For those who happened not to notice my sneaky self-promotion at the bottom of my last post, and who don’t follow me on any other social media network, I have an announcement to make. Even though everyone else knows already, so it’s not even news. My second publication is coming this month, and it’s a poetry collection.
This is what it looks like:
Isn’t it gorgeous? Okay, I can’t say that, because I designed it and I’m supposed to love it. But really, the work was done by the photograph. All I had to do was add a title. I mean, I took the photograph too, but… I’ll shut up singing my own praises now.
Anyway, I thought I’d address a few of the questions or concerns that might go through people’s heads when they read this, so here are my responses to your perfectly valid questions.
Wait, you write poems?
Yup. I’ve been writing poetry for years, though I’ll admit that much of the earlier stuff was terrible. I basically wrote a couple of poems a day for about eighteen months, starting just before I turned fourteen – around about the time I began writing novels. It was awful, of course, but I’ve improved over the years! I all but stopped writing anything except prose for a while, but resumed and wrote well over a hundred poems in 2013. I’ve written eight so far this year, too, although it’s a misleading total that gives the impression I write one every day, whereas it’s usually more of an inspiration binge that doesn’t hit again for three days. In short, the answer to your question is yes.
Are they any good?
I hope so. My friends and beta readers like them. I don’t really know what anyone else thinks because I’ve not had an opportunity to ask.
What kind of a collection is it?
An exceedingly creepy one. It’s based on the idea of crossroads and oaths and making deals and desperation, of meeting places between worlds and ideologies and systems of belief, of turning points in history… stuff like that. It probably won’t appeal to people who aren’t interested in the macabre, the grim, or the somewhat gory. I like talking about blood and death a lot.
What it’s not: love poetry. I’ve written plenty of that, but none of it’s in this collection. I might, in the future, release it as a collection on its own, though only with the permission of the people I wrote it about. But this collection is not that.
What it’s also not: anything like St Mallory’s Forever, given that it’s poetry, it’s dark, and it’s not written collaboratively.
Other things it’s not: cheerful, fluffy, amusing, etc etc. Like I said: creepy, macabre, dark. Think myths rather than fairytales, the daoine sidhe rather than flower fairies. Think Loki chained up under the mountain and Aeneas in the underworld and the Morrigan in her role as a goddess of death and destruction. It’s actually a lot more in line with the tone of the novels I usually write, with the exception of The Quiet Ones.
Why should I buy it?
I’m not saying you should. But there are lots of reasons why you might feel disposed to do so. It could be that you like me, or you like my blog, and you want to support me. It could be that you like poetry and reading the work of unknown poets (as opposed to famous ones). It could be that you appreciate the amount of effort I put into creating blog content that I give to you entirely for free and have been aching to throw money in my direction for months but didn’t have an opportunity. It could be that you’re a big fan of demon deals and creepy writing. How do I know?
Now, if you’d asked Why do you want me to buy it? or even Why are you selling this? I’d have given you a different answer. To cut a long and complex story short, I was saving for a harp for two years and I managed to accumulate four hundred pounds, enough to pay half. But the harp I was aiming for turned out to be too good to be true in terms of price, and now I’m going to end up about eight hundred pounds in debt in order to buy one. I had a choice: sell my soul or sell my poetry.
So I’m selling poetry about selling your soul. It seemed appropriate.
This is basically a fundraiser. A literary bake sale. A writer-scout on your doorstep selling poem-cookies so that she can finally realise her dream of buying a harp and metamorphosing into Dee Monaghan from Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament. If you like harps, or you like me, that might be a reason to buy it.
How come you didn’t tell us about this before?
Because even though I’ve been considering this idea since last May or June, before I killed my hands, and originally planned to release a collection in August, that never happened and I only knew about this two days ago. Around the same time that Twitter knew about it. Because, you know, that was when I made the decision to sell things I’d written instead of internal organs.
The cover was designed yesterday (by me). The editing and proofreading is still being done (by me, with help from Charley and my brother). It’s in the process of being formatted. Two of the poems were only written today. So yeah, it’s recent.
I assume it’s self-published, then.
Yes. It’s always been a path I was keeping open and while I don’t think it’s the best option for my novels at this time, it’s certainly well-suited to things like poetry. You’ll struggle to find a home for a collection of poems by an entirely unknown poet with any traditional publisher, and they sell so few that it’s usually not worth the overheads. This was entirely free from my end, and selling even ten copies will earn me more than I currently have in my bank account.
Then again, I currently have £4 in my account, so that’s really not saying much at all.
When is it being released?
Now you’re talking. I don’t have a concrete release date, but barring any delays or disasters it will be on or before January 22nd. (My 18th birthday, hooray.)
What format will it be in?
It’s an e-book. A few people asked me about print copies but the truth is, poetry collections are short, so print-on-demand isn’t really economically viable. They’d end up costing a lot for not much content. An e-book is more practical, a lot cheaper to produce, and the formatting’s easier. Plus, it means I only had to design a front cover, not a wraparound one.
It might be Kindle-only. I don’t know whether I’ll put it in KDP Select (a program that demands exclusivity for 90 days), but I don’t actually know how to upload to other platforms at this stage, so even if it does end up on those, it’ll certainly start out as Kindle only. Sorry about that.
How much will it cost?
£1.99, I think. Which is $3.27 or something. That might change.
But you said it was short! And free for you to produce!
Yeah, I know. It’s also a literary bake sale, remember? Charity cakes are always overpriced, because they’re designed to raise money.
No, but in all seriousness, it’s actually not that short. There are probably going to be around 25 poems in there. One of them is in several parts and is several pages long. I’ve been writing these for years – the earliest in the collection is from 2010. The latest was written this morning. So it might have cost me nothing financially, but it cost me time and effort and love.
I hope you think it’s worth £1.99. If you don’t, then there’s no obligation to buy it.
What’s the photo used in the cover?
It’s a photo I took myself in the Burren in the West of Ireland, just as the sun was going down. I love how it captures the pagan and Christian traditions – it’s a meeting place physically and spiritually. And of course, the fact that it’s sunset is another crossroads, between day and night.
Yeah, I’m pretty proud of it too. I didn’t take it expecting to use it on a book cover, but it happened to work out that way.
Can I use that photo?
Please don’t. Like the things I write, draw, play etc, it’s one of my creations and belongs to me. Of course, if you explain the purpose for which you want to use it and ask me for permission, then I might grant it to you. But probably not.
You know nobody buys poetry these days, right?
Maybe they don’t – though I’ve certainly got some friends and fans who’ve promised to do so, probably just for my sake. However, if I sell five copies I’ve reached five more people and made five books’ worth of royalties more than I would have done if I hadn’t published it. It’s a step in the right direction, in other words, and I’ve nothing to lose by it.
Voila, an explanation for the sudden appearance of a solo publication from Miriam Joy and a breakdown of what exactly it is! I’d be absolutely delighted if you would do me the honour of buying it. It’s been a very long time since I asked you for money in exchange for words I wrote. :)
I’ll keep you updated with things like release dates, places you can find it, and the exact length of the collection (because it grew by two poems today, so may well grow further before I finalise the formatting etc at the end of the week). And I’ll probably be blogging about the symbolism of selling poetry instead of your soul and how the two are interconnected.
Meanwhile, I should get back to final edits and tweaking…