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Launching a First Poetry Book, with Orna Ross and Lauren Lott — Self-Publishing Poetry Podcast

by Alliance of Independent Authors
December 4th 2020

Joining Orna Ross in this month's #AskALLi Self-Publishing Poetry Salon is indie poet Lauren Lott who will outline the steps she took to launch her first poetry collection, The Remains of Burni... More

welcome to ask Ally. The self Publishing advice podcast from the Alliance of Independent Authors. Things Week. It's our self publishing poetry podcast where our host focuses on developing prosperity for poets through community building and self publishing. And now here's your host for the Ask Ally Self publishing Poetry Podcast Ally Director Orner Ross. Hello, everybody. Here we Are again for another livestream self publishing advice from the Alliance of Independent Authors. I'm Orna Ross on With Me Today all the way from Australia to London and back again around the world to you, wherever you are, is Lauren lot. Hi, Lauren Iona. Thank you, Are you? I'm really good, I'm really good. It's it's eight o'clock key in Australia and, uh, there's a possum in the roof and it's scratching

won't interfere with the audio. There's also a few cooker borrows outside, so we'll see how we got. That's lovely. I'm not hearing any possum scratches right now, so hopefully he'll be himself on When you say eight o'clock, You mean 8 a.m. And here in London, it's nine PM the previous evening. So we're really doing the world clock here this evening. Well, we're here, folks. because we're going to be discussing the topic off putting together your very first poetry collection, which is something that Lauren did this year. Aunt Thio. Great success. And we've just been watching her journey as she slowly got it together and told people it was coming and put it out there and all that happened over the launch time and since and thought it would be really great to get you into talk about lessons. Learned how to do differently, what you'll do the same next time, out on dull, that kind of thing. So thanks so much for for coming

along to share your experience before we before we start to tell us a little bit about yourself, um, as a person and maybe a little bit about yourself as a poet. What's your poetry biography for? Want of a better for A I'm in Australia here in a place called Lake Macquarie. It's on the east coast of New South Wales, about two hours from Sydney on bond. I'm a mom, and I worked casually, Um, but other than that, I write poetry, and, uh, I started writing poetry probably about five years ago. I went through quite a hard situation. Honor. Um, my family suffered a loss about five years ago. And through that situation, I suffered, um, emotionally. And like psychologically, Andi, all I could really

do All I could really read for a season was poetry, which was surprising because you would think it's quite deep. Who has the stamina for that? But I just turned to poetry and found so much light and so much life in poetry. Um, in poets like Mark Me Po and Mary Olive are and people like that. And from there I started to write my own poetry. And I saw the effect on I felt the effect that poetry had in my own life. And, um, after experiencing that I wanted to do that for other people. Aziz. Well, I wanted to write words that would help people to get up to get unstuck words that would empower them and breathe life into their lives. And yes. So it's been an interesting experience, uh, starting out writing poetry. And here I am, five years later, with my first book

. Fantastic. And you certainly do that in terms off. I came to your work through instagram on you put out, you know, very regularly post poems and instagram, and we'll talk about that in a few moments. But first, I'd really like to ask you about why you decided to self published this first poetry collection. And did you think it all about getting some help, maybe finding a publisher, or are, or any other alternative? Or did you always know? Oh, no. I'm going to self publish it with poetry. Definitely. I just always just wanted to do it myself. I had a clear vision of what I wanted the book to be and how I wanted the book to look, and I really just wanted creative control of that so that that definitely was just I wanted. Thio indeed published that I have actually written Children's fiction as well. A few manuscript, which I've been trying to

get traditionally published for about the last mm, I would say seven years, but to no success yet. So with the fiction, I still am trying to plug away at the traditional, uh, probably because it is Children's and I feel like I don't have I need the I need the experts on my side to help me with illustrations and all the rest of it. But when it comes Thio poetry, it just just It's really close to me poetry. And so I wanted to have a much creative controls I possibly can. And to tell you the truth, I'm so happy that I went this way because, um, yeah, I can't imagine not having the creative control after going through the process. So let's talk, then a little bit about the process, you know, which parts of it did you find most challenging? Let's start with

the challenges, and then we'll talk about the rewards. The most challenging part for me, honor is, was without a doubt, was the formatting. It's, um it just stumped me for so long. I'm I'm not a Mac user, so I don't have a villain and I'm not a designer, so I found the formatting process very challenging. I use word every day for word processing, but word was not created to design books, so there was a lot of Googling and a lot of trying toe workout stuff problem solving, and it took me way too long to format it. But in the end, if I could just show you I just went for the cleanest, uh, kind of formatting that I could, and I'm proud of that. You know, it is clean. It's

very nice. But it's It's surprising with word how much effort it takes to get it to look like that, Um, whereas with other programs, it's probably much easier. But for me, because I'm not taking or designer focused, the formatting definitely was the most challenging. But the thing is, if I could do it honor, anybody can. Just like I said, I'm I'm not techy or, um or a designer. So yeah, yeah, and I think it is something that on your first book as a poet, you know, because poetry is much trickier, formatting lies than any than, say, straight and fiction or nonfiction text, you know, which kind of finds its own. Let's say a word was designed was not designed for poets. Andi. In fact, there is no formal formatting software designed for poets. Gap in the market self service, publishing people. Um so problem. Yes

, it is something that we hear a lot. I use value, my fine fellows sufficient, but it is. It has its constraints, and there are certain things that I can't do. And sometimes, you know, the palm ends up Onda, as you will know very well changing the format changes the poem on Poems are very sensitive and delicate and, you know, Ah, word on a different line becomes a different kind of emphasis. And all of that formatting is is super important. Yeah, Yes. So that that was kind of the hardest thing. And then, you know, what kind of delighted you? What was the what were the best things about self publishing this collection best things? Well, well, I really loved working with other people. I really loved working with my editor and my book cover designer thes. Two guys were great in that they

didn't just provide a service for May. But they added, added to the project, um, if you could see the cover, I know this is not good for podcast listeners, but my original idea was just a burnout tree. But my designer, after showing him some of the poems and um telling him the gist of the book, he actually added whole lot of visual detail to the front cover. And when I saw it, it's like he interpreted exactly what I was trying to say in the poetry on DSO. Same with my editor. He was just fantastic. He didn't just it the book, But he actually, um, spoke into the work and really encouraged me with word choice. And, um, with what Palm goes where and both of these guys, both Glenn and Islam, that the two fellas that

helped may were just absolutely delights to work with. And it just really emphasized to me on of the importance of getting a great team around you For a long time, I thought I could do it all myself. But I am so glad that I didn't. I'm so glad that I asked these two fellas to come along and, um should contribute to this work because they didn't just edited or design, you know, a pretty cover. They actually added depth to the project, and it was just such a delight. Creatively toe work with them. Yes, I think it's you were very wise. Really. I think that is the thing about until you've experienced it as a writer, we don't understand how much other creative professionals it takes more than one person to make grateful. I really, really believe. Yeah, Andre. And it's great you had such a positive experience with

the first people you brought around you because that's not by any means inevitable. Often, we have to go through a few designers and a few editors before we we find our teams. So sounds like you struck gold straight away, which is marvelous. Yeah, I definitely did. 100%. I give them 10 out of 10, both of them. And I'm really hoping that I work with them again. That's that's wonderful. So that was the the kind of the production, the putting it all together. How long did it take? You know, from first concept to actually saying Okay, I've now got the manuscript. It's formatted. It's ready. The cover is ready. I'm ready to begin to upload. How long did that take for you? The writing process. And you probably be able to understand this owner actually took me quite a long time just working out what? The work waas and trying Teoh, you know, Does this palm fit? Does this palm not fit? So actually, putting

the manuscript together and writing it took quite a long time. I called the writing process. Some people say to me, What are you doing today? Learn? And I would say, Oh, I'm sorting between wounds and scars on that Z That's what the writing process was for. May um, working out whether a poem was a wound or a scar. A word. If you look at it, it's so gash e and yucky And, um, a lot of the time people don't wanna look at that. It doesn't really help them to look at that wound. But the scar Ah, lot of time. If you've got a scar, someone will walk up to you and say, Oh, how did you get that scar? You know, there's a story behind the scar, and so I wanted to make sure that I was putting poems into the book that was scars and not wounds, because I wanted the work to help people. I didn't just want to shock or

, um, vent in the book I wanted. I wanted the work to be something that empowers others. Sometimes you can read palms, and that should trigger you into your own anxiety or your own distress. And I didn't want to do that for people I wanted to make sure that I was delivering, um, beautiful, empowering palm, but at the same time being 100% authentic. And in order to deliver that work, there needed to be healing on my part, which means that the writing of the book took the time that it took. Um So once I got on my scars together, the actual process of getting it from getting an edited thio getting it up and people were purchasing it was only about 12 weeks. So, um, that was very quick. I was just like, Yep, I'm going to publish this and

I got on the train. I made that first move and then 12 weeks later, my book was out into the world. Fantastic. I love how you describe this, the sorting. And you know what makes the caution? What doesn't make the cautioned it's so important, I think, is one of the things about the first collection that that is can be very challenging. It sounds like it, you know, it wasn't overly challenging for you, just the right amount of challenging as it were. But sometimes you know the difference between the poem that we write for ourselves on the homes that we write for. Other people on DWI don't know when we're right. We write them all for ourselves to start, but we don't know until afterwards. You know, when it comes to putting stuff together for a selection or collection or whatever, we don't actually know on the wounds of the scars and absolutely love class. I'm really, really way to describe it. Yeah, Looking back, I could probably say, Oh, I've got about five books, but only one of them has been

published because I've got four books of wounds and one book of scars, but yeah, excellent. So I came to your work, as I said through Instagram and talk to us a little bit about, you know, did you Did you start doing your instagram for yourself? Did you consciously set yourself okay? Instagram is where the poets are all hanging out. I'm going to use Instagram as my social media in order to let people know about this book that's coming, you know, tell us about your instagram journey. I first started putting quotes and palms on my personal instagram page. I have to instagram uh, pages. And then I just figured that some people don't want toe. Look at the quotes and they don't want toe read the palms. They just want to follow me because they they're interested in my family in my life. But they don't necessarily want the poetry. So I separated them, and I

I started putting quotes and poetry up on a personal page, not on my personal pastry on on a different page. It didn't actually get much traction for a long, long, long, long time. Um and I don't know what happened. Maybe I turned a corner personally. Maybe something happened within May 1st order. But then all of a sudden, it just started to grow a little. And from there I had ah, little platform of about 500 people to start promoting my poetry and my upcoming poetry book. So I started off with it all mushed in together, and that really wasn't working for May. So it's when I separated it. I started to find out what kind of thing I could post. And I could see who was actually following me for my poetry and who was actually following for my personal life. Sure on

. Do you enjoy? Instagram is a chore. Ah, it's not a tour for me. It's not a tour for May. I just gets amazing that we can post whatever and people all over the world can see it. It's such a gift to us. Honor. I think if you grow up in a world where you don't have these resource is like May I was born in 1978. So I grew up in the eighties as a child and then in the nineties as a team and we didn't have any of this. And so I remember a lot of the time I'd have so many questions. And, you know, if you had questions, you just ask somebody. And if they don't know the answer, then nobody knew the answer. But now we've got Google on YouTube and Instagram and the Internet. And so we've got all these amazing tools at our fingertips. And so the fact that I get to post on Instagram every day it is a bit of them spin at 2 may like I don't take it for granted at all. Um

, that I get to touch and talk to people all over the world like even this what we're doing today on your in London on I'm in like McCrory now, you know, and it's crazy. You can see me and I can see you. And I know lots of people don't think it's a big deal, But I still think it's amazing. And I think, uh, when we have these opportunities and these gifts that we should, we should stood them well on. We should use them to our advantage. And we should post things and put things up into in the world that will bring people encouragement and make the world a better place. That's just that's just great on. Can you talk to people a little bit? Because I know this is one of the things that people find very challenging. So your mom, you have a job day job is, well, a busy life in all sorts of ways. How do you actually manage the process off both? You know, composing your own poetry

, Andi, integrating Instagram into that. Can you talk to people a little bit about how it works for you? You're talking about posting daily. So do you. Do you write them up in batches? Do you? Do you actually do a daily. How does it go? Um, the the morning's work best for me if I wake up early and I grabbed myself a cup of tea and I can sit down for an hour when it's still the houses relatively still quiet. And I can write I'm not full time. So I have days where I do have the luxury of sitting down and running for a few hours. Um, but I dio I do write in batches I write about, I try and write about, uh, up to seven palms a day, and I put them all in photo, sort them intersections. And then, um, I just go with what I feel and try and post every day. Which reminds me on I haven't posted this morning. I forgot about that. You

can post about this instead. It you can't do. You can't do global interviews and write poetry at the same time. It's just not possible it. Okay, so you you will write these poems, and then when you say to yourself, Okay, this is an instagram wall on this one. Might go in a book, you know? How does that work that? Yeah, well, I'm goes by need. Really? If I need a new poem, I'll go to my folder and I'll flip through and I'll see what I have that I can post. Um, sometimes I repost poems. I think that's a good thing. I don't keep all my poetry up. I might go down an archive, the poems, Um, once a week. And then two weeks later, I might be able to bring one of those poems repost one of those poems again. So I'm either bringing a new poem that I've written or an archived poem, and I I only post a like five

mornings a week, not not seven days. It's on the five or six days, but there's normally a day or two that I have a break from. It is well because I if I don't have a break owner, I'll get really, really sick of it, and it will become something that I can't do it all. So I have to go slow and just do £5 and then two days off something like that. So important. Creative rest. You know it is part off the process, and absolutely we just go stale. It's really, really important. Thio have those down times. You sound very organized for a polish. I have to say with your batches and your folders and you're you know, Are you an organized person? No one has ever called me off E. You're the first person that ever called E did say for a polish. Okay. And just before we leave the social media and have you used that you use stories as well, or just the the

main post facility to do reels to do everything on instagram to enjoy the platform and all the possibilities? Yeah. Yeah, I love it all. I do do stories. I repost other people's post. I love to support other poets on repost their poems. Um, sometimes when I take a walk, I'll just, you know, story my day like that and try and, um, observe what I could see and then share it with everyone else. I mindful that there's people working in offices all day or wherever, and they don't get to go for little walks every now and then so they don't get that light and that inspiration on I try and share that kind of thing. I've done reels as well. It's mainly sharing palm straight from my poetry book. So I'll just read a poem and from the book and then show the front cover and put that up. So, yeah, I'd actually like to get more creative with stories and reels

. I'm might have to do a bit of research to see what I can do to just to freshen up a bit and do something different, but, yeah, I enjoy the whole thing. Instagram is definitely my favorite of the social media platforms. Like I am on Facebook as well, but I don't really care for it. Honor. Yeah. Everyone has a favorite, and it's best to go with the favorites, I think. Yeah. Yeah. So what? Back to the book and the book Publishing. Is there anything you wish you kind of knew before you started? Oh, gosh. Um, I guess the thing that I wish I knew was that the big moves were really just small steps for so long. I was in this place of being stuck. Uh, how do I get this book out into the world? I don't I don't know. It just didn't make sense in my head. And it just seems like a really mammoth Big impossible thing for some reason on

it was all in my mind. But what I just needed to do was make a few little small steps and continue continually make those small steps. Really, The biggest move I made was the first move. I made that that message that I said, My editor, I said, I've got a manuscript. Can you read it? Can you? Can you edit it for me? And from that point on, it was just like one little thing after another. So I would say the big move is the first move. And looking back, that was just one little small step. And so I think I would have had a book out earlier if I had a known that I don't have toe, you know, do it all at first. I don't have to have this big, successful creative all the business just like that. I just have toe make the first little step, and that first little step ended up being the biggest move. That's fantastic. That's really lovely. So what's happening

now? Is there going to be a follow up collection? I'm sure there is. Yeah, yes. So at the moment I'm working on my website read a magnet and my email newsletter, which I must say, feels like a really big move. But I'll take my own advice and just continue to make small steps with that. Yeah, so I'm doing that at the moment. Um, and I'm also about halfway through ah, second collection, which I'm hoping Will Bree released early, 2000 and 21 on. Is it similar in tone? Is it Is it a departure or is this is a continuation? Um, it's not similar, but it is complimentary, I think, if you if you call the remains of burning winter, this collection is spring. That's the best way I can describe it. Yeah, that's really nice. So before we leave and we're

hopping on to the next book before we leave and your current book, would you like to read us? Read a support? Oh, yes, I avoid. I would. What would I rate? I'll reach in my favorite human going take like you asked me when on Here we go. The first time I lost my leaves, I thought I was dying. I waited all winter enduring the num of midnight and the frosted dawn until the sun started to set differently on the breeze began to feel a little more hopeful. I wish someone told me life is a twisted coil of beginnings and ends That living is changing and dying is a way we each get to bless the Earth people. Thank you very much. That's fabulous. Let people know how they can buy this lovely book on also, where to find you online. Yes. So if you're on instagram I'm at a l lot

, right? It's l o t t dot writes. From there in my buyer, you will see a link toe all the different places that you can find My book. If you're not on Instagram, you could go toe Amazon. Um, or I actually published his wealth through Ingram Spark, which means I'm on all those amazing, exciting websites like Waterstones and Barnes and Noble on board Topia. If you're in Australia. Fantastic. Okay. Lauren, listen. Thank you so much for for talking to us so early in the morning and for giving up your writing time to tell everybody about about your your lovely book. I'll see you on Instagram on. Duh. Look forward to hearing about the second collection. When it comes You Ana Bye bye. Everybody will see you next time. We won't have a self publishing poetry advice podcast in December because off there's something happens at the end of December. I can't remember now what it means that we won't have, um, actual slot. But we'll be back in January

with another poet and some more self published poetry advice. So until then, happy writing and publishing I'm taking over. By now you have been listening to the Ask Ally self publishing poetry podcast with Ally director Orna Ross. Our weekly self publishing advice podcast is brought to you by Ally. The Alliance of Independent Authors. Find more author advice, tips and tools that are self publishing advice Center self publishing advice dot org's on If you haven't already, we invite you to join our organization have become a self publishing ally. You could do that at Alliance Independent authors dot org's Now what are you waiting for? Go write and publish

Launching a First Poetry Book, with Orna Ross and Lauren Lott — Self-Publishing Poetry Podcast
Launching a First Poetry Book, with Orna Ross and Lauren Lott — Self-Publishing Poetry Podcast
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