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How I published my first poetry book

Do you think there is no chance to make your poetry book known? Do you feel disappointed because you haven't found an editor interested in your book who can help you publish it? Have you thought that your poetic art is a matter of the past? This article will give you some ideas to change this reality or, at least, the way to approach it.

In some moment I even asked myself if poetry certainly had remained in history with the diversification and diffusion of new ways of expression which have gained space in the preference of current generations. But I realized that poetry is in one of its best moments.

Maybe you are asking yourself why I affirm this, taking into account that in bookstores and fairs the most preferred genre is not precisely the poetry. A deeper analysis will allow you to find that many people read good poetry and like to listen to its recitation.

Since my very first years of experience with poetry, barely in my teens, I dreamed with publishing my first book. My hurry got calm as the time passed, giving me the opportunity to improve the quality of my writings and to have more productions to choose from. I made public a part of my work in academic assignments, self-led newsletters, spaces of meeting with friends and the Web. In 2006, I opened my blog “Cristino Alberto Gómez”, which two years later would be awarded as a Distinguished Blog of Dominican Literature in the framework of the XI International Book Fair Santo Domingo 2008. In 2007, my poem “Ha vuelto el agua” (Water had come back) was selected for the Poetry Award at EARTH University

These achievements, as well as the amazing opportunity of sharing with people who loved poetry, motivated me to seriously make the decision to publish my writings. First I reviewed the manuscripts several times, discarding some texts and improving the correction of other poems.

The scheme of traditional editors who got interested in books of recognised authors and published them providing a 3 to 5 percent of the copies to the author seemed unfair to me, or at least somewhat unfeasible for a new author. I consulted many Websites about editors and tips to publish, but everything showed to be hard for a new author. I had two ways: to desist declaring myself a loser or to believe in the project and find my own manner. All the time this process took was essential to better enter to the literary world, participate in diverse spaces of poetry, including social gatherings, related clubs in the university, recitals, interviews, anthologies, opportunities to share and improve.

For 2010, the decision was taken without turning back. During my search, I found some demand printing editors which facilitated publication using the Web. Through these spaces, the author can take all the necessary steps until the colocation of his/her book in the online bookstore at low cost; the system prints the books as they are bought. These platforms are diverse, but for me Lulu.com has worked very well.

I must confess that at the beginning I had some doubts about this kind of tools, but I spent very few time to get convinced about its reliability. Two weeks and some days later, I had one of the most exciting experiences of my life, which published authors know: to get in contact with the first copy of one's book.

The first 125 copies of “Ha vuelto el agua” sold out very quickly with a presentation of the book in Orton Library, CATIE, Costa Rica, its distribution in the Costa Rican bookstores and a participation of the author in the International Poetry Festival and other literary activities. More and more copies are being sold every year through Amazon.com and tens of other online stores, thanks to the editor's distribution service globalREACH. Many online bookstores and libraries have decided to integrate the book to their catalogs, facilitating its acquisition by interested readers.

This first book have been followed by “Quítame las horas” (Take my hours away), “Sudores de cafetal” (Coffee's sweat) and “Arrancado de raíz” (Uprooted). My new project is the publication, as well with traditional editor as through Lulu.com, of my new book Yo dije el amor” (I said love). The massive edition will allow more readers in my contry Dominican Republic) to can access this new poetic work, the same that in the international scope will be by the demand printing edition.

From this process I have learned that the fulfillment of the dream of publishing your first poetry book, and other books, and having success will depend basically on: (1) the quality of your writing, based in; reading, studying the literary theory, writing always, reviewing, improving what you've written, selecting; (2) the firmness in the decision, accompanied by the willingness of the author to take his/her project ahead. It is important to know that it is possible, and to always keep in mind the verses of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer:
“There may not be poets, but always
there will be poetry.
  • Make sure that your work has literary quality before publishing it and remember that every writer is mainly a good reader. Review the language use and the style of your writing. Have no doubt to ask for help and opinion from writers with experience in publication.
  • Remember: there are many authors publishing, and readers usually prefer to buy the book about which they have some reference. Moreover, Internet has much information, so it is your task to broad the target public beyond your family members and close friends.
  • Offer the best. If you hesitate about including or excluding some of your texts, make the necessary improvements or do not publish it. Your readers deserve to read a good book.
  • Be patient but decided. Processes take time and sometimes the advance from one step to the next one can seem impossible, but with determination and effort you will achieve, one step at a time, your dream.
  • Do not forget the difference between writing a good book and selling it well. Both components are important, reason why you should first of all generate a good work and then market it (take into consideration The 4 P's of marketing).
  • Do not depreciate the brilliant opportunity of publishing with an editor in your country, if you have this possibility. It can be costly, but it's worth. I am publishing my book with Editora Búho and it is being a wonderful and promising experience
  • First of all, put in perspective what you want and get very informed before making the decision.
Finally, I want to thank you for reading this writing which I hope to be useful for you in the definition of the next steps for your poetic project. Good luck, and do not hesitate to invite me to the presentation!

Cristino Alberto Gómez
November 25th, 2014

Adquiera Ha vuelto el agua, por Cristino Alberto Gómez (@CristinoAlberto)
"Su título ya es un poema por sí mismo, y es optimismo, pues el agua sólo vuelve si vuelve la naturaleza con sus bendiciones. (...)“Ha vuelto el agua” es un poemario a la ruralidad bendita, a la picardía, a la ausencia que supone presencia pronta, a la esperanza, a la singularidad de volver al origen, de tener orgullo por lo sencillo y profundo." (Ronnie de Camino)