All your amazing responses to the announcement of my little book turned me into an emotional wreck for about a week. I am so blessed to be surrounded by this community of friends and family!
Anyway, let's get down to business. I promised more details to come, and here's a whole big load of details regarding Stars & Seas, purchasing, etc. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and questions; this blog post should answer most of the questions you've asked.
I'll start with the question on everyone's mind...
When is the release date?
Sunday, November 4!
That's right, exactly a month away. I can almost smell it! Can you?
...oh wait, that's probably the proof I smell... It's sitting right next to me as I write this.
Can I preorder?
No. It being my first time through this process, I'm keeping things simple. But you can order the minute it's released, so be sure to reserve a few bucks in your bank account!
Where can I buy?
Link to come, fam!
For now it will be available exclusively at my print company's online bookstore.
How much will Stars & Seas cost?
$7. That's a few dollars to cover publishing costs, a few dollars for me, and a cute little book for you!
Speaking of publishing, who's your publisher? What is self-publishing? How does this all work?
My publisher is me, baby! Well, with the help of a friendly company called Blurb.
Blurb is a print-on-demand self-publishing platform. This means I didn't have to write query letters or pitches, work by anyone else's timeline, or have to publish and sell a bulk order of books upfront. I also don't have to print and bind them myself.
The way it works is that I wrote, edited, and illustrated it all, and formatted a PDF according to Blurb's specifications. A few nerve-wracking clicks later, and the proof was on its way!
I found Blurb's process to be pretty easy, and I'm pleased with their services and costs. I haven't run into any issues requiring customer service, so I can't speak to that end, but I've found their FAQs to be very helpful throughout the process.
There are so many options in today's publishing world, but it comes down to one main choice: traditional or self-publishing. And in the case of little chapbooks like this, there's a third option I like to call "super-self-publishing," which involves a home printer and either a stapler or needle and thread.
I chose self-publishing for a few reasons. I'd love to go the traditional publishing route someday! But for this project, it was important to me that I handle the entire process myself. I enlisted the help of a few good friends for editing, but that's about it. I needed to carry this baby the whole way through.
Will it ship internationally?
Heck yeah! Blurb ships to about 70 countries around the world, and also APO and FPO addresses. But if you can't get it where you're at for whatever reason, let me know and we'll see if we can work something out.
Why wait until November 4, if it's ready now?
Ooh, I was hoping you'd ask that question! Well... one of the poems included, Panic Attack, is being published elsewhere this month!
You can find it in volume 18 of The Healing Muse, a literary and visual art journal centered on the topics of the body, medicine, illness, and health. The Healing Muse is put out by Upstate Medical University, out of State University of New York (SUNY). Copies of the journal will be available for purchase online.
I've signed an agreement with The Healing Muse allowing it to publish Panic Attack first. Rights will go back to me immediately after publication, but until then I have to keep it under wraps. It's the way of the publishing world, guys. If you're impatient, just blame the ol' Panic Attack.
I've had a few poems published in various journals, and it's thrilling to get that email, "Dear Cailey, we are pleased to accept for publication."
It takes hours to wade through submission calls, identify which poems to submit to which journals, fit all submission requirements, and finally hit the submit button.
It seems like they all have different format requirements... blind (anonymous), single poem or a group of 3-5, single document or multiple, address on each page, nothing longer than 20 lines, nothing shorter than 20 lines, Times New Roman or Courier New, I could go on... and there's tons of competition. But it's so rewarding to discover that gem of an acceptance in the middle of a bunch of rejections! The rejections don't really bother me now; they motivate me. But acceptance is an even better motivator, for sure.
What are some other ways to support you?
- Share with others! Share the purchase link online, show the book to your friends, and make a big deal about having suddenly become a poetry fan.
- Check out these Stars & Seas products on Redbubble! This design is a combination of several illustrations from the book, all original ink drawings by yours truly. There's more than 50 different items, including t-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, wall art; even duvet covers. Personally I think it looks super rad on the pillows, the hardcover journal, and the travel mug.
- Keep in touch! Whether it's through this site, social media, or however we interact, let me know what you think about the book. One of the purposes of art is to engage in conversation between the artist and the viewer.. So let's extend that conversation!
- Most importantly, pay attention to the people around you. You'll never know if they're afraid, hurt, or feeling hopeless unless you show that you care. Be a listener, be a giver, be an encourager. We're made to be in community, not in a vacuum, but it's so easy for us to isolate ourselves when the world seems so dark and scary. Be a light.
But one last thing... I just want to say that I am blown away by your enthusiastic support. Absolutely overwhelmed.
I feel this weird mix of pretentiousness and teenage angst when I tell people I write poetry, so it's amazing to look at the number of page views on my announcement, and the reactions to my social media posts about Stars & Seas. It's really overwhelming to think about how many people love me and are excited to read what I wrote.
It's also scary, since this is by far the most personal work I've ever released to the public. This feels wildly different from all the art I've sold or shared online. It almost feels like baring my private journals to the world. I want to thank everyone who has made my community feel safe enough to do this... You mean the world to me. Thank you!