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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking of assembling a book of poetry and flash fiction, and I was curious to see if anybody else had done the same and what sort of sales you get out of it. How many poems would you put in a single volume and what sort of prices are reasonable? Could any of you recommend any favorite indy poet so I can get a look at what an audience would expect?
 

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I have a collection of poetry from when I was in high school, that I was thinking of releasing .99

I haven't put it together formally yet, as it would be my first release as an author, and I have no idea how many pages it would equate to.  It would be about 20 poems, and I think I'll include some of my photography as well.
 

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I run a pretty big poetry contest every year and it is judged by a well-known poet who blurbs it.

Still, the book is a loss leader. I LOVE the books. And we work VERY hard on them. But even with heavy-hitter poets backing them, unknown poets don't sell. PM me for numbers, but let's just say, not going to earn back even a modest cover or design job.

Do it for the joy of it. For the love of it. But not for the money in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks TexasGirl. I really wouldn't expect a return or anything. I just don't want to put out a book of poetry and have that one random person who actually happens to buy it feel as though he's getting ripped off. If I do this, I want to make sure I'm putting out something decent. I figured the first half will be poems. The second, flash fiction. But how many pieces should I include? 50? 100?
 

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Our contest asks for 20-40 pages of poetry. After a whole lotta research, we figured out that was a typical chapbook size, plus with the main print on demand companies, 48 pages is when you go up in price big time (our poets tend to do a lot of readings, and we like to provide them inexpensive paper copies to sell.) 40 pages + front matter generally falls under 48.

So I'd say that this is a pretty good ballpark for you.
 

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I publish poetry as well as fiction. It's particularly difficult to format for Kindle but we have mastered it. You can see how tricky it is by the number of badly formatted freebie poetry books available. Sadly, people download these to see if they might enjoy poetry on Kindle and decide they don't due to the bad productions.

It's very hard getting people to buy poetry on Kindle, even with low prices but I do want to try to encourage people to try well formatted poetry books as it's so important to support poetry. It's very hard to sell and it would be a pity if the boom in ebook reading couldn't help poetry as well as fiction and nonfiction.

Our paperback poetry collections are either 64 pages or 80 pages, and that usually includes about 9 pages of other matter such as title pages, contents and acknowledgements. So it's about 55-70 pages of poetry. We also have a competition (running at the moment if you look on the competition page of http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk ), judged by a major poet, and where all proceeds go to help the homeless in Cold Weather Shelters. As a prize I work with a poet to create a chapbook and for that we publish 20 pages of poetry. It's the only chapbook we publish. About 20-30 pages is right for a chapbook. After that it's getting close to collection length.

I think on Kindle people could enjoy a poetry book of any length within those ranges. Short probably works quite well. Clickable contents are very important so people can go to each poem and look individual poems up easily. We'll be doing themed anthologies with a few poems by each of our poets and I don't think I'd want it to be too long. No more than 40 or 50 pages, and shorter might be better.

Formatting is the nightmare. I'm so pleased to see someone producing poetry for Kindle. I run free online writing projects (in the virtual world of Second Life and also on writtenword.ning.com) and poetry is so incredibly popular, contrary to rumour.
 

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Fellow KB'er DC Bourone has had success with poetry of a somewhat different nature.

Injured Reserves is an epic poem which attracted a vocal but small group of fans.  It found a much larger audience once it was picked up as a Kindle Single.
 

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In the midst of all that matters
Lies the rhyming word
With the cover torn and tattered
The stanzas are left unheard

Fret not upon the feast
That lay upon your table
Focus instead among the least
That which has no label

And in the dawn of waking days
Let forth a new beginning
Set free the words that lay
In sorrow and in grinning

In other words, if you have something to share, share it. Don't fret over price. Poetry is a gift. Amazon insists on .99 minimum. I am thinking about publishing some of my poems also. If I could, I would publish it and give it away on Amazon just to get my name out some more and for the knowledge that people are enjoying something that came from me.
We all have an abundance of words (the feast) which many of us have turned into a novel or many novels. And many of us have poems that we have written (That which has no label). Share your word, happy or sad, that is what it is meant for.
Don't expect much. Don't expect anything. Know that there are no great poets. There are no bad poets. Competitions are biased as they are judged by a few people who look for what they personally consider to be good poetry. But the reality of it is that poetry is a personal art that will mean the world to one person and nothing to another. One thousand people may walk over a poem with the same respect as one might use a door mat and yet, there will be one person who frames and hangs it above their mantle. So, write, enjoy, share.  = )
 

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Look at poetry books online to see what's out there. The writers who most often make a buck from poesy are either a part of the academic circuit, or they are oral poets, open mic, that sort of thing, and have large followings. Their gigs ring up 2 million hits on YouTube. However, give your best as an artist and good things might--might--happen to you and your words. It's a beech to format for Kindle, as Adele says. I'm finding that to be true now, while I work with a fellow poet to format a long juvenile poem for Kindle and Smashwords.
 
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