A year of immersing myself in the icy world of Antarctica and polar exploration finally bore fruit last night with the launch of my new chapbook, MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE: Shackleton's Endurance Expedition. And not only that but a chance to interview my editor, the lovely Sam Smith of Original Plus books. The event was hosted by Leicester Writers' Club, a wonderful community of writers, and Sam's comments struck a real chord with them.
Sam spilled the beans on how the world of small press publishing looks from the inside. Sam explained that as an aspiring novelist, it took him 23 years to break into print. Editors would accept his books only to find that the salespeople wouldn't run with it. Finally he turned to poetry and got published within months. This fuelled his desire later to get into small press publishing himself as a way of contributing to that community of poets:
'I do it because it was so important to me to get something into print. I wanted to give that opportunity to other writers.'
We discussed the economic realities of small press publishing. This is a one man press - virtually a cottage industry with all the chapbooks printed up at home. With his poetry magazine, The Journal, his biggest cost is postage for subscribers. It's a 'hand-to-mouth' operation and very much a labour-of-love for this dedicated writer and editor. To find out what Sam had to say about how English Poetry changes, what he looks for in submissions and the future of print publishing as e-books take off, have a look at this fascinating interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4A-5jCLusw&feature=youtu.be (many thanks to Ambrose Musiyiwa for posting this)
It was timely that as I prepared for this event, I was being captivated all over again by Attenborough's ravishing images of the white continent in FROZEN PLANET on TV. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mfl7n Here were the wind-tortured icescapes, the mighty glaciers and the wild creatures of the South that early polar explorers encountered on foot. Don't miss this beautfiul series. And you can catch readings of my poems inspired by all that magnificence on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9VusaWXVW4&feature=share&noredirect=1
And if you're wanting to find out more about my book on my website, hang on! My trusty techie is working on a revamped website right now and we will unveil this in a week or so.
So watch this space ... and have a look at Original Plus for this and many other titles. See: http://www.freewebs.com/thesamsmith/originalpluschapbooks.htm