Rewind ten years and you would have found me spending my summer, when the secondary school I worked at in London was closed for the holidays, reading my poetry at spoken word events across London. At the time, my poetry was being published in literary magazines while I built up my CV/resume as I searched for a poetry book publisher.
Fast forward a few years to 2015, when Eyewear Publishing released my first poetry pamphlet of 25 poems. This was published as a paperback only. As an unknown, or not widely known poet, I promoted my work and sold copies by attending book launch events, the Free Verse Fair in London, the Hammersmith and Fulham Arts Festival and other spoken word events. I read my work to audiences, answered poet Q&A sessions, and signed copies of my book to people who bought copies.
Fast forward to last year in 2021. By this point, I’d had my third poetry collection published. My three collections: A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021) were all released in paperback. Same as a decade ago, I sold copies through spoken word events where I read samples to an audience and signed copies for buyers afterwards.
This year, I decided that going forward I’m going to publish my poetry books in ebook as well as paperback, in order to reach a wider variety of readers. This decision was after doing a little market research into the formats that readers prefer. Of the people I talked to who read poetry, all but one said that they prefer downloading books on their e-readers, rather than buying paperback copies, mainly through ease of accessibility. If they love the work, they might buy a paperback as a collector’s copy later, though often don’t.
Ebooks and poetry. Even when I think about it, I have to wrap my head around it. It takes some getting used to, but facts are facts: lately I’ve been selling more ebooks of my poetry than paperback copies. That’s not to say that ebook sales have outstripped my paperback sales when comparing total figures sold. However, I’m happy to move with the times in order to move books: for the foreseeable future, ebooks of my poetry collections are on the menu.