Will anyone help you promote your work?

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What a fantastic reading tonight at the Annenberg Beach House with Dana Gioia, Jenny Factor and Rex Wilder and opera singer Linda Jackson. The air was cool, the place was packed and the music and poet trembled in the air like candle flames. Over a hundred people there. It was great.

I’m interested in the poetry world and how difficult it is to get anyone to do something for you. Maybe it’s the whole literary world. Basically, writers are solitary people who work alone. It isn’t easy to get them to come out of their cave and talk to anyone let alone actually doing anything for anyone. But the fact is that if you are going to get an agent, a reading, a blurb, even getting someone to read your work is not easy.

Poetry is not something people make money on. Much of literature is not going to be a money making activity. So, you are hoping that someone will want to independently help you with getting your work out there into the world.

Think of your work as a helpless baby; you need a group of people to help you raise that child. You need teachers and coaches, a doctor, a few babysitters, maybe even some grandparents. That’s how your book is. Just birthing the baby is not enough. It must grow.

I have one person who really wants to help me get my work out there. But, I’m sleeping with that person and in fact, I’m married to him.

It’s not easy to assemble a team of people who can help you. But, in all seriousness, the best way to get people to want to help you with your work is to help other people. No one is just going to come along and say, it’s so important that your work get out into the world. Let me put aside what I’m doing and help you.

Well, to be honest, I’ve done that. I’ve helped a lot of people get published and get tenured jobs and so on. Unfortunately, these people do not turn around and say, Oh, Kate, is there anything I can do for you or for Red Hen Press? Some of them don’t even promote their own work.

So, I’m kidding when I say that helping other people is going to make them want to help you. That’s actually not true.

What do you do to get help in moving your baby forward? In getting someone to pay attention to your work?

There is no answer to this. You are lucky to get one person to help you. Most of the time you are on your own.

Mark and I help each other with our writing and getting our work out there. You’re lucky if you have one person to help you. Be nice to that one person.

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Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m going to go make him some blueberry pancakes right now!


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