Cool blog – ‘A Year with Rilke’

I discovered A Year With Rilke only a month or so ago and am really enjoying its postings. Founded and maintained by bloggers Lorenzo at The Alchemist’s Pillow and Ruth at synch-ro-ni-zing, it shares short excerpts from Rilke’s various writings, combining each excerpt with the image of a painting by an artist connected with Rilke in some way – many by Van Gogh, Cezanne and Rodin, for example. It also has further links to much much more about Rilke. Check it out!

Multi-format poetry publishing – production steps

Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks just published its sixth title – Fishwife by Jennifer Jean. There’s a music soundtrack and extra illustrations in this one – yay for collaborations!

Wrapping up this project and working on my own latest nanopress project (a chapbook this time), I took the time to write down the various steps for multi-format publishing. It looks like an awfully long list, but all the stages can be worked in parallel, and each is actually not more than 2-3 hours of work. I figured that, if I didn’t have to periodically stop work to get clearances from my project partner, I could publish a chapbook manuscript in all the formats below in one day — a long day, but it would be manageable. The MOST work is in the first three steps: 1) editing the manuscript – which can go a really long time; 2) recording and editing audio; and 3) identifying and getting permission for cover art. Once you have those three elements in hand, the rest of the process is a relative breeze. Thus:

• Agree with editor or poet (‘partner’) on final MS

Cover art
• Agree with partner on cover art
• Obtain permission from artist to use art

• Record audio in MP3 format

• Get bios and any mug-shots or statements from partner & contributing artist(s)
• Compile list of acknowledgments, if any

• Establish private blog, select website theme/design
• Upload & format cover art
• Upload & format poems, bios, mug-shots, acknowledgments & any statements
• Upload & format audio
• Format internal links
• Clear all site content with partner
• Add links to other formats (PDF & MP3 downloads; e-book; print edition & CD)
• Switch site from ‘private’ to ‘public’ on formal publication date

PDF download
• Format MS in A4 size
• Clear A4 MS with partner
• Convert to PDF format
• Upload and link to website

• Format MS per Smashwords style guide
• Design e-book cover
• Clear Smashwords MS & cover with partner
• Upload doc & cover to Smashwords
• Publish e-book on Smashwords (24 hrs before overall publication in case fixes needed)

Print edition
• Format MS as 6X9
• Clear 6X9 MS with partner
• Upload MS & design cover online at Lulu
• Clear cover with partner
• Publish book (keep link private until formal publication date)

• Upload audio at Lulu
• Design CD label & contents insert online at Lulu
• Design CD cover online at Lulu
• Clear CD cover with partner
• Publish CD (keep link private until formal publication date)

interview & poems up at Coachella Review

You can read me going on about nanopress publishing among other themes in this interview at Coachella Review, conducted by Lindsey Lewis. Also two poems in the same issue – here and here. Be sure to read all the other good stuff in there – there’s even a film clip!

want poetry readers? publish in multiple formats, some free

Those familiar with how we publish at Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks know our mantra – publish in multiple formats, some of them free. We publish as free web-based text & audio, free e-reader edition and free PDF download; with CD and print editions for sale.

Looks like Poetry and the Beloit Poetry Journal are embracing this philosophy too. Both are now offering their entire content free online, while maintaining for-sale print editions. (Hat tip: Jessica Goodfellow)

Why does Whale Sound publish like this? Let’s share some stats.

(Note: Our stats are not scientific. We can’t track everything and it’s never clear what a click on a link actually means, at the end of the day. We don’t count individual readings or listenings to of individual poems at the website, for example. And how do we know that a download or a purchase means actual reading of the chapbook or collection? We don’t. But, broadly and anecdotally, this is what we have found:)

– the free e-reader editions represent far and away the largest numbers of all copies obtained: between 40% and 60%.

– the second most popular edition is the free PDF download, which represents between 25% and 35% of all copies obtained.

– consumer preference is heavily weighted towards reading poetry rather than listening to it (which makes us sad) – audio copies obtained only represent betwee 10% and 20% of all copies obtained.

– Finally (and most importantly): sales of print version and CD version combined represent the smallest number of copies obtained – only between 5% and 10% overall. (Big hint: if you want readers, selling poetry may not be the way to go…)


PS I should also mention Moria Poetry e-books – you can download every e-book there free and you are also given the option, if you prefer, to purchase a paper copy of the book. Nice, Moria!


Here’s a kind and thoughtful review of Forever Will End On Thursday from Peter Stephens. As I said about the last review of the collection: “it’s wonderful, it feels tender and respectful – and nourishing – when someone pauses in their life to make a moment of stillness and focus centered on your poems, gathers their thoughts on the poems, and writes them down.”

Beyond that, there are two things I especially like about Peter’s review. One is that he makes connections, as they present themselves to his mind, between my work and others’ work. It’s not really important for the purpose of marking this feeling to whom, or how, these connections are made. Just the fact of connections is very good. It’s a nice and new (for me) feeling to be ‘situated’ like that – as part of a tapestry, a stream, a wholeness, a poemy aural bigness.

Which sort of contradicts the second thing I especially like about Peter’s review, which is a lonelier and more separate thing, but – I don’t know – just as whole, too. Which is where he says:

There’s a longing to connect inherent in the act of creation, but it can’t come on the cheap. Poetry that fails to take risks or that papers over the inherently difficult relationship between author and reader is rarely worth reading. I don’t expect those issues to underlie a newspaper article, but I love it when I feel it in poetry. I want to feel in poetry a kind of existential tug, a sense that the writer is on her own, the poem is on its own, and I’m on my own, too. Only then can the three of us work to build real bridges.

Here is a a Peter poem at Whale Sound and there is also where Dave Bonta made it into a video poem. You can also hear Peter reading someone else’s poem in this Whale Sound group reading.

‘Threatening Weather’ by Howie Good

We are very pleased to announce publication of the latest Whale Sound Audio Chapbook: Threatening Weather by Howie Good. I’ve greatly enjoyed working with Howie and his wonderful poems for this chapbook – thanks, Howie!

As usual, our publisher question for consumers is: How do you like your poetry served?

Our slogan is as always: publish in multiple formats – some of them free! So you get to download audio, PDF, EPUB and MOBI files free, if those are your preferred poetry-absorbing methods. If you like a good old paper book in your hand, you can buy the poems as a print chapbook from Lulu’s (at cost-price – no publisher mark-up). If you prefer a CD to put in a player and store on your shelf, buy the CD version from Lulu’s – also at cost-price with no mark-up.

More at this post and this post and this post about why we publish in the bizarro way we do.