So we have two new pamphlets at last!
One is a debut – Robbie Burton’s Someone Else’s Street. One of the poems in it keeps sticking in my mind and I woke thinking about it.
It’s ‘Dawn, Lizard Point’, in which the poet looks out through a ‘picture window’ to sea. She sees, briefly, in lighthouse beam, a man fiercely paddling a canoe through the waves. Then he disappears into the mist.
I keep seeing that man in my mind’s eye, and this in turn reminds me how poems are often like clues. They focus on something we once saw or heard or sensed, something slight at the time, but it sticks in the memory. It seems like a clue (a clue to what’s really going on—or a symbol of it).
Someone Else’s Street has a number of clue poems in it. Even individual lines can be like that. ‘When fat rain pockles the pond...’. There’s a delicious clue if ever there was one.
And Robbie’s pamphlet has a number of mysterious connections with the other one published at the same time, Jennifer Copley’s Some Couples—which was originally to have been titled just Couples, until I recalled a Valley Press publication by Michael Stewart with this very title. So it had to change to Some Couples, and thus two pamphlets at the same time begin with ‘Some’.
There are other synchronicities. Among the poems included, Jennifer has ‘Cellar’; Robbie has ‘Coal Cellar’. Where Jennifer has ‘Some Couples’, Robbie has ‘Uncoupled’. Robbie’s glimpse of the man at Lizard Point is paralleled by Jennifer’s ‘Fleswick Bay’ where she finds ‘a bunch of fresh freesias / wedged in the cliff with a note— / I miss you, I love you. Louise.’
So, yes, more clues from Jennifer. A line that sticks in my head is ‘She was stuck in her life and couldn’t climb out’. But this is a poet with haunting phrases that follow you around—like ‘her mouth that wouldn’t say goodbye’ and—perhaps even my favourite—‘the badger known as Graham’. Tiny stories. Odd angles. Jennifer Copley sets off in a natural conversational tone but can end almost anywhere.
I also woke this morning thinking about my post-pamphlet list of tasks, and whether I’d covered them all, so I thought I’d share them. Useful for those thinking about publishing, and I’m always hoping more people will.
Also a reminder of the practical side of all of this: it’s not just poetry here, you know. It’s packing and planning and punctuating and parcelling and processing and posting, and puffing and panting our way through the waves.
Scan cover and save in suitable format for use on website etc
Upload the pamphlet details, ISB number and cover scan to Nielsen book data so it can be ordered through book shops & at same time keep my own record
Get flyers printed
Create shop page with pamphlet details for sale
Create poet’s page on website (or update existing page if it’s a second publication)
Add book details to Amazon inventory
Write about new pamphlet on blog and say something I haven’t already said on a) the back jacket b) the flyer c) the shop page or d) the newsletter
Tweet and Facebook the blog link
Update ‘publications in print’ list with new publications, remove any that are sold out and upload to website
Put aside 6 publisher copies in the box in the roof
Put aside copies for entry to Michael Marks etc
Post the free author copies and some fliers to author
Send out the first review copies
Send out gift copies to those and such as those
Send out legal deposit copies to Boston Spa and Agency for Legal Deposit Libraries
Send copy to Poetry Library at Southbank
Send copy to Scottish Poetry Library
Pay the printer
Pay the artist for the graphic on the cover
Publish the shop page created earlier
Supply early orders that come in through website
Find space under the stairs for the new boxes of pamphlets and tell Matt they won’t be there forever
Organise mailshot to postal subscribers to tell them about the pamphlets (order more envelopes, stamps etc)
Write newsletter for mailshot and print 350 copies
Organise electronic mailshot: put the electronic documents in the right place on the website
Do electronic notification for online only subscribers
Send out electronic news about the new pamphlets to people who signed up on email list on the home page
Help publicise launch event if there is one
Remind the author about review suggestions
Collect up all the drafts and versions and sixteen cover designs, and flyer copies and letters and paper records associated with this pamphlet, put them in a labelled cardboard folder with one final printed pamphlet, and file in a box in the roof
Update the accounts
Make a cup of coffee
Start work on the next pamphlet
Caption: The publisher's grandmother's day card