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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sir Marketer, thank you--

UK: Stanza Press, 2012
Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
Design by Elizabeth Adams
Having three books out in a year is a fearsome thing for a poet and writer. It means a lot of jumping up and down and waving of the arms. It means zooming about the world, as I am about to do once again, visiting Wofford College and Hub City Books. While I knew that the Mercer novel, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, could gather some readers, I felt uncertain about the Stanza Press poetry collection, The Foliate Head, now in second printing (hurrah!), and especially about the Phoenicia Publishing long poem, Thaliad. Would anybody these days read a long poem, however adventurous? How could I ever manage a novel and two books of poetry at once?

So I'd love to thank David (whoever he is--a Halethorpe Marylander and "top reviewer") for a lovely long review of Thaliad on Amazon. I've been pleased that the book is still collecting website reviews a year after publication--the most recent one (brand new) is here. In addition, I continue to be pleasantly surprised that a long poem is finding reviews on Amazon (US site, and a few at the UK site), since so many collections of poetry go without any reviews there. Reviews for fiction? No surprise. Surprised by reviews for a long poem? Definitely!

And David of Halethorpe is a first-rate marketer, starting like this: "This is one of those books that is special and unlike anything you've read before, and I urge you not only to read it, but to buy it, because there should be more books like this."

He knows how to end as well: "This is a beautiful work, probably destined to be obscure and under-appreciated, though it should be in classrooms around the country as an example of modern and relevant poetry. So please buy it and read it. It's one of those occasional treasures you are only likely to stumble upon by chance." Please buy it and read it. It's the kind of thing I'm entirely loathe to say, but it's those sorts of words from a reader that save a book from being wholly "obscure and under-appreciated."

In between, he says interesting things about the narrative and gives a sense of what it is like. I've never liked the selling part of publishing books very well, and have always felt rather shy about such things. But he makes his claims well! Now if only I (and every poet) had a mob of such reader-marketers!

The Foliate Head. Now in second printing.
UK: Stanza Press, 2012. Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.
Design by Andrew Wakelin.

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Mercer University Press, 2012.
The Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction.
SilverAward, ForeWord Book of the Year Awards.
Design by Burt and Burt.


  1. Hooray! All good. Selling one's own books (and one's art) is indeed the hardest part, even harder than creating, yet I think you are doing a great job, Marly!

  2. I'm generally of mixed feelings of anything I do in that line except events, which are usually fun and interesting because I like people...


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.