Until the end of 2012, my writing career consisted of sporadic bursts of activity, including rare but lucrative writing assignments and speaking engagements. When invited, I have recited/performed my poems for community organizations and have taught at schools. A city mayor in Maryland and a national multiple best-selling author commissioned me to write poetry for special events they hosted.

Since childhood, I have won numerous contests and spoken word slams. I hosted a monthly poetry event, over a 10 year span, at various locations in my region. And, at the beginning of 2013, I started a daily haiku writing habit. I post these poems on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogspot and WordPress (my websites).

Although I am using the responses to my online poems to assess the marketability of my work, I have self-published only small, saddle-stitched chapbooks. I know the next step is to add a “spine” (literally). This is where I pause.

Book store managers, in venues where I hosted readings, told me that poetry books are the lowest selling product in their stores. Because of this, I could not imagine competing with anyone, living or dead, whose publications were already on those shelves. This was before e-books became popular and I do not know how that changes the statistics, if at all.

Demand for my printed work is usually highest after I perform or recite, but I am not sure about the demand for my poems on paper, apart from the added excitement of a live presentation to build interest. I appreciate interactions with readers and fellow poets online, who “fave”, “like” or “retweet” my posts. While this provides a boost to my confidence, I know of no tools to cope with, or overcome, my concerns. However, I do understand that a commitment to writing and posting my poems on the internet is an important step forward in my writing journey.

My most popular “signature poem”, I perform and sell as a bookmark. And I am especially proud of another poem that was selected as a winner in the 2006 Moving Words Contest (Washington, DC area). It is one of six top prize winners. Mine is listed #5 on this site (not a ranking): http://www.commuterpage.com/pages/special-programs/moving-words/2006-poems/

My intensified daily writing habit has forced me to balance my gifts with my circumstances. Although I enjoy writing, I am considering ways I can write professionally on a regular basis. I appreciate the support I am finding from family, friends and even strangers, in person and on-line.

Thank you.


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