Red pulled a tray of shortbread cookies out of the oven just in time to hear the bell on the door toll for Gail Thornton. Claret was whipping cream to top off the dark mocha because Red wanted to talk to Gail about making a folder full of poems into a book and getting into the hands of readers.
M3: Poetry is known for very little editing. What did you learn about your writing through the editing process?
GT: (Laughs) I didn’t know poetry is known for little editing. I don’t commune with many other poets, and haven’t talked about the process much. I edit each poem a lot before I feel it’s done. One poem in TROAF was edited fifty-one times before it was completed, and I save hard copies of each edit just in case I over-edit and have to retrace my steps to be understandable.
M3: That sounds more like methodology than editing. (Grins) When you decided to publish The Regret of a Flower did you have any idea how much work went into the final stages?
GT: I had no idea how much work would be involved, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. My manuscript collected dust in a box, so I was eager to do the necessary work to see it to completion. It was invigorating work.
M3: Was that your biggest surprise during publishing or was it something else?
GT: The biggest surprise during publishing was breaking down a lot of varied poems into chapters, and finding out I really do have several themes I write about. Before I did this, I just saw my work as being all over the spectrum of subjects, but it isn’t true.
M3: I have a feeling a lot of poets believe the same thing about their poetry before it gets into a book. It meant there were structural changes to your manuscript. How did those changes help?
GT: The structural changes TROAF went through were mainly collating the poems, organizing and naming the chapters, and then organizing the chapters in the order in which I wanted them to appear. These changes helped my understanding of my work immensely and turned what seemed like a scattered mess into a cohesive whole.
M3: What are you working on now?
GT: I am working on a second book of poetry and my second memoir. I plan to have the memoir done by 2014. The poetry book will come slower because of my process.
M3: Methinks 51 edits take time. (Giggles) Beta reading takes time as well. What did you learn through the beta process?
GT: Beta reading taught me to be impersonal and analytic about my own work. It was such an enlightening experience, and I felt honored to have another author’s work in my hands to help it become the best book it could possibly be. I now look for continuity and whether or not I am reaching an open audience with my writing.
M3: Beta reading can make us look at other authors in a different light. How do you feel about your colleagues and the authors who helped you bring TROAF into being?
GT: My colleagues are my nearest and dearest friends now. They understand my drive, my creative spirit, and what it takes to bring an idea to fruition. I love them!
M3: Being a part changes the way we view many things. How has publishing TROAF changed the way you view yourself as an author?
GT: I finally feel legitimate and successful. The success is not anchored primarily in sales, but in the accomplishment of a life long goal.
M3: Sales will not hurt, though, will they? What is your marketing strategy?
GT: My marketing strategy is to reach as many possible poets and curious readers as I can. I use my blog, posting to Google+. I also use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and plan to do interviews with local cable television. I am preparing press releases for print outlets.
M3: Interviews always help. What is your favorite social media platform, and how do you plan to capitalize on it?
GT: I prefer using Facebook. I have created a professional page, and linked it to Twitter. All of my posts on my professional page are then sent to my Twitter feed. I will use this capacity to reach as many interested people as possible.
M3: Linking media is always a time/labor saver when you have different audiences on different platforms. What you say is important, regardless of platform. How important is the jackback text to the success of a book?
GT: The jackback will make or break your sales. Readers don’t have time to browse through the pages, so they rely on the jackback to either grab their interest or turn their interest elsewhere.
M3: What other advice would you give to an unpublished or novice author?
GT: I advise unpublished authors to stay with their goals, believe in themselves, and to seek out Redmund Productions for the best treatment, support, and potential their book deserves.
M3: Thank you for the plug. How has RedmundPro changed the way you approach writing books?
GT: I am not afraid anymore. I didn’t have to do it alone, and was treated with the utmost professionalism and support and expertise that I would never have had through a traditional publisher. I look forward to my next experience in publishing with them, and know how to hone my book before I even submit it now.
M3: Wrap it up for us, Gail. In 15 words or less, why should the M3 Readers buy The Regret of a Flower?
GT: My book is a treat for those looking for an intense and fascinating poetic journey.
M3: I look forward to talking to you again about other books. Thank you.
Darling M3 Readers,
Take a few moments to get to know more about Gail. To keep up with upcoming news about Gail’s books, visit her blog. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Pick up your copy of The Regret of a Flower on RedmundPro.
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© Red Dwyer 2013
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