The last installment of this blog, if you want to call it that, was on June 16, 2011, and was titled ADVANCED COPIES HERE! Since then the book has been published and is making its way out into the world, and doing very well.
The actual publication date was sometime August. The first review, in the Los Angeles Times was on August 1st. To read that review go to: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/08/the-reading-life-mountain-hermit-poems.html Other reviews, blog posts, interviews, articles and quotes are available from me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My haiku poet friend, Steve Sanfield, out in northern California let me know that HAPPY LIFE was on the Poetry Foundation best seller list, otherwise I’d never have known. I was shocked, incredulous. It started in September with HAPPY LIFE at #3, then over the weeks since then it dropped to #10, #17, #22, then back up to #21 and now it’s at #12.
Being on the poetry bestseller list means, you understand, that you sold maybe 3 copies of the book that week. This is, after all, poetry. It’s fun though to watch it jump around. To view the list, go to: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/books/contemporary
My friend Jane Hirshfield, who was just ahead of me on the best seller list with her new book—COME, THIEF—in September said, in a note, “Are you running around doing readings, as I am, or is your book sauntering into readers hands all on its own (with a little help from Garrison Keillor)? If the latter—kudos! If the former—sympathy!” The comment of a true introverted poet.
I’ve never done fewer readings from a new book. Bookstores just aren’t asking me to come read and other venues aren’t either. I’ve done a few bookstores here in Vermont and one festival and William Parker, my avant garde jazz bassist and multi-instrumentalist friend, and I just completed a mini-tour on which I read poems from HAPPY LIFE, but other than those things, I’ve never read so little from a new book.
One of the answers to Jane’s question is Garrison Keillor and THE WRITER’S ALMANAC. Keillor has read three poems from HAPPY LIFE since September 26th, thus proving what I’ve always said that THE WRITER’S ALMNAC is THE POOR POET’S OPRAH. Every time I’m on there my sales go up for a few days.
The other answer to Jane’s question is—I think, although I’ve got no way to prove it—I joined Facebook and Twitter about this time last year. I’m in touch, therefore, with a whole new audience. Facebook and Twitter must account for some of the increase in sales of this book.
Also, my publisher, Copper Canyon Press, has available on Kindle now all three of my books of poems. I’ll not know how many books were sold electronically until I get a royalty statement next May or June.
The flurry of first publication is over. I’m home and hunkered down for the winter and off to work on other projects, like a new book for a year from now called PARK SONGS.
HAPPY LIFE is going to have to make its way on its own for a while.
18 November 2011