Today is my eighteenth birthday. Adulthood: the ability to set my Goodreads profile to public, have control of the AdSense account linked to my YouTube channel, and the obligation to pay for interlibrary loans. Hooray.
(I mean, I get that there’s the whole drinking thing, but I don’t drink alcohol, so that’s kind of irrelevant. And I guess there’s a bunch of other stuff, but none of it really interests me.)
Last night, I published a poetry collection. If you, like me, couldn’t sleep or you’re in another timezone, you might have seen the midnight Twitter launch party that happened, mostly consisting of me flailing and a couple of people buying the book. And by a couple I genuinely mean, like, two.
Fun story: I was proofreading yesterday and I felt so ill because of food poisoning / stomach bug / whatever it is that’s wrong with me that it took me about five passes to notice I signed the introduction with the wrong name. It’s not like I only use Miriam Joy for writing – I use it everywhere online and often in real life, too. So why did I suddenly use my legal surname? No idea. I’m more embarrassed that it took me so long to notice.
It’s like that time with St Mall’s where we’d proofread half a dozen times and I stayed up til half one on a school night to finish proofing (because hey, nobody else was doing it) and then when the first print-on-demand copies came out, there were two chapter twelves and none of us knew why. At least I caught this one – hopefully there are no other errors in it that I missed. If I did, forgive me because I felt truly dreadful, and alert me promptly so that I can fix them.
I have a dream for this poetry collection. It’s not an ambitious dream, nor does it involve numerous fictional characters and the formula for time travel like some of my actual sleep-dreams, but it’s a dream.
I would like to sell eighteen copies.
Eighteen? you say. Not eighteen hundred or eighteen thousand? You published a book and you want to sell eighteen copies? Are you kidding?
Dude, it’s poetry. No, I’m not kidding. I would like to sell eighteen copies.
The fact is, for an unknown, self-published, debut poet, sales are likely to be practically nil. Nobody buys poetry unless they know and like the poet or they’re obliged to study it for school and when you’re me, there are very few people who fall into that first category (because of how few people have actually read my poems) and nobody in the second. If you think about it, eighteen’s kind of a lofty goal. I mean, yeah, I’d love to surpass it and that would be wonderful, but that’s my target.
The only way I can do it is if eighteen of you buy it, though. Well, sixteen, since two people already did. None of you know how many other people have bought it before you, so half of you are going to think, “Oh, well, someone else will buy it, I’m sure enough people read this blog that I don’t need to be one of the sixteen.”
But if everybody takes that approach, then who will be the sixteen? Who will make up the magic total?
I’ve chosen eighteen because today is my birthday, and I can use it to guilt-trip you into buying it as a present for me. Really, that’s my entire marketing plan. I mean, I can’t see how it can go wrong: you spend two quid and get a collection of creepy poems to read, I get publishing cred and royalties to put towards my harp fund. Win-win scenario, right?
That only works if you’re actually prepared to spend two pounds, though. In my post explaining Crossroads Poetry I covered the whole topic of “why do you want money”, “why does it cost so much for a short collection”, and “why should I give you my money”, so I shouldn’t need to go over that again. However, I’m going to make this dream even bigger. This is the daylight equivalent of throwing in that weird locational shift that makes you unsure where you are even though your dream-brain thinks you’re at school:
I would like to sell eighteen copies by the end of the week. Today is Wednesday, so that gives us five days, or thereabouts. I can hear you already: come on, Miriam, you said this was a lofty goal, why the time pressure? Well, because it won’t be my birthday forever, you know, and it feels more like a present if you do it promptly. Obviously. Do keep up. Also because a harp fund waits for no man, and the more poetry I sell, the less debt I will be in at the end of all this.
Another fun story: Amazon calculates that the collection has approximately 64 pages. The number 64 is my second favourite (my favourite is its square, 4096, and my third favourite its square root, 8), and this makes me inordinately happy. I’m very glad I didn’t add the last poem that I was dithering about a couple of days ago.
Now, I get it if you don’t have access to a Kindle or even a Kindle app on a phone or tablet or computer (though really? Not even an app?) and I’m sorry that it’s not, currently, available on any other platform. It’s actually in KDP Select at the moment, which means I couldn’t upload it elsewhere even if I knew how – and I don’t.
However, location should not be a barrier, and here are all the Amazon links I have for it, regardless of whether I actually have any readers in these places, because I like to make it as easy as possible for people to give me money.
Go forth and make my birthday awesome. Especially as (1) I’m really ill and am only just beginning to recover and have missed three days of school and the opportunity to see any of my friends on my birthday or go out for dinner with my family so please take pity on me and (2) the harp thing means I didn’t really get many presents, just some socks and stuff, since that’s my main gift, so please make me happy:
I don’t even know what some of these abbreviations mean. Sheesh, Amazon is everywhere.
Thanks guys! You’re all awesome.