Reciprocity, Authenticity and Service

It’s that time of year when authors are gently letting their audience know that they have publications available for holiday reading and gifts, and a time when I get swamped with emails from my How to Write Poetry followers who have written, polished and published a first book and are wondering how to successfully increase their online and real life presence for sales and related entrepreneurial gigs.

This is the quick answer I just emailed a How to Write Poetry reader focussing on building and maintaining win-win relationships.

To me, making your book and related business more publicly accessible is best accomplished with a mindset of reciprocity, authenticity and service, knowing your audience is out there and that it’s your job to find them and mutually support each other. In my case, being an author is a lifelong marathon, so I prioritize integrity in all interactions. It’s not just about pushing one book at any cost to interpersonal connections, it’s about mutually respectful short and long term relationships. I value ethics as a way of being, so my approach to my writing coaching business and book sales is in alignment with who I am.

My method is what would be called a soft sell. I join a large set of mainstream networks like Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. and hold collaborative events as much as possible. In terms of business like writing coaching and poetry workshops that emerge indirectly from having published books, I’ve learned over the years the importance of charging properly, helping others where possible, billing on time, not getting swindled, protecting boundaries and finding your tribe. Trust your gut feelings and seek out reciprocity. The success of the how lies as much in attitude as in strategy. I have some specific advice in this podcast and post:

My biggest struggle though isn’t with how to go bigger on gigging, but setting limits and protecting writing time, which I talk about in this post:

A favourite quote of mine with regard to healthy work/life balance and boundaries is, “Do what you love and outsource the rest.” 

In a nutshell, marketing a book is like operating any other small firm or arts organization. We connect person by person, business card by business card (have a beautiful one from Moo or somewhere that’s too nice to be thrown away), fair exchange by fair exchange and then bring our communities together through free social networking sites. I love the expression, “Go where the love is,” in terms of offering services that feed us and finding people who appreciate us. 

The answer is balance, mutual respect and working with your personality and natural inclinations.

November Flowers Poetry & Art Collaboration

Thanks to everyone who joined us live on Wednesday and to all of you for taking the time to check out the video. The presentation is along the lines of an Albert Camus theme, “In the depth of winter I found there was within me an invincible summer.” May the light of all seasons fill and heal you. 

You’re Invited to November Flowers – A Brief Interlude of Nature Poetry

Journey through the imagery of seasons with League of Canadian Poets author Cynthia Sharp. In a twenty minute reading of her nature poems, Cynthia will take you through the colour, sounds and serenity of west coast life, followed by a brief Q & A. You’ll hear classic award winning pieces, as well as brand new poems for an upcoming collaboration with Bowen Island artist Jilly Watson. Join us on Wednesday, November 25th at 7 PM PST for a refreshing splash of renewal.

Intentionality & Creativity

It was a treat to be the guest speaker on CJSF’s Powered by Age program hosted by the dynamic, wonderful Charlotte Sista C Ferrell. I open with my Alone and Together meditative poem honouring the gift of time this season offers, then lead a brief sensory writing workshop on Intentionality and Creativity. It’s all here with Charlotte’s invigorating music selections to get your blood and pens flowing:

We Sing Ourselves Back Jude Neale Retrospective is Free to View

Journey through ten books of astounding, heartfelt, meaningful poetry with poet and singer Jude Neale. Let her imagery and healing voice transport you through over a decade of crafted verse. We welcome you to celebrate her life’s work with two-three poems from each publication, followed by a Q & A on topics such as how haiku is opening to more creative interpretation in the twenty-first century, with much gratitude to our generous sponsors, the League of Canadian Poets and The Federation of British Columbia Writers. Plus, there’s the added bonus of seeing how six months without a haircut is treating me 🙂 Jude managed to look stunning as always.

Helpful Websites for Other Genres – Screenwriting

If you’re like me, you may compose in more than one genre and look for excellent tips from writers in a variety of fields. I’m a screenwriter and fiction writer as well as a poet and enjoy the challenges of the different mediums, both the overlap and the way each genre pushes me to employ different skill sets. I’m currently setting up a new fantasy screenplay and found this site incredibly helpful in terms of breaking the longline down into a step by step process:

I’ll keep adding into this post as I find other worthy resources for screenwriting, so feel free to bookmark it.

Thanks for journeying with me!

Free Nature Writing Workshop with Cynthia

My nature writing workshops are coming online. If you’d like to try Writing from the Senses for FREE, just let my hostess, the Federation of British Columbia Writers Islands Rep Jackie Carmichael, know by emailing her at so she can send you the Zoom link for our July 20th, 7 PM Pacific time workshop. We’ll do a guided writing evening much like the first chapter of How to Write Poetry. Open to writers and aspiring writers through the world. In the mean time, happy poeting 🙂