Saturday, 6 November 2021

Owl Unbound First Birthday Special Offer

 


Is it really a year since the launch of my collection Owl Unbound? Indeed it is. 

I have belatedly set up a bookshop for my books. Yes, I know, I should have done it a year ago! The bookshop is for British buyers only. Sorry but Brexit makes sending abroad too complex. The website is here: https://zoebrookspoetry.bigcartel.com/product/owl-unbound

To celebrate both the book's birthday and the launch of the shop there's a special offer on the collection. Buy a copy of the book and get postage free. To claim your free postage insert OWL2021W in the Discount Code box at the checkout. Offer ends at New Year,

Friday, 27 August 2021

Isabelle Kenyon - Promoting A Book

 

Isabelle Kenyon

I do not find self promotion very easy. In fact I cringe and procrastinate everytime I have to do it. Yes, I'm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the first more so than the others, but it is not enough. And my publishers have a right to expect me to do some book promo, afterall they have invested time and money into making my book a success and so should I (time at least).  So about six months ago I decided I would invest in some book promotion. 

I turned to Isabelle Kenyon to act as publicist for me, on the recommendation on Anna Saunders. Over 3 months Isabelle got me 7 reviews with more hopefully on the way, a spoken word event, a blog interview,  youtube feature, 2 radio appearances and a podcast appearance. 

I was delighted with Isabelle's hard work. Of course Isabelle has a great list of contacts, which would take me ages to achieve and then I would need the temerity to approach them. But Isabelle also gave me the confidence to relax and focus on what I was good at - reading at open mics and giving readings. 

If you are interested in using Isabelle's services, I recommend them - you can find out about them here: https://isabellekenyonpoetry.wordpress.com/author-services/ 

For people who are perhaps earlier in their writing journey and are experiencing financial difficulties there are still a few free places on a workshop Isabelle is leading for the Cheltenham Poetry Festival next Tuesday available here https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cheltenhampoetryfestival/t-axarox


Sunday, 14 March 2021

Performing Poems from Owl Unbound


I thought I'd bring you up-to-date with what I have been doing and what is coming up. In these pandemic days I have been busy performing poems from my collection Owl Unbound online

The video above of my poem The Gypsies in the Room is one which featured in the Dialect - Supporting Rural Writers Women's Day events

Most recently I read at the Gloucestershire Poetry Society's Crafty Crows alongside the wonderful Adam Horovitz. GPS have now posted a film of the event (shared above) on their Youtube channel. My reading starts at 24.18. 

 

I also took part in Raised Voices, the GPS's International Women's Day event, which they have also posted on their channel. The event featured 16 Gloucestershire poets, including Angela France, Sharon Larkin, Maria Stadnicka, Tish Camp, and Belinda Rimmer. But mostly I have been enjoying reading at Open Mics at a wide variety of poetry events which have taken me to the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales and all places in between.

I was delighted to take part in Damien Donnelly's excellent poetry podcast Eat the Storms 

Readings Coming Up

12th May at 7pm at the Evesham Festival of Words I will be reading poems on the theme of Home and Away alongside Anna Saunders and Ben Ray.

16th June at 7.30 at Fenspeak, I will be reading a personal selection of my poems

7th July at 7pm  at the Wirral Festival of Firsts I will be reading with Anna Saunders (again) and Simon Griffiths on the theme of  The Wild and the Urban.

20th July at 7.30pm at Poetry Teignmouth at the Mill

10th August at 7.30pm at Flight of the Dragonflies 

18th October at 7pm at the Gloucester Poetry Festival I will be reading alongside Josephine Lay and Stuart Carswell

And there's more, but I am not yet allowed to go public about them yet!



Monday, 7 December 2020

Buying books in this time of COVID
















Here in England bookshops have been categorised by the UK government as "non-essential". Some people, myself included, would disagree with that categorisation, but that's how it is. The impact of the categorisation has been that when we were in lockdown physical bookshops had to close, leaving the way open to Amazon.  

Now the restrictions have lifted and some (but not all) local bookshops have opened. I know many of you will be heading to your local bookshop to buy your books and in so doing support the shopowner. That is not an option for all of us however. So what else can we do?

In the first instance if you want to help your local bookshop, but can't get there for some reason, you could phone or email them and see if they will supply your books directly to you. That way they get all the profit from the sale. Some bookshops have a website of their own (check Google for details). 

My local bookshop has remained closed, due to the owner having to shield a vulnerable family member. Early on in the pandemic I tried to order books from her, but she was unable to supply them. She recommended using Hive https://www.hive.co.uk/  - an online bookstore where you can nominate your local bookshop to receive a minimum 10% if bought online (UK standard postage is free). So I did and have done so several times since. However Hive does not stock everything, only what their wholesaler, Gardners, supplies. 

The same is true of Bookshop.org https://bookshop.org, which arrived this year with a great fanfare. With the stated aim of "supporting local bookshops", Bookshop.org offers two ways of supporting bookshops: a) your local bookshop might have a shop page or b) you can nominate your bookshop as you would on Hive. However when I looked at my local bookshop's page, there were only 31 books to choose from. There has been a lot of excitement about this "alternative to Amazon".  But more recently there have been some critical voices, suggesting that this gifthorse needs to have its teeth examined. 

Remember neither Bookshop.org nor Hive will supply every book that is published - my collection is not supplied by Gardners and so it is one such book. But you don't just have a choice between the Amazon big bad wolf and Bookshop or Hive. 

For many of us Waterstones is our local bookshop and it has an excellent online presence https://www.waterstones.com. I would say that - they stock my book! As does Foyles https://www.foyles.co.uk/Blackwells also has an online website https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/.

But there are other places to buy books. For starters you could buy from the publisher or the author. This is especially true of the specialist presses and markets, like poetry. You may not be supporting your local bookshop, but you are supporting the people who create the books. 

When it comes to online bookshops, if you want to avoid buying from Amazon also avoid Abebooks and Bookdepository as both are owned by the American giant. Books etc. https://www.booksetc.co.uk/ on the otherhand is British and has a huge selection of books both new and old and is nearly always cheaper than Amazon. 

There is an online marketplace to rival Amazon: Ebay. You'll usually be dealing with a small bookseller on https://ebay.co.uk, but some of the bigger online booksellers are also there, e.g. World of Books and WorderyIt is always worth looking there, especially if the book you want is hard to find. And yes, my collection is available there - new - from a bookseller who is able to offer it on Ebay in Australia and the US. 

These suggestions are just based on my experience of bookhunting. Do you have any alternative suggestions? What about good booksellers outside of the UK? Please add your comments below. 

Magic Realism: Waiting for Bluebeard by Helen Ivory

My review of an amazing poetry collection is available in full on my Magic Realism Books Blog

Magic Realism: Waiting for Bluebeard by Helen Ivory:   'Waiting for Bluebeard' tries to understand how a girl could grow up to be the woman living in Bluebeard's house. The story be...

Sunday, 1 November 2020

My Poetry Collection Owl Unbound

 



My collection Owl Unbound (pub Indigo Dreams Publishing) was launched on the 23rd October at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival. And I was joined by three very special poet friends - Fiona Sampson, Anna Saunders, and Adam Horovitz. It was a wonderful night. 

Now comes the business of selling it! You can buy a copy direct from me for £9.50 (postage is free in the UK) by emailing me on zoe.brooks@googlemail.com. If you want I can sign it for you. Alternatively it is available from my publishers Indigo Dreams or most online bookstores.

The launch reminded me how much I love reading to an audience and I actually quite enjoy reading on Zoom, so if there is anyone interested in my reading at a poetry event, please email me on the above email. 

Friday, 28 August 2020

Cover Reveal


Here it is - the cover of my collection Owl Unbound with Indigo Dreams Publishing. I am really pleased with it. The cover very cleverly references several poems in the collection. 

The collection will be published on 1st October with my launch on 23rd October on Zoom (more info to follow). It can be preordered from the publishers here: https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/zoe-brooks/4595048690. or you can order a copy from me (signed if you wish) on zoe.brooks@googlemail.com .