Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why I Published My Book of Poetry Now. And How I Did It.

Did you know I've been writing poetry for over a decade? If you've followed posts on Electric Thought, you've seen creative writing posted here since 2010.

But now I've officially released my first published book of poems, For Poets Must Love. It's available on Amazon and includes 32 of my best pieces.

"I could imagine the world, life, death, love, and capture the residual feeling those thoughts left in my body."

Even though I officially started writing when I was a kid (when my grandfather passed, I inherited an empty green accounting notebook. I wrote a poem in it when I was 7 and haven't stopped. [I still have that notebook and poem and carefully write it in till this day.]), I would say that I began my journey as a poet and writer as I was turning 18.

Poetry allowed me a medium to express myself and sink into the moments that surrounded me. 

It helped me get through the confusion of loneliness as I moved away from home in Rhode Island and understand the connection I felt with people. I could philosophize and share my insights on paper.

Now, I've put my best poems into For Poets Must Love because I need to share my writing with the world. 

"I dream of becoming a bestselling author. And this book is my first step."

The inspiration to finally publish my work in a book came from multiple sources. First off, being a bestselling author is my dream. I've wanted that for years. I've written hundreds of short stories, started three plays, and have a completed first draft of a novel. And of course I have my nearly 100 poems...

But my bestselling author dream needed a push, some momentum.
I got that from a couple of places...

In the summer of 2015, I enrolled in a found poetics course at Frequency Writers in Providence, RI. In the class, we would "steal" words from other sources and turn them into our own poems. What fun!

During the Frequency class, one valuable lesson shot out at me. While this realization might be embarrassingly simple, it struck me where it counts. I realized: All prolific writers and artists share a commitment to producing good work consistently. 

A light bulb flickered on in my head and then began to burn like the sun as this truth sunk in:


"Production is more important than perfection."

Through the process of producing, artists can master their craft. But if the artists waits for perfection, or that special moment when things are just right, she'll probably never get enough experience to launch to the next level.

Inspired by the Frequency Writers class, I cut up over a dozen pieces of mail from debt consolidation companies. I then arranged and glued the words onto a fake $35,000 check included in one of the marketing letters.

I titled my piece "Always be the same amount." It was accepted for publication in the anthology "Missing Providence." On the first Saturday of November 2015, I read my work at Books on the Square.

With my creative work produced, I needed to take it public


"Focus on one thing at a time. Cut out all other distractions."

The Frequency Writer course taught me that production needs to be a priority. But then Brendon Burchard's online course, "Achievement Accelerator," took this simple idea to a whole new level.

Inspired to grow together, Rebecca Naomi and I began Burchard's course at the start of November 2015. It was my second time doing it, but I knew it would be valuable just the same.

Throughout "Achievement Accelerator," Burchard helps his students achieve more, faster. How does he do this? He starts by helping everybody gain clarity so they can realize what's important to them. He then helps us strip away distraction and move toward these things with abandon.

My writing career was near the top of my list. And I knew I had to publish For Poets Must Love.

"For then we are Gods." -For Poets Must Love


Inspired to finish the project that I've been working on for years, I took out my manuscript and began editing my poems and formatting the document for self publication on Amazon's Kindle.

I woke up early. Hours before I had to start writing for my clients. And dedicated morning after morning to finishing the project. To producing the result I wanted.

This is how I self published my book on Kindle...


With the help of the kind people on YouTube, I learned how to publish my book of poems. I formatted the Microsoft Word document to make sure every header had the "heading 1" style and the body text had the "normal" style. I linked the table of contents to the headings using bookmarks and hyperlinks. I saved it as a RFT file and uploaded it onto Amazon.

Jonah from AnUnfairEdge, demonstrated step-by-step how to format the book. I tested my manuscript on a Kindle device with his suggestion and it looked great.

Next, I designed a cover with a Death to the Stock Photo image and the design templates available on Canva.com. I learned the entire self publishing process in a week and would be able to replicate it again and again with all my future books to come.

After my work was complete, I bought the copyright for my book of poems from the Library of Congress. Then I upload it onto Kindle Direct Publishing.

Now that For Poets Must Love is available for sale, what's next?

For Poets Must Love by Alexander Smith
For Poets Must Love only on Amazon Kindle

As I write this blog post, my book is still in the pre-order phase. You can reserve your copy and when it's ready for distribution on Tuesday November 24, 2015, it'll automatically be sent to your Kindle device or app.

Although the creative part of my book of poems is complete, I am not yet done with my work. As the countdown to its launch gets closer, I get more excited that my poems will be available for you to read as a book.

"Everyone who buys my book brings me closer to realizing my dream of becoming a bestselling author."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket. The way I see it, For Poets Must Love is a catalyst and a reason for me to get more of my work out to you. Think of it as the first of many books yet to come from Alexander Smith. The self-publishing process taught me what I need to do to get my work out to you again and again.

And as I mentioned above, I've already started three plays, have a completed draft of a full-length novel, and about 70 other poems waiting to get published. After For Poets Must Love is released on 11/24/2015, I'll work to promote it and tell everyone I can about it.

But once the buzz dies down, I'll get to work on my next creative project. Why? Because I want you to have another piece to read from this up-and-coming bestselling author.

Until then...

Order my book of poetry For Poets Must Love on Amazon today! 


You'll get: 

  • 32 poems written with passion while I explored Los Angeles, Portland, and New York City
  • Thought-provoking work that'll reinvigorate you like a cup of coffee
  • Poems that will revive your desire to live life to the fullest

It's been an absolute pleasure completing my first published book and sharing my work with everybody. I can't wait to hear feedback and thoughts about it.

Stay tuned for more work from me soon to come.

Sincerely,

Alexander Smith

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Poetry Reading at Books on the Square in Providence, RI


After my piece got published in Frequency Writers' "Missing Providence" (https://www.createspace.com/5673841), I was invited to read it at Books on the Square on the East Side of Providence along with 7 other awesome poets including Al Anderson. My beautiful Rebecca Naomi came with me and filmed me reading. Today I uploaded the clip to YouTube. Check it out and subscribe for more writing-related videos!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Descending

You’ll regret that mistake.
I forgive myself
It’s too late. You’re not good enough.
I don’t have to listen to you
But you can’t stop now. There’s too much to do and much too little time.
That’s only a thought
You messed up and they don’t have what you want. Now hurry. Start Plan B now.
I don’t need to rush
They’re so slow. They’re stupid. You’re stupid for judging them. You’re a failure.
No I’m not! Stop!
You’re about to lose it all. Everything you’ve worked so hard to build. You can’t keep this act up.
I’m not acting
You’re a fake and a phony. How can they let you go on like this?
But I’m being myself. Right?
If they only knew who you were underneath. If they saw your uncertainty, your doubt, they’d not have to think twice. They’d know the truth if you shed your skin. Beneath it all, you’re a failure.
You really think so?
Fail. Failure. Fail. Failure. Failure fails again.
Hello? Failure? Anyone home?
You’re nothing.
Nothing…
You’re never going to make it like you hoped.
Never going to make it…
It’s too late. You’re not good enough.

Not good enough…

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Success Story Busking in Mount Dora, FL

Saturday was the day. With my guitar strapped to my back, I hopped on my bike and took the back roads to downtown Mount Dora outside of Orlando where I had set out to play my guitar on the grassy lawn for anyone who'd listen at the Mount Dora Craft Fair.

My goal was simple and my goal was two fold. The first part was for me to actually go out and be bold enough to play music in front of people. The second part of my goal was to make at least $1.

Because I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Music, I have acquired enough knowledge to teach myself to play the guitar. I've been casually learning the instrument on my own. Though I've played countless gigs with various rock bands behind my drum set and even singing some of my own songs, I had never yet played guitar in public for an audience besides a few friends here and there. This was to be my first experience playing guitar for the public.

When I arrived at the craft fair, I had underestimated the amount of people that'd be there. Though I heard 200,000 people go to Mount Dora every year to attend this festival, the swarms of people shuffling up and down Mount Dora's normally quiet streets was surprising. I set up shop on a grassy section of Alexander Street just one block from the city center.

With my instrument in hand and my black case open and loaded with my own dollar (to get things started), I tuned up the acoustic guitar. Then I warmed my fingers up with some chords and I felt nervous. But I had achieved my first part of the goal. I was in the city playing the guitar. Check!

I started running through the songs I had written and jammed on some chord changes. As people walked past, I'd feel anxious at first because I wanted to make sure to not make any mistakes in my chord changes and fingering positions. I wanted it to sound good for them.

As the minutes passed and I warmed up and started to relax, I let myself get into the music and groove into the chord changes. I started to smile and look up at the people who were walking past me on the sidewalk.

I made eye contact and share a smile with a man wearing a red polo shirt as hee was about 10 feet away. He reached into the pockets of his khaki shorts and took his wallet out. He tossed some money into my case and it was more than $1!

I was overjoyed and my confidence surged. I felt proud to have done what I set out to do. I kept playing and even got bold enough to start singing some of the songs I'd written. When I started singing, a young lady walked all the way across the street and give me $1 saying, "you sound very good." Then another couple came by to give me a dollar.

I kept playing and really enjoyed my first busking experience. I did much better than I expected and made some friends in the process. I'll be doing it again very soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recognizing a New Passion

So what are you passions? In the past this question used to stump me. I was nervous to identify my passions because along with it, I set an expectation on myself. This question of passion comes up a lot when you start analyzing your life purpose, what career path you want to take and when you just want to improve the overall quality of your life. I felt that if I knew what made me happy that is what I was passionate about, I was doing something wrong by not living a life full passion.

I've realized it's much simpler than that. For me a passion is just something I enjoy doing. It doesn't have to be something I'd kill for! It can just make me happy or feel good. It can be something that interests me or something that I find myself thinking or reading about over and over again.

Recently, I discovered a new passion. Healing Crystals! This one caught me out of the blue last week. It started I was watching the Spirit Science video about Crystals. I already owned a few crystals and had learn the basics of how crystals affect our seven chakras while I was studying to be a yoga teacher in Bushwick last year. I also had receive a crystal healing reiki session in Manhattan last spring. So I wasn't a complete beginner but the video opened my eyes to the possibility behind the use of crystals.

Since watching that video, I've been passionate about increasing my collection of crystals. I want to experiment with them and see how they influence the way I feel and how I interact with the world. I recently purchased a singing clear quartz crystal from a metaphysical shop The Crystal Closet in Mount Dora. My new beautiful crystal really enhances the vibration of any crystal it comes into contact with. When I place a rose quartz or green crystal on my heart chakra, then touch it with my singing quartz, feelings of love and compassion fill me up.

This brings me back to the purpose of this post. Passions can come from something small and grow into something big. The key to identifying a passion, at least for me, is to fearlessly recognize what I'm interested in and what makes me happy. When I do, I find that my life naturally begins to be filled with more passion simply because I've acknowledged its existence in my life.