Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hate Park, part two

The more I collect texts, I can classify them as: positive, negative, fact_neutral,  and bewilderment. I would like to add poetic, but we will see.

Really, taking chunks, then figuring out which alternating orders to sort them in,  might be the best way.

Plus, to keep them in sections: Seth Kimble, the 1995 stings, Fred, Fred passing on, etc. This feels the best approach.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hate Park

Fred Phelps passed away a week ago, as I was compiling different texts and images revolving around Gage Park. Of course, his presence in Topeka is different than it could be anywhere else, as people around the world saw him as that other. In fact, as he was in hospice, the facebook messages posted by Topekans went furious, ranging from threats to picket his funeral, to pleas to just leave it all alone--that he was a speck in the true LGBT work being done.

I have to say, he loved the attention he received, and he drew in my fascination with how people are drawn to cults, how abuse in families becomes a norm. I worked with one of the members at McDonald's back in the early 90's--when he had been picketing for about a year then. I learned a lot from her.

These things are what I want to examine in my project. Gage Park is the center of so much social change. Constance Sawyer wrote about being black in the 1950's, visiting the pool, and being arrested for being black. The police lied to her, saying Mrs. Gage requested the pool be all-white, but there wasn't a pool at the time.

Anyway, I am still researching the details, including the strange incident around Seth Kimble, a meteorologist who worked for WIBW and was caught in Gage Park with another man. He was arrested, fired, and then murdered by his wife. None of this can be found on the internet, as it did happen circa 1979-81.

My strategy will be to concentrate on LGBT things, including the Million Fag March, which I will be attending this year to complete my project.

Also, appropriation of different texts and voices. I want to use images to serve as maps--maps of the park, maps of speakers.

Topeka has always seemed like a crux of American things, where all of the social debates find a center in the center.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kate Durbin's E! Entertainment

I am so excited for Kate Durbin's E! Entertainment to come out. I'm also thrilled with how I can incorporate it into my Freshman Composition class as a pro-feminist conceptual poetry book without needing to say it is so.

A place to order:

A podcast:

An interview:

My lesson plan will involve reading George F Will's "Reality Television: Oxymoron" and Mark Greif's "The Reality of Reality Television." Then we will read E! Entertainment, listen to podcasts, read interviews with Kate Durbin, etc. We will watch an episode of a show in class, as students transcribe their own scene. We will brainstorm reality television shows, then each student will transcribe three poems. Finally, an essay will make connections between the readings and the students' own work.

If you have any ideas, please send them my way!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tips for success in selling copies of one's book, redeux

My editor asked me to share my suggestions for selling books. What I came up with still feels self-centered to me. Therefore, here is my new advice:

Don't sell copies of your book. Give them away. When someone wants to buy a copy, allow them to. Give away five times the number of copies you sell. Forget about it all. Trade books with others.

Be glad you were published! You are part of a larger community now.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tips for success in selling copies of one's book

My editor asked me to share my suggestions for selling books. This is what I came up with.

I feel that, now as a published writer, I am on that thin line between self-promotion and all of the things that go with it and just hoping to join in with the community and conversation with writers. I've found the key is to stay humble, to avoid schmoozing, and stay supportive of others alongside my own efforts of getting my book into someone's hands.
As a Managing Editor of a small press for some time now, I feel the obligation to buy copies of my chapbook, as well as promote myself alongside promoting the press. I created a platform--with a website. I had postcards printed through an online printer, many of which I passed out at AWP. A friend of mine even said he saw people picking them up to read them. On the postcard, I featured the cover art and blurbs, with more blurbs on the back.
Even though I've set up consignments with bookstores, I have had the most success with local places that recognize me, my name. Part of this recognition comes from years of hosting open-mic poetry nights. Maybe that is a suggestion? To stay humble, be supportive of others, and find venues of support: newspaper articles, open-mic nights, etc.
For actually selling your book, here are my suggestions (some I haven't done yet, but have seen work well):
A collegue of mine pointed out that books rarely sell in bookstores--even with readings! It's better to think about audience. I placed my books in bookstores, art galleries, and plan on visiting groups my subject matter appeals to. Even with bookstore readings, get your books to them well in advance--then have the reading.
Invest in a platform website! Place everything on it, staying humble.
Have someone host a reading of you and two friends at a coffeehouse. Share the mic, so your friends invite their friends and people will show up.
Have a friend host a reading for you in her or his house/apartment, inviting her or his friends to it. They can introduce you. Have snacks and beverages on hand.
Book reviews are hard to find a venue for. Don't pay for a book review. is the new venue for book reviews! If someone praises your work, explain this to them and ask if they could post it. (Kristin Prevallet asked me to do this for her. In turn, she wrote the most powerful blurb for my chapbook. I still have yet to meet her.)
Restrain the impulses of schmoozing! I went back to apologize to an editor for sounding like I was schmoozing. It does not help you with your book, or with future publications. No one likes schmoozers.
I have given many copies away because I know I am not in publishing for a profit. One of the worst things I hear as an editor, writer, or person is: "How much can I make? What are the royalties like?" We, as writers, should put our art first and never discuss the idea of money, ownership of material, etc. Stay positive! Support others! Be humble! Stay away from discussing money, except if someone asks how much your book is.

I hope this helps!