A Book of Poetry, a Bad Back, and Being Back

To be truthful no one really looks much at this website when I haven’t put up a post, so no one will have noticed that I haven’t posted since the last week of April. And there is a good reason for this.

I spent most of April completing a lot of work I had saved on my computer. It was work I was always on the fence about, and felt the best thing to do would be to get it as good as it could be and just give it its freedom.

Around the end of April I realised that I had a few hard nuts left to crack, that were going to need a lot of editing, and everything else I had was handwritten and didn’t fit in with the plan I had of unburdening my hard drive. So I stopped posting.

I then spent a few weeks working on some offline writing projects, including a very long ghost story, that’s become a bigger thing. More on that later. I then decided to get down to the hard work that was a long time coming, as I had promised myself that I would self-publish my first book of poetry by my birthday in mid July.

I didn’t think it would take that much time but I started early and it’s a good thing I did, because if choosing the poems and editing them wasn’t hard enough, I also had to learn how to format a poetry book.

I used Amazon’s KDP self-publishing platform to publish my book and while I found it a little daunting it was pretty simple to use. Though despite what people might think, and what I might have thought, if you want your book to look good you have to put in a lot of work to your manuscript.

I spent a lot of time googling font sizes, types, and watching youtube videos about how to use KDP’s create cover software. I also had to learn about things like page bleed and the gutter in a book manuscript.

The end result was that I completed my book by my birthday but ruined my already bad back by leaning over my desk. So I took a couple of weeks off, I then took another couple of weeks off simply because I was on holiday.

But now I’m back, not that anyone noticed I was gone. And am wondering, in hindsight, whether I would have been better finishing all that work in April and then scheduling it to run in this time I was busy on the book. But you can always find the sanest route through something once you’re done with it.

So that’s my story of how I made my first official book; Strange Times. Not that I’ve sold a huge number of copies; 16 in fact. And I know that only 12 people are responsible for those sales. So I’m not rolling in success, but considering my initial aim was to sell about 20 copies, I haven’t done too badly. The poems did originally feature on this website so I suppose I can’t blame people for not wanting to pay to read them again.

If you want a copy yourself you can buy direct from Amazon or if you prefer to support high street book sellers you can buy it from Waterstones. If you want to order a copy from your local independent (which I can fully understand, while I wouldn’t be able to fathom why you would put that amount of effort into getting a copy of my book) you can use the ISBN off the websites to order it.

Creating Strange Times has been an interesting exploration of what it means to try and take myself seriously, and also of how much hard work I’m willing to put in. I also hope it’s a bit of a bookend to the times when I let myself down, when it came to putting my work here on the website, or showing it to other people.

The next step is to create the kindle version of the book. I’ll start posting poems and short stories again. I have a few bigger writing projects I’m working on and I will also be bringing out another book at Christmas. Until then, this is normal service resuming. Nice to see you again.

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