Haiku Society of America - haiku column 27

Haiku Society of America

.haiku column

Gene MyersThe Haiku Society of America is pleased to host this ongoing column.

.Haiku: a place to share tools available to haiku writers and fellow haiku fans (like how to use Twitter, Facebook and Scribd for building community, self-publishing and marketing). The column will also feature interviews, blog spotlights and occasional multimedia presentations.

Gene Myers

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.haiku column 27

.haiku column number 27 • 9-26-2014

by Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>

The inspiring check for $41.82

Sydell Rosenberg photoclick on the above image for a full size version (JPG)

Out of nowhere, my wife handed me a check for $41.82.

“Looks like people are buying your book,” she said.

I should take a step back. Some years back Haiku North America cofounder Michael Dylan Welch invited me to the Haiku North America conference.

A few days before he suggested I put a book of my poems together to have on hand, so I did. That night I made copies at the local FedEx store. This is the chapbook that people have started buying from Amazon.

These days, only the most dedicated of poetry lovers know what chapbooks are. But initially chapbooks were the books of the common man. (When was the last time that was said of poetry in the U.S.?)

Think Middle Ages. Peddlers went from village to village with their rag paper wares. Chapbooks were almanacs, captured history, told myths and stories. Even folk songs were preserved in these small books. Because they were small and crudely made the common man could afford them. In an era when paper was expensive, chapbooks were sold for a penny or ha'penny.

"If you want to buy, I'm your chap," the chapmen would yell as they went from door to door.

Now think of the Kindle and self-publishing platforms like Scribd, Blurb and Amazon. Oddball poets who toil in obscurity (including yours truly) can now be spread from computer to computer.

If you choose to make your work available for free—as I did on Scribd—you may find it downloaded thousands of times, or you can choose to charge a small fee as I did on Amazon. Even if only a few hundred people buy it you are still sitting pretty as far as the economics of chapbooks are concerned.

Of course all of this puts small presses in a bad spot and I’d be remiss if I didn’t insert a caveat here about Amazon’s undercutting publishing costs so it could become a ubiquitous giant that sells anything and everything (soon to be delivered by drones).

But when poet extraordinaire Jane Hirshfield wanted to share her thoughts on Basho where did she turn? Amazon. And it was a hot seller. Score for the artist following her muse and score for haiku lovers (the most misunderstood poetic form practiced by the most obscure breed of poet).

So there I stood in front of a check for $41.82, my cut from a book I had forgotten I had written. At a price of $.99 and only getting 35 percent of that, that meant about 120 people recently bought my chapbook. It was an encouraging moment, a moment that has lit a fire under my butt. Once again I am culling new poems out of hundreds of pages of notes.

Imagine if I had done some publicity for it on Facebook, my blog or Twitter!? By the way, my poetry chapbook on Amazon is entitled “Night with Too Many Stars” and my Scribd book is “Hands-Eyes-Stars.”

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Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <poetgene@gmail.com>.

• .haiku column number 27 • 9-26-2014 •

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The Haiku Society of America web site featured a Haiku Column written by Gene Myers. Here is the archive of his columns written from 2010-2017

.haiku column number 37 by Gene Myers • 6/1/17

.haiku column number 36 by Gene Myers • 3/7/17

.haiku column number 35 by Gene Myers • 6/20/16

.haiku column number 34 by Gene Myers • 3/21/16

.haiku column number 33 by Gene Myers • 2/10/16

.haiku column number 32 by Gene Myers • 1/6/16

.haiku column number 31 by Gene Myers • 10/29/15

.haiku column number 30 by Gene Myers • 7/9/15

.haiku column number 29 by Gene Myers • 3/23/15

.haiku column number 28 by Gene Myers • 1/15/15

.haiku column number 27 by Gene Myers • 9/26/14

.haiku column number 26 by Gene Myers • 7/14/14

.haiku column number 25 by Gene Myers • 4/14/14

.haiku column number 24 by Gene Myers • 2/10/14

.haiku column number 23 by Gene Myers • 1/2/14

.haiku column number 22 by Gene Myers • 10/7/13

.haiku column number 21 by Gene Myers • 8/25/13

.haiku column number 20 by Gene Myers • 6/30/13

.haiku column number 19 by Gene Myers • 5/18/13

.haiku column number 18 by Gene Myers • 4/7/13

.haiku column number 17 by Gene Myers • 3/10/13

.haiku column number 16 by Gene Myers • 2/9/13

.haiku column number 15 by Gene Myers • 1/2/13

.haiku column number 14 by Gene Myers • 11/18/12

.haiku column number 13 by Gene Myers • 10/11/12

.haiku column number 12 by Gene Myers • 9/27/12

.haiku column number 11 by Gene Myers • 8/26/12

.haiku column number 10 by Gene Myers • 7/19/12

.haiku column number 9 by Gene Myers • 6/17/12

.haiku column number 8 by Gene Myers • 5/19/12

.haiku column number 7 by Gene Myers • 4/16/12

.haiku column number 6 by Gene Myers • 3/16/12

.haiku column number 5 by Gene Myers • 2/12/12

.haiku column number 4 by Gene Myers • 1/23/12

.haiku column number 3 by Gene Myers • 10/17/11

.haiku column number 2 by Gene Myers • 9/12/11

.haiku column number 1 by d. f. tweney • 10/6/10

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