Should I Illustrate My Book Of Poems?

I like to draw and paint so friends know me as an artist and I wonder if I should illustrate my book of poems. Will it enhance my book or subtract from it?

My first thought is that poets who illustrate their own work are seen as amateur and juvenile. It is the kind of thing that a kid in middle school does.

When someone opens a book of poetry and it is only words then they must focus on the words; illustrations can be a distraction and alter the reader's interpretation of the poem unless the statement of the poem is so clear that it begs its own point.

In the world of self-publishing poetry, there are mountains of books published every year so the challenge is to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps tasteful and quality artwork can give the book a broader appeal.

When you see a book of illustrated poetry you think it is a gift volume, the kind that is in the gift card aisle of the grocery store or sold at craft shows and indi-book-conventions.

In this moder…

How Many Poems Is The Right Number For This Book?

I feel that long books of poetry and such writings are lost on the modern reader who typically is impatient and has a short attention span. So I do not think that I want to put out a large collection of poems, but how many is the right number for this collection?

I first set the number of poems for my collection, Through These Dark Lands Are Edges Of Joyat forty or so pieces. I like the number forty, it is all over the Bible. Forty poems give about twenty to thirty minutes of reading and I thought the message of encouragement could be easily conveyed within that scope.
My format was to be a chapbook, which is by definition a small collection of poetry, twenty-five to thirty-five poems (about forty pages) so forty short poems would push the upper range but I could still call it a chapbook.

I went through my collection of unpublished works and found a little more than forty so I figured fifty wasn't much more and could still work; it would b…

Should I Edit My Manuscript Electronically Or On Paper?

I have been trying to make some revisions and tidy up my collection of poems, Beyond These Dark Lands are Edges of Joy, so they would be ready for publication. I have been going back and forth between the computer and paper versions of my manuscript trying to determine the better method of editing my poems.

I am kind of a visual person so the way things look affects my approach to it. When I see the pages laid out it gives me a feel for the overall presentation and spirit of the book.  On the other hand, I want to create a serious and professional piece of literature, so I must use the computer.

I have found that looking at the paper version gives me a sense of spirit or soul of the poems and not just grammar or sentence structure.

Printed pages make it easy to lay the poems out on the table and see them as a collection rather than as single pieces on the monitor screen.  I can use different strategies like spreading them across the table or putting them int…

Should I Organize My Book Of Poems Into Chapters?

Someone suggested that I organize the poems for my book, Beyond These Dark Lands are Edges Of Joy, into chapters, and I wonder if I should.

There are some advantages to using chapters.

Chapters can break up the collection into manageable sections for the reader.Chapters can each present a theme.Chapters can offer the reader choices in how they consume the collection.Chapters can give a preview and prepare the reader for the pages that follow. Chapters give the reader a quick overview of the entire work.
Chapters can create problems for a book of poems. They can limit the reader's interpretation of a poem because the reader views the poem through the context of the chapter title and not experience the poem in its own unique way.

If I start to organize the poems into chapters then new questions arise...

How many chapters? How many poems should be in each one?Should all the chapters be the same length?Should the chapter titles support the name of the book…

How Should I Respond To My Editor's Observations?

My editor gave my collection of poems back with some suggestions and observations. They are mostly good and positive, which I ate up. But she made a few comments which caused me to reevaluate my entire project.

It is important to use the advice of others who you trust. They will see things you miss and point out things you might not have considered because you are so involved with the project. So, if the advice is honest and sincere you have to give it some respect.

One of her observation was that there was a sadness or tone of depression in many of the poems and that influenced the overall voice of the work.

I have noticed before that my poems had a lot of phrases that invoked images or feelings of sadness. I was not sure if it was some internal reflection on my part since as their author I had a unique connection with the poems. Now I know the reader finds the same voice of sadness.

This is not good news to me. I wanted the book to be one of encouragement and hope not a rallying fl…

What happens when your wife edits your manuscript?

Before I get in trouble with wives everywhere, let me begin by saying that God has blessed me with the gift of a very intelligent, talented, insightful, beautiful and wonderful woman for a wife.

My wife has an English degree in English as a Second Language, so she is competent to look over my collection for punctuation and stuff. I was reluctant to ask her to edit my poetry because I was afraid that she may be biased, or lack objectivity in some particular thing or other. I thought maybe she would not give hard criticism of my work or go to the other extreme and see it as only a favor and not a serious project.

There is a danger that I would pester her about it and keep asking for an update on her progress, which would cause her to become anxious or feel like she is being used. So, I gave it to her and not ask about it until she was done. This would be the same as if I had sent the work away to an editor; I would not call every day and ask about it. I thought it was important to trea…

Should I Add To My Manuscript of Poems?

I have a finished manuscript of poems, titled Beyond These Dark Lands Are Edges of Joy, Poems of Comfort and Hope, but I wonder if I should add a few more poems while my wife edits the punctuation and stuff, or say it is done and be done?

I have a couple of poems that were not quite ready when I asked her to edit them. I was thinking then that it was time to move forward to the next step. My vision for this book is that it would not be such a long collection that no one would read the entire thing. I wanted the reader to get the full effect of the collection when they needed it so I was going to keep the book short. Besides, if it is short it will have fewer pages and would cost less to produce and less to sell.

There have been a few pieces that have been in the back of my mind. They were in an early state of completion when I decided to declare my book finished.  But since my wife is doing the editing for me over the next few weeks I thought I could finish them an…