book in passing in a really good writing group will get you more sales than posting a PRESS RELEASE in a hundred groups.

When a group does allow book promotions, make sure you are reading and interacting with the other posts before you make one of your own. Even consider buying and reading some other books.

Facebook groups are not there for your book promotion activity. If you are going to use them for that purpose, use them wisely. You DON’T want people resolving never to buy the book of that nasty self-promoting writer. You want them to say: ‘Oh, that nice writer who encouraged me when I was about to give up has a new book out. I must buy it, read it and review it at once!’


My shameful self-promotion of the day:
My Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/nissalovescats/
My Facebook group for Christian fiction readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/620983407928009/


You know that annoying pop up thing demanding you  sign up for my newsletter? Well, it now is more meaningful if not less annoying. I sent out my first newsletter. I’m planning to send out another one in January. So I have to think up some ‘inside information’ for the newsletter that I haven’t already blabbed about on the blog!

Murder over mushrooms — plants in Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding? Thinking about plants? Sometimes a plant can play an important role in a science fiction or fantasy novel. Remember the nightlock plant in The Hunger Games.

A feminist-fantasy stereotype is an herb that works exactly the way feminists wish birth control pills would work. To signal even more feminist virtue, it may be accompanied by an herbal version of the morning-after pill or RU-486— something that will do in an unborn child once its life has begun. There are of course no side effects, not even the normal depression that can come with the ending of a pregnancy in even the best circumstances.

Plants are a major food source, even for carnivores like me. And of course to get the eggs, cream and meat I need for my healthy low-carb diet, I have to feed chickens and sheep lots of good plants, such as stinging nettle. Stinging nettle may sting you when fresh, but if you cook stinging nettle plants they are like spinach. Only better tasting.

Dried stinging nettle plants are a good fodder for sheep, goats and other critters that eat grass and hay. My goats and some of my sheep are willing to eat any fresh stinging nettle I pick for them, but they ignore the stinging nettle plants growing in their pens unless I pluck it for them.

My chickens also eat fresh stinging nettle. Right now a big group of my chickens is in a non-movable pen with no access to fresh greens, so they get very excited when I bring them a fresh bunch of stinging nettle.

In my WIP Tiberius Base, plants are a major influence for the people in starships and star bases. Scientific studies show that people who have regular access to plant-rich environments are happier. And so it is customary to provide these plant rich environments.

A human-constructed forest is at the heart of all Terran-flagged starships. Ships’ crews brag about the size and intricacy of their ship’s forest. Star bases have even larger forests, and an actual space city usually has more than one.

Tiberius Base has a larger forest than any other constructed by Terrans so far. It contains a wide variety of trees and plants from both European and Asian environments. Mushrooms spores are well represented in the mix. And this leads to a problem.

Mushrooming is an amazingly popular activity among Terrans in space. The formal food-growing facilities on Terran ships and bases don’t traditionally grow mushrooms and so it is a highly sought-after food. Canned mushrooms are a staple in trading and many worlds without much interplanetary trade have a small facility in which to can mushrooms.

A forester is placed in charge of an artificial forest in a starship or base, but people hiking through the forest for recreation often come upon newly sprouted mushrooms before the forester is aware of them. People often have certain mushroom-rich areas of a forest that they look upon as their personal mushroom-hunting space. The problem arises when more than one person claims the same space.

Usually there are a few rules. Residents of a base or starship have a higher claim to a bit of the local forest than do transients or guests. Well-off people who have a garden area incorporated into their quarters must give way to the lower-income workers. But when 2 people of the same status claim the same mushroom ground, it can get difficult.

There was a famous case of murder over morel mushrooms on one of the older starbases. Since this base was owned by the Menders, an alien race, and Terrans were only using the base with permission, it was quite the scandal. It has since been established that murder over mushrooms, even morel mushrooms, is in no way considered justifiable homicide. It is also customary to grow some morel mushrooms in the cultivation rooms to render them less rare-and-hard-to-come-by.

Another way plants are important to star bases and starships is the provision of Schreber gardens. A Schreber garden is a custom which started in Germany. There are small garden plots provided to those who live in apartments or small houses with no gardening space.

In the spacegoing world, Schreber gardens are provided to anyone living on a space base who do not have a garden area as part of their living quarters. Gardening together with your Schreber garden neighbors is a popular pastime. Even in starships sometimes Schreber garden plots are provided to interested crew men, especially men who are drafted into the service.

Certain drug plants are forbidden crops on any space station or ship, as drug plants may be taboo in our world. Use of drugs for other than medical necessity is considered a sign of weakness, and drug users are likely to be identified and deprived of employment opportunities. However, the usual punishment for a convicted drug user is time spent in a locked-door rehab facility, so at least the convicted have a chance to shake their addictions.

Some plants may be mild spices for one species and deadly drugs for another. This creates conflict when the spice is a beloved one and the users of it don’t want to give it up to help aliens remain drug-free. Sesame seeds are a plant item of this class, but roasting the seeds denatures the drug effect.

WW: A Sci-Fi military must know that it’s the military

Our Worldbuilding Wednesday topic is: Military. More information on the Worldbuilding Wednesday blog hop below.

The one thing your fictional Sci-fi military must do is know that it is the military. None of this crap they put out in the recent Star Trek movies ‘I thought we were explorers.’ What did you think the Enterprise’s phasers and photon torpedoes were there for? What about those military ranks? And the fact that disobeying an order can result in a courtmartial, not just getting fired as in the civilian world?

Star Trek is stupid on these points because it’s a brilliant idea ruled over by whiny Leftists. You can’t expect better from them. That’s why I didn’t bother to watch more than a few minutes of ‘Star Trek Discovery.’ I knew it would suck and it did. So I spend my time seeing if Ice-T could solve the murders of Tupac and Biggie. (I think he needed help from Mariska Hargitay.)

A military uses force for the common good of society. Yes, they kill people. And that’s sad. But when you have an enemy army pouring over your nation’s borders, you need to kill some people to stop it. Probably most of the people you kill will be nice people who are only doing what their government tells them to. But if you don’t want your nation ruled by a Stalin or a Hitler, you will need to get your hands dirty.

A police force also uses force for the common good. Sometimes good police officers shoot and kill a dangerous looking person that turns out to be young, or unarmed. But the problem is that you can’t always tell if that dangerous or defiant guy is young or reaching for a stick of gum instead of a gun. What would happen if officers failed to stop a dangerous-looking guy who went on to kill 10 school kids?

In my WIP Tiberius Base, there is a Fleet which was once answered to the Terran Council. Only the Terran Council disbanded years ago. The Fleet goes on, protecting Terran worlds and doing a little trading on the side to fund themselves. Because they now no longer receive funding from the taxpayers as they once did.

The space city Tiberius Base is owned by Fortunate Dragon Company, which is a part of the Interplanetary People’s Republic. The IPR has a political/economic policy called Alliterism, which has a bad reputation on many worlds. So Fortunate Dragon hires the Fleet to provide people to operate the Base’s weapons, and some to function as a local police force. This requires them to create laws that are a sort of hybrid of what the IPR wants and what the Fleet will stand for.


This has been a post in the Worldbuilding Wednesday blog hop, sponsored by Rebekah Loper. Visit her blog at: https://rebekahloper.com/

Worldbuilding Wednesday: When Darwinism is hidden ‘knowledge’

Wednesday again and time for Rebekah Loper’s Worldbuilding Wednesday blog hop. Visit her blog to learn more or join up.

Today’s topic is knowledge, and that’s a big thing in the world of my WIP Tiberius Base. There is even an interplanetary institution which stores knowledge from various humanoid worlds. But knowledge or perceived knowledge does not always travel well between worlds, languages and cultures.

Take the example of the theory of evolution and its associated philosophy, evolutionism or Darwinism. During the lifetime of Charles Darwin there were humanoid aliens living on Terra, most notably the Menders, who were there to steal horses. They were charmed by Terran cultures and folklore as well. When Darwin’s book was published and got talked about, the Menders thought Darwin’s story of the possible evolution of Man was a charming fable like the Frog Prince. They conflated the two stories and spread it throughout the galaxy that Terran humans thought that their kind originated by someone kissing a frog or an ape— or maybe from an ape kissing a frog.

When Terran humans developed our own science enough to travel in space, Darwinism was often used to mock them as unscientific. Since other intelligent races didn’t have their own theory of evolution and some had been observing for longer than Earth had existed, the theory was quietly excised from scientific training.

However, the life philosophy of evolutionism, where evolution functions as the Blessed Hope of Man, was kept alive by some cultures that had an old-school secularist/Darwinist philosophy. But it was not taught to young school students who might blab about it to aliens. It was something like the secret at the heart of a mystery religion— taught only to those who were properly initiated.

Now I must point out that this controversy is kept alive as an attempt to downgrade Terran humans. Humanoid races are classified into groups by the Interplanetary Humanoid Archive, and only certain groups are considered advanced enough to claim a planet for colonization at the Archive. So most humans pretend not to know about or believe in evolution or evolutionism.

The questions from today’s blog hop theme:

How much does each culture know about your fictional world?

Those involved in the story have a great deal of knowledge, with the exception of the True-Alien Diggers. They are non-humanoid aliens of a class known as Fernal Aliens. They can’t communicate with humanoid either through language or telepathy, they don’t live in our kind of environments and the best humanoid wisdom is to leave Fernal Aliens strictly alone. There is another race of True-Aliens of a type call Bynal Aliens who CAN communicate with humanoids, and they have communication with the Diggers. Or so they say. But it is really not known how much the Diggers know about humanoids and their worlds.

How is that information stored?

Both computer systems and books are used to store knowledge. Some races carve lists of their kings or presidents into stone since that will last longer. The Interplanetary Humanoid Archive tries to keep copies of it all. Information is also stored in archives on humanoid worlds, usually following methods used at the IHA.

How is that information passed on?

This varies from planet to planet and from region to region. Tiberius Base itself does not have formal schools for children because children haven’t been born or imported yet. College level courses are available over computers at the station, and more can be downloaded over the ansible system (interplanetary radio/television/internet). These courses are used by the inhabitants of the Base to upgrade their skills. The main character of the story, Ping, takes a course in the German language to communicate with new workers, and one in the Korean language to impress his Korean girlfriend’s father.

Trade Languages:

Knowledge must be passed on in languages. And learning the language of another humanoid race is much more difficult than learning a different Earth language. The solution that has been developed is to learn a Trade Language. Trade Languages originated on the planet Terra. They are languages which were simplified for international use, and they also proved useful in interplanetary communication. The primary Trade Languages are: Esperanto, Volapuk, and Universalglot. A dialect of Esperanto called Ido is also in use. (These are all real made-up languages. You can google them.) The Interplanetary Humanoid Archive very early on adopted Volupuk as their primary cataloging language. And regretted it, since the moment they got done with that project the language Esperanto was invented which was easier for most humanoids to learn.


So, this has been my random worldbuilding thoughts for this week. I hope it has been of some interest. Feel free to comment— about my worldbuilding or your own!