“Lost in the Process”

The culmination of twenty years worth of writing poetry afforded me the opportunity to find my own voice all the while honing my craft. Initially, those familiar with the works would praise it but the end game was never to publish a book of poetry, and for all the vanity people outside the writers’ circuit may say is attached to the process, there is an unseamly underbelly contingent on the Internet to which I fell victim.

I know the odds of a bestseller are slim to none with certain publishing houses which cater to the indie market having to set parameters related to that expectation. The “miss factor” for poetry is 20 percent of the established goal and some of these marketing departments offer store credits to try and try again.

Bearing in mind I put my first anthology of poetry out June 21, 2021 after culling 64 from a compendium of hundreds, I started the publishing process.

At the recommendation of Alice Kemp, a friend of mine whose daughter is Gold recording artist Tara Kemp, I went forward. At 46, I am at a place in my life having had so many jobs that did not appeal to me – or I could not hold either through having been fired or “laid off” – that I wanted not to merely entertain the notion of trying to create multiple income streams for myself but succeed at it.

This is a process still in its infancy. I have a father for whom I am caretaker day and night and his Social Security check covers the rent and that is about it which is why through Upwork, Fiverr or WritersWork ,I hope to parlay some of that talent into freelance jobs proofreading or writing custom poetry, but they say necessity is the mother of invention.

I hope that proves to be the case and it pans out in such a way I can be a “poet for hire” and a freelancer because hearkening back to what I said earlier, there is a dark side to just wanting to be a poet.

It is Instagram. Two years ago the platform launched the careers of some great “Instapoets” so I felt the community would be fertile ground to promote the “Speaks for Itself”. Bookstagrammers, some of whose efforts are in question or some who have stolen thousands of dollars only 3 months into the term of the release have left me with not only a sour taste in my mouth but appallingly disappointed that regulation or vetting by Instagram is non-existent and they are likely getting away with this to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars amidst the harvesting.

Not everyone would fall prey to this, however a dollar figure I am too ashamed to admit – much less to myself after the fact – was sunk into this book.

Certain Bookstagrammers used my words and actions against me practically blackmailing or threatening to derail the progress of my book if I did not hire them.

This is the Internet – the wild west of e-commerce and I should have known better, but I really want to make my own mark and maybe one day when my days have passed those words in the book will be treasured.

Still, the customer is always right. Some unbalanced Bookstagrammers make a living out of strong arming so if I say I am going to work with you one day but the deal is not finalized, I change my mind there, go with someone else, there are no binding contracts nor legalities that should make one susceptible to intimidation tactics -mind you they do not threaten violence, just your reputation as an author and your book’s reputation as they actively connect with brass at Amazon.com protesting the validity of reviews which results in your book’s sales – what little there are – being halted until, apparently I am told, the Bookstagrammer in question rescinds the complaint.

Something that people would call my pipe-dream became a cautionary tale before I even realized it. I have practical reasons for wanting this to succeed still which is why I have partnered with two or three actual marketing houses, but even as the financial burden I put on myself and my family is solely my responsibility, the hard sales and abuse tactics need to stop.

This is solely my opinion based on my experience and I have also collaborated with some great ones there and cannot speak to the veracity and efforts of all of them.

See you all soon.

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