Showing posts with label marketing your book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing your book. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Marketing/Selling a Poetry Book: 3 Ideas

Unfortunately, poetry can be a hard sell...

especially to audiences who don't read it because they think it is stuffy or impossible to understand. 

My book, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014) came out 19 months ago, but it is just now picking up speed from a marketing perspective. What have I learned? Here are three ideas you might try:

1. Belong to special interest groups on Facebook or other social media. I don't really know much about social media except Facebook (FB) and LinkedIn. But I have found FB to be invaluable. I belong to poetry groups where I've made connections with poets and editors who have blogged about my book/poems and/or published reviews or interviews with me. See number 2 for other opportunities that resulted from FB. 

Me at a reading from 

Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems

2. Grab every opportunity to read from your book. Besides the usual poetry reading opportunities and open mics, I have read at a senior citizen's residential community, a women's event at a synagogue (a connection made through my neighborhood's FB, though I'm not Jewish), and a professional women's networking luncheon (also a neighborhood FB connection).

3. Promote yourself as a subject matter expert, and as such, find opportunities to guest blog for national publications. Your subject could be writing, which would be fine. But because my book is the story of my divorce and healing, I wanted to reach a broader audience, one that doesn't necessarily read poetry. I was prompted to do this because people kept telling me that my book helped them and that they bought it for friends who were going through divorce.  I found a way to reach non-writer audiences by connecting with divorce groups on FB and reaching out to the editors with my idea of sharing my story -- each article I wrote would include a poem and the true story of how the poem came about. said yes, so I have posted three articles now. They were the first divorce related publication on the internet -- 17,000 people follow them on Twitter, and their FB page has 6300 likes. 

And... the exciting thing is that my last article was picked up by Huffington Post and re-published in the divorce section of their online news site. Their site has 79 million unique monthly users. I don't know how many book sales this will result in (I know of 2 that happened immediately), but I'm happy for the wide reach, and if I can help people who are suffering, that's a wonderful thing. Secondly, if I can promote poetry (in general, not just mine) to an audience who thinks they don't like poetry and change a few people's minds about that... then I've done a good thing for all poets, and that makes me very happy.

Here's a link to the Huffing Post article: Forgiving the Other Woman

Good luck to you with your writing and the promoting of your work!

Untying the Knot by Karen Paul Holmes is a "courageous, deeply human" book, according to internationally known poet, Thomas Lux, told with "grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity." Available on Amazon 


Karen's website


Karen's poetry Facebook page

Monday, November 30, 2015

Writers and poets seem to have one question these days. NCWN-West will answer on December 12, 2015 at a Panel Discussion in Hayesville, NC.

Dad in hat
Wally Avett
Deanna Klingel

“How do I get my writing published?” And then they have another question. “How do I sell my book?”

We hope to have some answers for them on Saturday, December 12, 2015 from 1 – 3 p.m. at Moss Memorial Library, 26 Anderson Street, Hayesville, NC.  No charge to attend.

We will have a panel of three novelists and me, Glenda Beall. Cherokee County resident, Wally Avett, journalist and author of four novels, Deanna Klingel, of Sapphire, NC, author of nine books for young and young at heart readers, and Tom Davis, who lives in western NC, an author who also owns Old Mountain Press. Each of these writers will have a story to tell about their publishing experiences and the way they promote their writing careers.

Glenda Beall, moderator of the panel discussion

Recently I asked Scott Owens, well-published poet and teacher from Hickory, NC to share his publishing experiences and his ideas on marketing and publishing. He publishes a new book of poems about every two years. His latest is from Main Street Rag Press. 

Scott Douglas, owner of Main Street Rag Press, was generous with his answers to questions I posed to him on these topics. He has built his small press into a well-established business with some of the best poets on his author list. He once told me that he publishes books for people he is confident are good readers who can promote their books. That is one thing a writer will not get from a small press – book promotion. They don’t have the staff or time to do that. It is up to the author to build a readership and promote his work.

Kevin Watson, founder of Press 53, in Winston-Salem, NC  answered my questions as well and gave me great insight into what it takes for a small press to accept your manuscript and publish your book. 

Press 53, which opened in 2005, quickly began earning a reputation as a quality publishing house of short fiction and poetry collections.

With all the information from Scott Owens, Main Street Rag and Press 53, I will be able to speak to those who want to publish poetry books as well as short fiction.

Today, writers are often in a hurry to get their first book out to the public. They can do this by paying for the publishing or printing themselves. Tom Davis helps people self-publish, and his website fully explains what a writer needs to know about that process.

We ask that everyone hold their questions until the end when we will have a question and answer session. Nothing is more irritating to the audience than people who interrupt the speakers with personal questions.

We will have a short break when audience members can talk with the panelists.

We hope all local writers will mark December 12, 2015 on their calendar. Our speakers will have their books for sale and will be happy to sign them for you.

This event is sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network—West, a program of the state literary organization, the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


From Blue Pencil Editing

Lauren questions Wendy Burt-Thomas, editor, writer, mentor and teacher.

I excerpted a small part of her interview here because she speaks to a matter I have harped on for two years.

Lauren: You've been a mentor, coach, or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don’t get published?

Wendy Burt-Thomas replies:
Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uninformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when they write "the end" but writing is only half of the process. I've always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published.

I'd rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

Freelance writer/editor Wendy Burt-Thomas's third book is The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters.

Visit Wendy's site to learn more about her. If you have a writing-related question, you can post it to