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101 Ways to Make Poems Sell | Reviews

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Writers Bookstall

101 Way to Make Poems Sell

Chris Hamilton-Emery

Salt Publishing, Paperback 156 pages

£10.99

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

'If you really want to figure out how to make your poetry sell, this is the book for you.'

 

 

'you may have spent enormous amounts of time and creative energy on your poetry, but not a single moment on considering how to market it.'

 

 

 

 

'His approach is practical and positive, but also realistic about what can be achieved.'

 

 

'In effect it’s a self-help book for poets, providing 101 suggestions about how develop your career as a poet and sell your work.'

 

If you really want to figure out how to make your poetry sell, this is the book for you. Chris Hamilton-Emery is a poet and also the Publishing Director of Salt Publishing, an innovative British poetry publisher which has excellent sales in the US.

The book provides a hard-hitting, even hard-nosed, approach to the subject and the author does not mince his words: ‘The world of poetry can be a bear pit and, like any industry, it is competitive and has moments of confrontation and even dirty tricks. Be prepared to take some knocks along the way.’

Hamilton-Emery emphasises how important it is to set about submitting your poetry in a businesslike way. Even if it is poetry, the editors on the receiving end still want to see workmanlike submissions. He stresses the importance of working out how to become a player in the poetry world and how you can work at building your profile. 50 dos and don’ts of preparing a submission are listed.

The author acknowledges that you may have spent enormous amounts of time and creative energy on your poetry, but not a single moment on considering how to market it. Given how difficult it is to market any book, poetry demands that the author puts their mind to it; ‘Building your audience is your problem.’ He then shows you how to do this through 41 practical suggestions, which include building mailing lists and email lists; focusing on local reading venues, radio and newspapers; lecturing and reviewing; entering awards and competitions; the whole gamut of readings in a range of venues; and so on. His approach is practical and positive, but also realistic about what can be achieved.

The chapter on ‘Sorting Your Book’ deals with the practical questions of your book cover (‘Nothing is more important in achieving sales success than the cover of your book’), choosing a title and finding endorsements. His view is that: ‘It pays to understand as much about publishing as possible.’ And then he’s on to selling it, with another 45 tips and suggestions on how to go about this, which is really the core of the book.

Whether you’re a novice or a published poet, this book really does offer a lot of useful information. In effect it’s a self-help book for poets, providing 101 suggestions about how develop your career as a poet and sell your work.

If you’re serious about selling your poems, this book is a must.

  Reviewed by Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage.

© Chris Holifield 2007

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