Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fifteen years of self-publishing and pay-to-publish coming to an end.

First, here's an excerpt from a blog post I wrote over five years ago:
Earlier today (March 24th), I picked up copies of my latest chapbook NEVER MET BUKOWSKI from PIP Printing (have done business with them since 2000) at their Sun Valley, CA location.

I'm still a holdout from the period where poets self-published their own chapbooks (either through the former Kinkos or places like PIP) and sold them to each other at readings. This is not a popular avenue anymore, since a lot of local poets would rather have their books published by small presses instead.

There's a lot of erosion-through-change of the local poetry scene since 2000. Once upon a time, there were quite a few more independent bookstores in LA/OC--and, in several cases, the stores would support local poetry and purchase chapbooks that were self-published and non-barcoded.

Now, there are far fewer independents--and some of those stores mimic the conformity of the local scene in only wanting local poets "established" with small press credits (it can't be just any small poetry press, it has to be the "right" press).

And sometimes, even those local poets don't always make it into these local independent stores with "high standards."

In the past few months, I've put a handful of chapbooks onto Amazon to sell as Kindle e-books.  Almost no response unless I did free promotions.  As coincidence would have it, NEVER MET BUKOWSKI moved the most free copies.

Money was spent to make HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013 happen with Xlibris after it was rejected twice over the years by two different small presses.

With regards to the chapbooks I've self-published, 20 GREATEST HITS: 1997-2004 and the original edition of WICHITA FALLS were the best sellers.

I've had some mild success with free e-books via Smashwords (POEMS BELOW THE LINE) and Scribd (CONSPICUOUS PRESUMPTIONS).

And, locally, I had a few pay-to-get-print-copies chapbooks published with Don Kingfisher Campbell's Palabra Productions imprint.

But it's time for me to be realistic, limit further monetary loss and unsold inventory, and stop the (at times, too-prolific) habit of self-publishing books by various means which began in late 2000.

I'm currently working on the final chapbook titled ONE VERSION OF THE SKY.  It should be available in print form by September.

Thanks to all the people who have bought copies of my chapbooks/books in person, in stores or online.

And thanks to PIP Printing (particularly former employee Sabine Steinmetz for teaching me about formatting) and Don Campbell for delivering quality product.

Hoping future poems of mine will find acceptance by print/online anthologies.

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