A Review/Shoutout

As you probably know, I’m publishing a poetry collection called Inside a Writer’s Head very soon. One important part of a book or ebook is the cover. I was strapped for time and while I could make my own book cover, I thought I’d be better off hiring someone else to do it.

I’m glad I did!

I worked with Jacob Beman, a fellow Praxian, who designs and sells apparel. He did a fantastic job! He sent me a few different versions of what I said I wanted, then created a second draft based on what I liked. His work was great and he was really nice and helpful the whole time!

Poetry Collection Release Date!

I am excited to announce that I have finished organizing the manuscript for Inside a Writer’s Head! (Check out what I learned about organizing a poetry collection!) I will be releasing the ebook on November 1 and the print book on December 1.

The collection synopsis/blurb:

“Inside a Writer’s Head is a collection of poems… about poems. And writing more generally. What do writer’s think about? What is the writing process like? What is my relationship with inspiration? Alyssa discusses this and more, with seriousness and humor in equal measure throughout this insightful collection.”

If you want an exclusive signed copy of the print book, email me now at alyssachantelwright@gmail.com. These will be extremely limited, so contact me now to secure your copy! I may or may not be able to offer this again in the future, depending on the success of the poetry collection.

 

There will be more on self-publishing, Bookbaby, working with an artist on cover design, etc. in the near future, so check back soon or subscribe to the blog if you are interested in that!

In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions you have about the process or the collection in the comments. 🙂

Organizing a Poetry Collection: What I Learned

As I’m sure you know, I’m hard at work on my upcoming debut poetry collection Inside a Writer’s Head. Since initally deciding to make this collection and amassing all the poems into one Google doc, I’ve learned a few things.

1. Don’t pick categories first.

This might be more relevant to collections that are already topic-specific. Inside a Writer’s Head is a collection of poems written about writing, so they have that theme in common.

I made the mistake of grouping poems together by topics when I was putting them into the Google doc. I had no idea how I wanted the poems arranged when I did this. I didn’t know which poem would open the collection, which would close it. I created buckets without knowing if I’d use them or how many poems would be in each bucket.

This made it harder for me to move forward because the poems were already “organized,” so I wasn’t sure how to “reorganize” them to make a cohesive collection.

2. Do play around with the order.

Move the poems around. Try different poems at the start of the collection, at the end. See what goes together and what you don’t like. What that means will depend on your purposes.

I have a few poems I paired together to create a humorous effect, or because they had a similar implication in some of the lines, or because they gave some clarification to each other.

I’m still not done doing this. I’m much happier with this draft over the previous one, though.

3. Don’t be afraid to cut, combine, or otherwise change the poems in the collection.

I had three poems about my novel-in-progress. They didn’t fit the collection. They would’ve needed some explanation and context and I didn’t want to interrupt the collection and the flow of the poems in order to add that. So I cut them. I didn’t want to, not really, but I did it anyway to improve cohesivity and order.

I had two poems that were very similar thematically, such that they were almost two versions of the same poem. So I made them one poem. A couple other poems needed lines cut or some other changes to be made.

You want the poems to individually be the best they can be. You want the collection as a whole piece to be the best it can be. For that to happen, you will have to make changes and edits. Also, just because you cut lines or a whole poem doesn’t mean you can’t still use it or that it has no merit. But you have to recognize when it doesn’t fit in the collection or the poem.

4. Do make the collection what and how you like it.

This is your piece of art, own it. If you’re not happy with it, it won’t matter how happy everyone else is. Everyone else could think it the best collection in the world, but that won’t make you happy with it.

Take control over your creative product, make it what you want, make it how you want. It’s in your name, you need to own it.

(That’s actually one of my reasons for self-publishing.)

 

I’ve only just finished a second draft. I’m not done crafting the collection, reordering the poems, etc. These are four things I’ve found to be important over the last few days when I moved from draft one to draft two.

For anyone looking to make your own poetry collection, I hope this helps.

If you have any questions about organizing your manuscript, Inside a Writer’s Head, or advice for me, put it in the comments! I’d love to discuss this with you.

Recap(ish): How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

This is more a reflection inspired by this post from Wait But Why that gave the name to this blog post you’re reading now. It’s really long, but I recommend you read it if you haven’t and do your own reflection.

I’ve wanted to write for at least five years now, maybe even closer to seven. The quality and quantity of my writing was drastically different (see Deleted Drafts: The Etaloniy Story for a prime example of this). But I knew I wanted to write. Initially it was a vague, general desire to write and publish books. I only kind of knew what that meant, and didn’t know what that looked like.

As I grew, physically, mentally, and in this desire to write, I developed strong convictions about making money by making art. In traditional publishing, the author makes royalties from sales, but the publishing house makes a lot of money too. The author probably makes a certain dollar amount from each book sale. It’s also crazy hard to get into traditional publishing. You have to find someone who connects with your story and can see it making them money.

That’s not what I wanted. I felt very strongly that if I were going to put in the hard work to write a book (or other sellable writing) that I wanted to make the money from my efforts if there were any money to be had from them. It would be my intellectual property being sold, it belongs to me, therefore I should benefit from sales. Also, creative control over my work is important to me. The cover image and all the contents. I don’t want to cut or add scenes I don’t want in order to get published.

This lead to the conclusion that I would self-publish. Even if I sell fewer books as a result, even if I don’t become as widely known, I care about my writing being mine more.

I have such a compulsion to write, even if it doesn’t become my career. I will keep doing it. I want to make it my career, at least partially, if I can. To do that, I joined a freelance site, opened commissions, and next month I’m publishing a poetry collection.

Poetry Collection Update

I last discussed my poetry collection in August. I tried working on it a few times and didn’t know where to start.

At the time, I had a basic grouping of poems based on similar topics under the larger topic of writing about writing.

Now, two months later, I’m hard at work to finish editing and publish the collection in or by November.

Inside a Writer’s Head is a collection about the ups and downs of being a writer, facing writer’s block, and moving toward goals.

I need your help to make this happen. I can do the editing and the formatting just fine. That only takes time. Self-publishing services cost money. After publishing the collection I plan to market it on Facebook and Twitter. That also costs money.

For that reason, I started a GoFundMe page and I’m open to commissions. If you can’t donate or commission me, please like and/or share this Facebook post so I can reach more people.

Thank you all for reading this and helping me make Inside a Writer’s Head a reality.