Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shift Happened!

The doldrums are over!  The Boatman's Daughter has taken off, and momentum boosted me to the bottom rung of the publishing scale.  That means a Kindle version too - yippee!  Positively exponential...

I frankly wasn't expecting that, but frankly, most of what has happened during this advance sales period I haven't expected.  Like a day on a boat...

This has been a lesson in Zeitgeist and humility.  The lessons I learned in the Boatyard are serving me well, to navigate this current stream.  

Pushing onto the next rung: 105 copies.    

Why is this important?  

It's all about the pressrun, determined as follows: 

Prepublication sales between 55-104 copies sold = 250 pressrun. Payment = 25 copies.

Prepublication sales between 105-154 copies sold = 500 pressrun. Payment = 50 copies.
Prepublication sales between 155-204 copies sold = 750 pressrun. Payment = 75 copies.
Prepublication sales between 205+ copies sold = 1000 pressrun.  Payment =100 copies  

If you’ve already placed your order, thank you! 

If you forgot, or got stuck in the hamster wheel, were planning to order and haven’t yet, now would be a great time.  You can order with credit card or PayPal online here.  Click, pay and you’re done! 

If you ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW WEBSITE,  email  They will call and take your info over the phone,  process your card, or give info for mail orders.   

42 more pre-orders will double my press-run and my royalty. That’s only 6 a day...
And if you’re at all inclined, tweeting, reposting, sharing, pinning, linking back, or plugging The Boatman's Daughter on your site would help… a lot!  (Buttons are on the sidebar.) Thanks so much.  
Think I can make it in a week?!  Living in the exponential...


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Owning People's Eyeballs

Interesting how much has changed in two years...  

In my first book marketing foray, I just caught the tail end of the Facebook frenzy.  The migration off FB went almost as rapidly as those 8 weeks of advance sales.  

My publisher informed me that since 75% of book sales happen online, I'd better bone up.  That sent me to The Idiot's Guide of Social Media Marketing, where I had just enough time to read, ping and tweet Poems from the Boatyard.  I even managed a You Tube.  It was kind of fun, kind of dizzying.      

Two years later, it's a different landscape.  Bored with Facebook, we're on Pinterest, Google and Instagram. Blogs have clogged the web.  Ping is gone, replaced by Hoot Suite.  Everything seems a quest to own people's eyeballs. 

I do like learning new things, but my two-year-old Idiot's Guide (which I never did finish) is almost obsolete.  Shift happens.  (If you read no further on this blog, watch that video!)  

A capsule version: Bill Gates earns about $250 per second...160 billion emails are sent daily...97% of which are the time it takes you to read this blog, 375 babies will have been born in India.  To reach a target audience of 50 million, it take two years on Facebook.  

I have 13 days to go and 14 copies of The Boatman's Daughter--so a lot can happen!  What I need to happen: sell 14 more copies to go to print.

What I want to happen: sell 205.  Why?  Then my print run shoots up to 1000, of which I receive 100 copies.  Hey we live in exponential times!  This is a modest goal!

Order now before shift happens! You can order The Boatman's Daughter with credit card or PayPal online here.  

Hanging on for the ride...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day

Everyone has a father.  But even the best of fathers are “flawed and imperfect.”--to quote that alien invader, wiping out Capt. Kirk’s crew.   

What was your father like?  What kind of fathering did you have?  

Our earthly fathers have defined and shaped us, whether they were absent or present.  Mean or doting.  Wall St. broker or Boatman. 

“Many view father as ‘a competitive and authoritative force that wants to keep the individual from succeeding.  It begins in the nursery with the father competing with the child for the mother’s attention.  It is why one of the most important events in an adolescent male’s life is the first time he honestly is victorious over his father at something, anything, even something as trivial as a game.’”--Thomas Smail, The Forgotten Father

Well, I’m not male, but I grew up in a male world.  And this book has captured my imagination for years, as I watched the men around me.  I return to it regularly.  It has articulated something I still don’t understand completely, but I believe is a profound truth (which is probably why I don’t understand it; this depth of mystery is often perceived in the spirit but eludes the mind).  

The Forgotten Father, required reading for a course I took, merged the psychology of ‘father’ with the theology of ‘Father.’  This sentence dropped like a depth charge into my being: “...‘father’ is nothing less than a quintessential concentration of the central conviction out of which Jesus lived and worked.”

No one I knew was living out of such a conviction!  In American culture, ‘father’ is understood as clueless and bumbling, the butt of ridicule.  If not absent entirely.  We are awash in a fatherless culture.  

As a Hebrew, Jesus would have understood something very different: in Middle Eastern cultures, ‘father’ would have been understood as someone to whom absolute obedience and allegiance was due.  Jesus was able to give it because of the absolute love and affirmation he was receiving from his Father.  Even to the point of accepting the cup of crucifixion, because he trusted the Hand from which it came.  Not one raised in anger; one of affectionate authority.  This blows my mind.  

Out of a morass of language, ‘father’ stuck.  Not Savior, Lord, or Redeemer.  Not Prophet, Good Man or Myth.  Western Christian that I am, I was raised on one of these two categories of thought about Jesus.  Words that were either meaningless to me, or false, incomplete.  The first category from my religious upbringing, the second from my culture.  

I didn’t know how to relate to a Redeemer, really.  We don’t have an equivalent in American culture.  Father I understood.  A father/son relationship I understood.  I had four brothers.  I grew up watching.  My theology began to change.

I had to evaluate my own father in light of this theology.  How accurately had he represented the Father, the model of Affectionate Authority?  It was a painful exercise.  I loved my father, but he had his faults, and I had to acknowledge them, forgive him.  Then I had to evaluate how this had colored my perception of God the Father.  I passed the course.  A lot of distortions died that year.  And so did my father. 

I never got the chance to tell him all this.  He would have loved the theological discussion (and probably hated the psychological one!)  Poetry took the brunt of my loss, and replaced the conversations I would have loved to have had with him.  Two chapbooks later, I remain in awe and thankfulness, writing poetry, and groping after the mystery.  

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  

Happy Father’s Day, Abba, Father.

Friday, June 7, 2013

In the Doldrums

The Doldrums--mysterious but Disney-esque image for  baby boomer boatyard kids, our equivalent of Pirates of the Caribbean.  

The Doldrums--expression typically applied when we were pouting.  A more colorful translation came from my Irish granny neighbor--who figured in any hoolie mentioned in The Boatman's Daughter--if she saw one of us moping around.  With twinkling eyes and gales of cackling laughter, she'd ask, "What's the matter--yer bread fall butter side down?!"

The Doldrums: "a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art."  

The Doldrums: the challenges of marketing in June, an advance sales period sandwiched between two holiday weekends, with the world unplugging to go on vacation.  In an age of online sales--the cyber-doldrums!

Yes, The Boatman's Daughter is languishing in a "belt of calms and light baffling winds..."

Sales are anemic, at a measly 15--yikes!  I only need 55 to make it to print, but I have less than a month to do that.  If you're a fan distracted by summer fun, please take a moment now before heading to the beach this weekend and click here to order!  

And would you pass the word through whatever social media you're on?  Pin, tweet, post or link--help The Boatman's Daughter out of the doldrums!  

If you have ordered already, thank you!  

Waiting for the wind to pick up...and the typical exhilarating race as the doldrums give way to the breezes...thanks everyone!  And have a good weekend! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Occupational Hazards

Occupational hazards of the poet: getting lost on the quiet, meditative morning walk in the woods, creating the platform for epiphanies...

When I first entered the trail, I wanted nothing more rigorous than a morning constitutional to get my metabolism kickstarted.  After 3 days of meetings in chairs, I needed a good stretch.  

I entered mulling over another occupational hazard: book sales.  Waiting out that advance sales period, wondering if your book is going to go to print.  Thinking, “I can market all I want, but can’t make people buy the book...I must depend on them to do it, in time...and wait it out.”  

In I went on Morton Trail...followed by Coon Crossing and The Path Down Under.  Too easy, too short; I pressed on, in the company of cardinals, crows and red spiders.  Fire Road Loop, Ranger Loop, Man Bites Dog Loop.  

Too many loops...where’s the guest house?!  I walked on and the signs got more and unhelpful, until the inevitable sign-missing-at-critical-juncture moment.  I stared at the signless fork in the road ahead of me, while a line from a Robert Frost poem floated through my mind.  I turned to the left.  

That led me through two more loops.  Man Bites Dog.  Ranger...uh-oh....

“I’m not going to get out of here without help,” I realized.  “I’m going to need to run into another hiker or biker.” 

In time, the biker appeared.  He pointed out the route, said to wait at the parking lot, and if I was not where I needed to be, he'd drive me home.  And off he sped.  

A couple of miles later I extricated myself from all the loops, and emerged in a parking lot, recognizing nothing.  A few minutes later the biker reappeared, asked if I was ok, and was this where I had entered.  Nope.  He looked puzzled as he tried to figure out where I had, and smiled when we found my entry point--with the help of GPS--several miles up the road.  

“Y’all had a good ole stroll this morning!”  

“And I couldn’t have finished without you!” I acknowledged, as he dropped me off.  

I have a few more loops to go on this advance sales period--3 to be exact--and I’m not going to get out of here without help. I’m far from the goal, waiting for my audience to show up, getting a good workout.   Click here to close the loop! 

I’ll be glad when I find you.