Sandra Marchetti published a poetry chapbook last year and has published or will publish poems in The Bakery, Subtropics, Flycatcher, and others. She is the new poetry editor at Minerva Rising and wsa kind enough to write a guest post for the New Writers Column. Review part one for Lessons 1 through 6 of lessons learned the first year after publishing.
Things I Learned in the Year after Publishing a Book
7. Fans Can Lead to New Writing Opportunities.
Even if you are publishing in the most obscure genre, if you sell books, you will gain fans. There is one woman who I speak to nearly every day on Facebook who is an endless champion of my work. She is on the board of at least one major writing organization and is a published author herself. Kim Brown, a novelist and reader of my work, recently offered me the Poetry Editorship of her literary journal, Minerva Rising. These people might not have found my work without my book publication.
8. A Book Publication is Not the End Goal.
This is the part no one told me about. Ted Hughes talks about it eloquently. Once I published the chapbook, the desire for my full-length collection of poems, “Confluence,” to be published increased dramatically. I started to think of The Canopy as a stepping stone. This thought process helped me to realize that publication really is just the cherry on the sundae. Writers are told that, but we don’t ever believe it. I wanted to write, and publish more, but I began to realize that my needs wouldn’t be sated by this book. And they won’t be sated with the next book publication either. That’s not why we write.
9. This is not (Necessarily) Your Golden Ticket.
Just because my chapbook was published doesn’t mean that my full-length collection, will be published any time soon. “Confluence” was a quarterfinalist for Able Muse’s Book Award this past year, and it has received some recognition, but no one has picked it up yet. This has been incredibly frustrating, mostly because “Confluence” is a project I have labored over for for three and a half years. However, this has given me the opportunity to re-evaluate the manuscript, which has made it into much better work.
10. Don’t Stop Writing to Focus on Publishing
I’ve only written a few poems this year between publishing one book, going to conferences, getting married, and moving house. The work I have written is my best yet though, which should be motivation to write more. In some ways, the siren’s song of attention and satisfaction through publication has been all too alluring. My solution: I have applied to some writers’ residencies (MacDowell, Ragdale, and VCCA) to get writing again!
11. You’re a Published Author. Enjoy it. Take Yourself out for a Sundae.
Marchetti currently teaches writing & literature at Elmhurst College outside of her native Chicago. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing–Poetry at George Mason University in 2010. Sandra was named the winner of the Midwest Writing Center’s 2011 Mississippi Valley Chapbook Contest for her volume, The Canopy. Her full-length manuscript, “Confluence,” was a quarterfinalist for Able Muse’s 2012 Book Award (Open Competition). She was also a finalist in Gulf Coast’s 2011 Poetry Prize and Phoebe’s 2009 Greg Grummer Poetry Contest. Read more on her blog.
Previous posts feature world traveler and Go! Girl Guides founder Kelly Lewis and short fiction talent and Pushcart nominee Doug Silver. Robert Brewer arrives later this month. The Writer’s Market guru and mind behind MNINB and annual Author Platform Challenge, which kicks off in just a couple weeks.