In my search for help with promoting my chapbook, I've found a number of articles, interviews, and chapbooks (yes, chapbooks about promoting chapbooks. meta-chaps.). I've amassed said resources below for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Great interview with poet Heather McNaugher over at LDP Distro. McNaugher covers so many topics, including one that I feel is super important, yet often overlooked: ask yourself, what have you done to promote someone else's poetry lately?
Jennifer Bosveld, President of Pudding House Publications, discusses, from an editors perspective, how to promote a poetry chapbook, among other things, in her article, Chapbooks—Flying Like Hummingbirds Exciting the Air Around Them: Marketing Your Chaps with Limited If Any Help From the Publisher. Longwinded title and the article does wander into some of Bosveld's personal opinions, however, it is still incredibly useful.
WordClay talks about building an audience based on your geographic location, as well other other things like subject matter of the poetry. For example, if your poems are about gardening, you might do a reading at your local gardening center or gardener's club. Other aspects covered include book signings, book tours, reviews, and online marketing.
I have found a handful of places that review chapbooks: Prick of the Spindle, The Chapbook Store, Fiddler Crab, and NewPages. There is also this low-key website, but I can't tell how often it's updated. Also, none of these promise to write the review when you send a review copy.
My publisher recommended two books; Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Levinson and The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. If I have time, I'll do some reviews of these books.
So far, the takeaway I'm getting from most of the resources I've found is this: readings sell chapbooks. Readings seem to be the most important factor in terms of building a new audience. Of course, if you have a pre-order phase like I do, you'll want to have a plan that taps into your current network. I'm feeling pretty good about that though. But thinking in advance, I've already begun to create a spreadsheet of readings. But that's a whole other blog post.
Next time on Chapbook Rookie: Cover Art!