In Your Corner : Three Ways to Celebrate YOUR Poetry This National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month!  This poses an interesting challenge for those among us who are poets: while the rest of the world is celebrating the works of poets they admire, writers of poetry must themselves rise to the challenge of becoming the wordsmiths they wish to be.  This challenge is not perhaps specific to April––but it is pushed to the front burner, so to speak.

So what is a poet to do in a month set aside for celebrating poets and what they do?

I have three suggestions:

1. Set yourself a writing challenge.

The first thing to do, as a person dedicated to a specific craft and art form, is to continue working to improve your skill set.  And as my creative writing instructor in college used to say, “You will never be so good at this that you can afford to stop practicing.”  (Which might explain why she gave me her copy of Baking Illustrated, now that I come to think of it.)  Regardless, I’m grateful to her for never letting up, never allowing me to relax into the assumption that I’d learned all I was going to learn and raised the bar as high as it would go.  (I’m also grateful because she introduced me to loose-leaf lapsang souchong tea, but that’s entirely beside the point.)  The old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” is dead wrong.  To strive for perfection is to set ourselves up for failure every time, but to strive for improvement–to challenge ourselves to get better–is worth ten of that.  So set yourself a writing challenge, one that fits your routine and schedule and needs, and use it as an opportunity to hone your form.

2. Go digital.

Many of my friends who went on to be poets–and there are many–have an aversion to social media.  I’m not entirely sure why there’s more of this tendency among my poet friends than among my friends who write prose and nonfiction, and I know that my cohort is not quite a representative statistical sample, but the tendency seems common.  It might have something to do with the intimate nature of poetry–it is, like much writing, a deeply private act that aims to generate a public–or semi-public–product.  So this April, I’d like to challenge you to go digital.  Not just as a person, but as a writer.  Experiment with a variety of social media options–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, Snapchat, and more–and do so as a poet.  Find your readers where they live, and meet them there.

3. Create a following.

But you know, not in a creepy way like in the television show.  Once you’re on social media, take advantage of the opportunity to post snippets of your work, updates from behind the scenes as you write, and generally work to create the cult of personality that surrounds books with that oh-so-important “buzz” factor.  This will help generate interest in your book, once you’re ready to publish–and will form a rock-solid foundation for your marketing strategy.

writing poetry in the woods, national poetry month 2016

If you’re not comfortable projecting yourself as a poet into the digital sphere, that’s okay.  There are reasons for those feelings, for reticence.  I simply hope, in my own small way, to encourage you with this reassurance: your work deserves to be read, and admired.  You are a poet, even if you haven’t yet published your book of poetry.  You’ll get there, in your own time, and when you’re ready.  Most of all, I want you to know that you have a community here who supports you all the way.

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Poetry Styles Explained

April is National Poetry Month. In honor of this, I encourage everyone to try their hand at writing poetry this month, even if you usually shy away from this genre. To help you get started, here is an overview of some of the popular poetry styles.

Ballad

A typical ballad is a plot-driven song with one or more characters and a dramatic ending. This form uses the show, don’t tell approach to writing. Examples include Ballad of the Goodly Fere by Ezra Pound and  The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Blues Poem

This is one of the most popular forms of American poetry. It stems from the African American oral tradition. It often discusses difficult topics. Examples include Riverbank Blues by Sterling A. Brown and The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes.

Epic

An epic is a long, often book-length, narrative in verse form that retells the heroic journey of a single person, or group of persons. One of the most famous examples of an epic is The Odyssey by Homer.

Haiku

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Haikus often focus on images from nature.

Limerick

This form is popular among children’s authors. Limericks are often comical, and they consist of five lines that adhere to a strict rhyme scheme. These poems are easy to memorize. Nursery rhymes are often considered limericks.

Sonnet

The sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. It adheres to one of several rhyme schemes. Two well-known sonnet forms are the Petrachan and the Shakespearean.

To learn more about poetry styles, visit Poets.org. It is an excellent resource for all poets.

I’d love to know, what is your favorite style of poetry?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

5 Ways to Promote Your Book in April

Today’s post is by book marketing industry expert, Kelly Schuknecht.

Book marketing is an ongoing effort.  Here are five ways to promote your book in April:

  1. April is National Poetry Month.  If you have published a book of poetry, this is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of National Poetry Month events.  Visit Poetry.org to find a full list of Poetry Month events.
  2. April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day.  If you are a Children’s book author, call your local library and elementary school(s).  Volunteer to read your book during storytime.
  3. Speaking of libraries, National Library Week is April 10-16.  Contact your local library, offer to donate a free copy of your book.
  4. The London Book Fair takes place April 11-13.  If you have not already made arrangements for your book to be represented this year, consider this opportunity for next year.
  5. April 22nd is Earth Day. If your book is about environment issues (or even if it’s not), contact your local schools and environmental agencies and ask about Earth Day events you can get involved with.  Even if you are not directly promoting your book, you will be doing something to help the environment and networking with individuals who have similar interests.

DISCUSSION: How are you planning to promote YOUR book this month?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT:
Kelly Schuknecht works as the Director of Author Support for Outskirts Press.  In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.