The following review of my poetry chapbook taking shots alone was published in Poets’ Quarterly’s October 2013 issue. It was written by John McCarthy. If you’d like a free copy fill out an order form here and I will send you one.
taking shots alone is a two part, genuine and honest, upchuck of 21st century expression. “[I’m] hoping that somehow I make it important for you to know me…” is how the second book concludes. These quick poetic vignettes speak to the all-too- real quarter-life crisis that affects Generation Z. taking shots alone is the essence of a million tweets boiled down to their poetic truth. Every day we sign onto social networks to make it known that we are known fighters against the impermanence of our own existence. Continue reading
I was very happy with the amount of people that were willing to read my poetry. A quick count… more than 40 people have read or own a copy of taking shots alone. To the best of my knowledge, these people have not died. In fact, I’d argue their life has been a little bit better after reading my poetry. So you should too! 🙂
The self-promotion part of the post now over, I am truly humbled and excited that my friends both near and far have felt compelled and willing to share in this experience with me. My first chapbook, and a series at that. It is very overwhelming the amount of support I have received so far.
My very talented friend Carmen put together a video of me talking about taking shots alone, but mostly saying the word ‘like’ (I’m not letting myself live that down, so that one day I can actually stop saying that word.)
The following is a gallery of some of the feedback I’ve received about my chapbook. Testimonials, if you will:
It’s always great to hear these things from you guys, so I hope I continue to see the #TSA or #TSA2 hashtag on Instagram.
This week I went to Staples and got the cardstock paper to make some covers for the chapbooks, and that was a success. The man there was very helpful and he cut me 30 copies of TSA1 and 15 of TSA 2 for $4 ($2 per cut). Each copy of taking shots alone, as I hope you all know, was hand crafted by me. Collated, stapled, folded, each part of the production process. However, it feels great that I have reached the point that I’d like to call ‘optimized production.’
From this point forward, I will continue to print them out 3 to a page in a collated PDF document of 26 pages (thirteen leaves). At the rate of ~45 chapbooks for $4, I am spending just under $0.09 to produce each one. Tomorrow I will figure out at the post office if these slightly heavier mailpieces will still cost $0.66 to mail.
COMING UP: I am looking forward to a poetry reading I’m attending on Tuesday. It will be the first opportunity that I will have to perform my work, and actually hand out some free copies afterward. Another thing to look forward to is *drumroll* SUBMISSION SEASON! Now that I actually have a print manuscript I can submit these chapbooks to publications. More to come.
A while back I read Steve Roggenbuck’s very detailed procedure for his own self-publishing adventure. It was very informative and I liked the fact that he has such an open opinion with regard to the Creative Commons and Public Domain.
It got me thinking about what I really wanted out of this project, going on two years after I started it. taking shots alone originated from one of my writing practices of jotting down my poetic impulses, expecting to revisit these ideas and form them into developed pieces. I liked the immediate nature of taking shots alone, aiming to capture the poesy of the moment. taking shots alone 2 is an evolved version of this same idea. Poems come from somewhere, and if they’re not written down immediately, valuable inspiration is often lost. I think both of these chapbooks somehow play with these themes of the value of the present moment.
There is one poem in taking shots alone 2 that I think sums up the experience perfectly, “5. When I write a poem, I think to myself, / ‘Well, no one cares about this moment. / But I promise if I don’t tell you, / you all missed out.'”
I don’t want anyone to miss out. That’s why I decided to give out these poems for free. I am working at a university this summer, and am allotted a certain amount of printing balance and access to all the materials that I would need to follow Roggenbuck’s steps and get these poems out there.
Likewise, I knew it would take a lot of startup money. I have sold very few paperback copies of taking shots alone, and make about $0.80 per copy. Barely anything. I used that to help fund the cost of mailing these out. I bought a pack of 40 envelopes for $3.19 from CVS to get started as well. The post office told me that it would cost $0.66 to send an envelope with taking shots alone 1 & 2 enclosed.
Even though my initial thought was to have my readers help pay for that cost, less than a dollar to mail these out, Steve told me that it would make more sense to front the cost myself. In the first two hours of advertising this giveaway, I have 10 orders for free copies. That’s more people than have read TSA at all. I could already see this becoming a little more profitable, in terms of getting my name out there. In the near future, I plan to buy some cardstock paper and make more sturdy copies of the chapbooks available. (At the risk of raising the mailing price.)
More updates in the next week. Please continue to support!
You guys should read and comment on this piece I wrote! Let me know what you think.
Haha, it’s crazy how old things become new again in a new context. Something from an old generation popping up again becoming popular in later years.
N’Sync – It’s Gonna Be Me
The Meme generation meets the Pop generation.