Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why I say a book is self-published

There seems to be some kind of annoyance going around among more traditionally-published authors over indie and self-published authors who are promoting their books as “self-published.” It appears that self-publishing is gaining in popularity among writers and that authors of self-published books are working harder to get some footing in today’s competitive market. Many self-published authors have actually been successful with their books and it seems like other self-published authors hope to be counted among that group, as well. Also, some authors who are not self-published tend to enjoy looking down on the self-published author because they “stuck it out” despite rejection or got the readership their fellow author could not.

Myself, I do not market my book as “self-published” – it is a POETRY book and I therefore market it as a poetry book – but if someone asked me who published it, then I will answer that the book is self-published. Also, when I talk about my efforts in self-publishing a book, or announce a new book that I myself got into print, I will note it is self-published. But I am not doing this with any hopes of gaining any kind of response or rewards from anyone.

I am ONLY being upfront with people about it.

I make no attempt to try to pretend that my own self-published books have been published by a traditional, POD or indie publisher. I am not going to hide under some unknown name and act like my book was selected for publication by someone else. And I am not going to tout my book as self-published hoping to gain any favor, attention or recognition among my peers.

My decision to self-publish my poetry books came out of a terrible experience with an indie publisher who reneged on her contract with me. I also took notice of several indie and traditional publishers closing their doors to poetry book submissions. So I decided I wanted to have complete control over what happens with my poetry books. The best way to make that happen was to self-publish them.

And my noting a book is self-published when it comes out is only my attempt to be straight with people about how this book came about. I am the one who wrote it, yes, but I am also the one who decided to publish it, hire an editor, hire a cover designer and upload the final, formatted document to a printing service. I am the one who did ALL of that and nobody else. It was all on me!

And I don’t mind noting as much. I’m going to be completely honest about this book and say, yes, it IS a self-published book, and leave it at that. I can only hope that the book will be judged by its contents and not for the fact that it is self-published, but unfortunately, there are book snobs out there who refuse to give any self-published book a chance.

All the same, I don’t promote my book as a self-published book. I say it’s a poetry book or a children’s book. But if they ask who published it, I’ll say it’s self-published. This is NOT my attempt to get better treatment, attention, notice, a pat on the back or to get a hundred thousand followers on Twitter. This is only me being honest about how the book was published.  That’s all it is and all it ever will be.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Coping with Loss: Poems for the Grieving Heart puts grief into verse

One thing I often notice as I go through my poems is that I often write poems on one particular theme. Another thing I have done with the poetry writing is writing a poem in memory of someone who has passed. I have done this even with people who I never knew (such as Michael Landon or Princess Diana).

Then, one day, as I was going over my poems, I realized that there was one particular theme there which I have not published a book on: Grief. Or, coping with the loss of a loved one. I wrote a few poems after my mom died, then again after my dad passed away. I have mourned the loss of someone right along with a relative and have experienced the sadness of others who have lost someone. I put all of these feelings and expressions down into poems. I even wrote poems after my dogs died.

So, I decided one day that I would put together a poetry book on such a theme. The poems would be expressions of the different stages of grief (denial, depression, etc.) as well as a poem written specifically to honor someone (a brother, spouse, child, etc.).

My new poetry book, Poems for the Grieving Heart, is a result of that idea. I spent some time gathering poems I had written that fit on this theme, as well as writing other ones as the situation struck. I still grieve the loss of my mother and occasionally I felt compelled to write about it as a poem.

But some of the poems in this book were not written because of my own personal experience in losing someone. They are poems I wrote when someone I knew lost someone, too. A friend lost her brother, so I wrote a poem about losing your brother. One of my sisters had a miscarriage a long time ago, so I wrote a poem about losing an unborn child. One of my aunts lost her sister, so I wrote about losing a sister. A relative's son died from a drug overdose, so I wrote about losing a loved one to addiction. A relative was prevented from saying goodbye to his mother before she passed away, so I wrote about such a situation. A friend lost her husband some time ago and I was told something about how she is coping with her loss and adapting to life without him that inspired me to write the poem with those very words (“A New Normal”).

Some of the poems in this book were written when certain people died. I wrote the poem “A Light Gone Out Too Soon” after my cousin, Mark, passed away. The poem “Just One More Time” was written after my friend, Mack, died. And the poem “Dear Mother, My Mother” was written after my mom passed away.

I know that we all experience grief in different ways, and I hope that there is something in this book that someone can appreciate or relate to. Grief is a hard subject to fully grasp because we are all affected by it differently and, for some, it’s better not to discuss how we are feeling or what we are thinking about as we mourn the loss of someone. But this book is my attempt to capture how we experience grief and, ultimately, how we find a way to continue on in life when someone we care about is no longer there to live it with us.

Many thanks to Denise Bartlett for editing this poetry book, and to Charlotte Holley for designing such a lovely cover.

Here is the book blurb:

Grief changes people and it takes people through a myriad of emotions, feelings and experiences. From the angst of losing a loved one to the helplessness, shock, confusion and sadness of loss, grief can have lasting emotional effects that can turn a person's world inside out and upside down. The poems in this book are a reflection of the grieving experience and put into words our attempts to honor and remember those we have lost.

And here is the buy link.

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