How to get my books 'out there' / sold? (Tarot reading.)


(Well, I am a professional Tarot reader, with certificates as an authorised Voyager reader and teacher.)


Voyager Tarot deck. Hero's Journey reading.


Left to right:


1. Present Position. PRIESTESS.

I am in spiritual mode, listening to inner guidance. 

True. And, on the face of it, a good thing. But could it also mean I am not being practical enough?


2. Path to the Goal. FORTUNE.

Take the gamble. The ups and downs of luck, fate, whatever. Also, this card in a reading always means a change for the better.

So, it seems I am subject to the vagaries of fortune. True enough; one factor in poor sales is current rise in cost of living – no-one has money to throw around on anything but necessities. However, I can count on a change for the better, either in external conditions or my own efforts – or both.

It further seems that I should go for whatever opportunities present themselves. Which I am doing, actually. Public readings; author talk coming up at local library; spruiking the latter with flyers, posters, and ad in next issue of local paper; videos on TikTok, Instagram and facebook....  So I suppose it only remains to stay alert for more possibilities.

It could also be encouragement to get on with putting the books on Amazon – which means a whole new production process, not feasible with previous printer.


3. The Challenge. Two cards together (which is why they are placed a little out of the general alignment): 6 of Worlds: Synergy, and FOOL-CHILD.

6 of Worlds signifies partnership, teamwork, and also includes symbols of wealth and of the ability to bring resources together into power and success. Well, I have been getting help from other people quite a lot, from pre-production through launch to my present marketing attempts.

My Voyager book says, for this card: 'Keep partnering, allying, and networking in ever-expanding circles. ... Make it happen by using all available ways and means.'  And also:

'Synergy requires emotional courage and physical vitality. Put your ego aside.' 

All of which I can do and have been doing, except that the physical vitality is not what it once was. Still, I can summon enough for what is necessary.

Fool-Child signifies a new beginning, and listening to one's spiritual guidance. It also contains a warning to keep my feet on the ground too and look where I'm going, or I might come a cropper. Again, a recommendation to be practical and grounded, even while staying attentive to inner messages.


4. The Ally. (Someone or something helpful to you.) MOON.

Intuition, dreams, inspiration.... Again, I am taking notice of all these. There is also a possible meaning of illusion or self-delusion: a warning to stay connected to the practical world when trying to interpret and/or implement one's dreams.

The Moon is one of my life cards, so its presence suggests the involvement of Fate or Destiny. And the events and people in my Pentridge books were indeed deeply fated connections for me, I believe. So perhaps I can trust that Destiny will also sort out what becomes of these books in the world? (But I still have to do my part. I subscribe to the wisdom of 'Trust in God and tether your horse.') 


5. The outcome. Sage of Cups: Regenerator.

Emotional wisdom.  And of course the message that things can and will regenerate, which seems to imply that these books won't just die but will keep being revived / rediscovered. I fervently hope so!

The Voyager book says: 'Drink from the unending essence of your life spirit and find happiness. Create new life vitality through joyousness.'

At the very least, it's a message not to become despondent! Even better: as Outcome it implies I'll be very happy, in the end, about the fate of the books.


Overall:

This seems to be telling me I'm doing everything right, and to keep doing the same – or even more of the same.

In a five-card reading (or in this case one extra to make it six cards) there are four from the Major Arcana – including the 'extra' card. This means that Destiny/Fate is very much involved. As we've seen by the Moon's presence, this does include my personal destiny. As I'm a psychic medium, the Priestess also represents me, reinforcing that interpretation.

So it appears I can indeed trust that things are working out as meant. Whilst keeping on keeping on, I would probably do well to curb my impatience!


I'm in Translation!

In 2012, Aussie poet, academic and publisher Kit Kelen invited a number of Australian and New Zealand poets to send him one poem, with notes which could give any translator an understanding, not only of the text but such things as the feelings, nuances, and cultural background – those things which are often ‘lost in translation.’ 142 poems with notes were published in a volume called Notes for the Translators. I was thrilled to be included.




Now a selection of these has appeared in a new book: Close Encounters of the Poetic Kind, where 23 of the original 142, with their notes, are presented in the English, as well as in Bosnian and Turkish. It was launched, on May 8 this year, at the University of Sarajevo. 


Again, I’m honoured to have been selected – from among so many brilliant, distinguished Aussie and NZ poets whose work I know and admire. 




I don’t have details of how the editors (who are also the translators) made their selections, but perhaps it can be inferred from what they say in their Foreword:

‘We hope … that you will find out something new about Australia and New Zealand. Or, at least, that you will confirm the fact that we humans are more or less the same, with similar life problems and joys, regardless of where and when we are living. That’s why we want this poetry to enter your home.’


(My piece was about a quilt I crocheted, and simultaneously about the breakdown of a marriage.)



Raising My Profile:Public Performances

I'm an old duck now, and don't get out and about as much as I once did. But if I want to sell my books, I have to let people know that I, and they, exist.

I entered the poetry Super Slam put in by Poets Out Loud in Murwillumbah as part of the latest 'Murwillumbah Arts Trail' event, a biennial exploration of artistic activities here. I didn't win the slam, and didn't expect to; I know what it takes to win these things. I was there as a profile-raising exercise – but I enjoyed myself, and enjoyed hearing the other poets too. I did my Godzilla poem (also shared earlier on TikTok) and it was welcome light relief, exactly as I intended. Afterwards a number of people told both me and Sarah Temporal, the event organiser, how much they liked it. An audience member shared a video, reposted on Instagram by Sarah: a clip of me declaiming part of my poem, with the caption: 'WE LOVE ROSEMARY. VINTAGE AND SASSY.' Oh yes, love that label!

Here's a pic of me on the night, taken by my friend Judith in the audience.



A week later (last night!) I was a featured reader in the poetry night at Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival. Kyogle's a very small town not far from here, but the Festival, started a few years ago, is rapidly growing bigger. It was quite an honour to be included. Again, I loved being in the audience, hearing all the great poetry that was shared. I shared a bit of a journey in poems, from my beginnings (back in the mid-seventies) of becoming a public poet instead of a private scribbler, through the experience a few years later of running workshops in prison. One woman in the audience told me afterwards that she too had taught in prisons in the early eighties; she was excited to meet someone else who'd done it too.

'What were you teaching?' I asked her.

'Oh ... love, basically.'

'Me too!' I said; and we hugged.

I forgot to ask anyone to take photos of me at Kyogle. There may be some official ones later. But after I got home I did take a photo of the unexpected gifts I received in return for my appearance. And very nice too!



Marketing My Books: Adventures on TikTok

 



The problem with being an author and/or publisher is always the marketing of the products. Poetry, notoriously, doesn’t sell well. And my Pentridge books, I have always thought, are probably for a niche market anyway. Then, I made some poor decisions about the printing – mainly, an over-optimistic print run instead of going straight to POD and ebooks.


So it was exciting to come across an affordable course in which a poet who markets her work VERY successfully on TikTok teaches other writers how to do likewise. She says that after exploring marketing via social media, she has found that TikTok is the platform which gets the best results.


I have now, a little belatedly, looked up her poetry and found that it is the kind currently very popular, which addresses issues like staying positive (one of her tags is 'mental health') and which doesn’t go in for much in the way of poetic devices. I’m putting it as kindly as possible, because her course itself IS practical and useful. I’m just not sure any more that the kind of poetry I write is going to sell any better on TikTok than anywhere else.


However, a kind friend sourced a tripod for me and had it delivered, and I’ve been practising like mad.  It’s been relatively easy to work out what lighting is best and where to situate the tripod, but OMG, the presentation! When I’m in live performance, I’m still a hit; I get lots of applause and people compliment me on how I ‘own the stage’ – but  on video, so far I sound and look incredibly stilted. Ah yes, it is indeed a different medium. So I haven't posted any of my attempts so far. I'll need to do a lot more experimenting yet.


TikTok itself has been quite a revelation, though. It’s kinda nuts, and much to my surprise I adore it. (Even though there's a lot of stuff I just skip over.) Almost immediately I stumbled across an Aussie comedian called Carl Barron. He’s rude, laconic and REALLY funny, in a distinctively laid-back Aussie way. I’m in love!


Somehow, I have already posted a video which I didn't mean to. I didn’t make it, at least not on purpose. Maybe TikTok gave it to me without being asked, or maybe it was some kind of accident thing in the course of my exploring the place and the buttons. Anyway, it’s my profile pic plus a funny little pop song thing which is a far cry from my kind of music, telling people that if they go away they won’t be here, or something like that. And people keep liking it – people I do know and people I don’t know. Weird! But hey, I’m not knocking it. It’s a pleasant surprise to get any likes and followers, especially with content I haven’t actually created. 



An intriguing review of my chapbook, 'Letters to a Dead Man'

By Beatriz Copello, published in Compulsive Reader

This reviewer chose to read and review my chapbook before looking at Breaking into Pentridge Prison, the memoir which it accompanies. She felt she was best qualified to deal specifically with the poetry – which is fine, as I had wanted the chapbook to be able to stand alone.

In fact the two people I approached for the back cover blurb also experienced it without seeing the memoir until later – though each had known me a long time, and I think had some awareness of my work in Pentridge.  Beatriz, however, was a stranger to me.

How fascinating to me, to see what a complete stranger with no knowledge of the back story would make of the chapbook! She found it, initially, somewhat more mysterious than I had expected or intended – but then, it does, as Tony Page says on the back cover, have 'a deliberate lack of specifics.'

Some of her comments startled me (not necessarily a bad thing); others gratified me. It's always good to be told that one's writing has moved and engaged a reader! 

Click on the link above if you too would like to check out her assessment.




Review of 'Blood from Stone' in Compulsive Reader

I'm thrilled about this wonderful review. I think this book deserves to be considered for its own sake, not only in conjunction with my two books about Pentridge.

Read the review here.