Selling a collection of poetry online, at first thought, can seem a rather overwhelming task. We live in an age of TV shows at our fingertips, an internet full of YouTube clips and more information than we could ever want, need or care about. We’re trained to skim read as we search for the answers we seek among the infinite pages of words. Clicking a thumb up or thumb down can be the difference between finding our audience and getting buried – very quickly – beneath the mountain of 1s and 0s. How, exactly, does a poet survive selling poetry on this fickle yet unavoidable battlefield called the internet?
With approximately 5,000 eBooks and 160,000 web-pages being launch each day, trying to stand out among them can seem like a daunting task. There is good news for those passionate about the written word, however. While things like Search Engine Optimization, reviews, and blog interviews are invaluable to poetry sales online, there’s also an external force that is sweeping the online market.
This massive influx of new daily content brings with it waves of frustration, impatience and disappointed readers. The ability for anyone to post content to the internet has quickly created an ocean of garbage, and people are getting tired of wading through its stench. Although social media updates may have their place, an emoticon is no substitute for the emotion a poem can induce. A cat video, whilst mildly entertaining, cannot provoke thought, nor provide a lasting effect on its viewer. People are no longer satiated by bite-size tweets, no matter how many they consume, and the want for honest, good quality content is seeping back into general society. The fad is dying, novelty is wearing off, and now is the time to get your poetry online.
Many unheard of poets are releasing their works on forums and blogs- many kindle collections are popping up and are priced between $2 and completely free. With so much poetry available, there’s no reason that new gems shouldn’t be getting discovered daily. How many have you discovered? As a writer, I have learned the hard way that there are no secret tips to just sell poetry to the poet’s community. You and I, we are the community, and with that comes a responsibility. If we don’t want poetry to die in this digital age, then we need to keep it alive. How can we expect others to read poetry collections if we, the poets, won’t do the same ourselves?
Unless we want poetry to stop with history’s heavyweights, then this supportive network is crucial to our art. If a masterpiece is written in the forest, but no one’s around to read it…
Positive communication between readers and other poets can only have a positive effect on the community and on our works. Even if you are selling your poetry online, interaction is paramount. Read poetry, review poetry, join forums (such as The Poet Sanctuary and Reddit’s writing subs) and talk to poets and poetry readers. Breathe life into what you love, and it will in turn breathe life back into you and your written words. It’s not a quick fix solution, it’s hard work, but if all readers and writers share this load, there’s no reason that our poetry can’t thrive on the spindles of the internet.
|Jonathon Best is a writer and poet from Perth, Western Australia. You can read his poetry free at jbestbooks.com.|