Sunday, September 16, 2012

a Hive update

Lately some very nice people have politely enquired about how my book, Hive: A Forgery is doing. So I thought I'd just write a quick post and say where I think it's all at and what some of the reactions have been.  I mean, I think some people are interested in how the book is 'doing' because they wonder how the whole indie publishing thing works, and might even consider doing something similar themselves someday. And that's cool. I sort of get the tiny feeling with some people, they want to hear that it's not going so great, which will serve as some type of affirmation for them in some obscure category. And you know, I sort of get that too. Getting published is hell, at times, right?

For the people interested in numbers, I've sold about 50. Possibly you'll remember my stated goal at the beginning of this was 100. And it still is. If I'm relying on word of mouth, then it's going to take a while, and that's okay with me. I'm sure there are runs of poetry that have sold fewer copies than this.

I've gotten longer and more glowing notes from people who have read the book than I have for any of my other books. Really beautiful ones. So that feels like success. People have added it to their lists on Goodreads, and reviewed it or rated it without my asking them, on Goodreads and Amazon. Very nice.  

Some people I know quite well haven't bought the book because of the barrier that Amazon is for them.  They want to support their local bookstores, which is hard to argue with.  For those people, I've decided to start selling copies myself.  I just received a box of 20 copies which I can sign and send to you. So write me if you want one. Technically, the book still comes from Amazon. Just so you know. There's just not much I can do about that one.  

I have a friend who liked the book so much, she really wanted to review it but has been turned down.  Sure, she could review it somewhere for free, but she wants to get paid. And I've always been one to say that women do enough work for free, so I can't blame her for that.  I'm gratified that she liked it enough to want to talk about it to a larger audience, even if that didn't quite work out.

I find it interesting that newspapers are so vehemently against a review of a self-published work. One senses a great deal of anxiety in their well-prepared responses as to why they don't print reviews of self-published work.  You'd kind of think that curiosity might be the rule these days, when there are so many things shifting in the publishing landscape. I mean, look at the cool stuff Margaret Atwood is embracing on Wattpad. To me, Atwood is someone who can see into the future, so anything she believes in is of interest.  

When I started off with this process, I admit, I was a bit whiney and 'oh woe is me' about it. I was a bit bummed with a few publishers who'd given me some hope, and then decided against it in the end.  They all said similar things to me: "This is exactly the sort of thing we should be publishing, but...."  

Those were the comments that encouraged me, and made me feel that the thing is worth being out there. Also, I'd made a SoundCloud recording (you can listen to it here) and 300 people have listened to it.  And again, a lot of people said nice things about the recording.  

There are 7 holds on one copy (on order) at the Edmonton Public Library. Richard Helm gave the book a kind mention in the Edmonton Journal, in an article that also mentions 50 Shades of Gray.  

In truth, I don't feel whiney any more and have come to peace with the the way it's been published and all that.  It's not like it was going to make me famous, this book, anyway. It's about anonymity! for pete's sake. 

I do admit, that I have a hard time getting the courage up to promote it, partly because, having been a writer for 20ish years, I know how people feel about self-published works. For many they don't even exist - they're invisible, and for others, they're really quite offended by the whole idea of a self-published work. They seem to have complete faith in what are called 'gatekeepers.' And for the most part, sure that all is great. There are so many writers, so many publishers who seem stressed. Who knows what's being decided for what reasons? But when I have mentioned it on Facebook, etc, I notice that every time I do so, there's a sale or two, or someone at least tells me they intend to buy it. Which I appreciate.

Anyway, I once took a grad course in the Early Modern Manuscript and I keep remembering bits of it through all this. The huge amounts of anxiety that people had when the printing press came on. But the course was a long time ago, and I'm no expert.  I suspect there are people writing dissertations as we speak about what's going on in publishing these days. 

The photos, here, btw, are from the spring, of R's studio in the basement.  From outside, it looks like a hidden spot....a bit mysterious. Seems to have something to do with some of the thinking that went on in Hive.

You know, just getting on with the work, quietly, anonymously. Working, working.  That's what it's all about, the work. About the conditions necessary for creativity. Yes.


  1. Thank you for the update. Things are changing so swiftly right now. It's hard to imagine where publishing will be at even next year.

  2. Keep at it, gorgeous!

    Love Kimmy


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