Welcome to the Naked Soul Book Reviews. Here, I pick the best books (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry) and offer a concise summary and literary criticism of the book based on content, style, and merit. Hope you enjoy it. Please suggest the books you would want me to review next.
Many of you may have already read “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel. Some of you may not have got the chance to read it yet. I recommend adding it to your reading list.
(It’s a great read and also a prism to look inside Thiel’s mind, one of the smartest Silicon Valley entrepreneur).
This is not a book review or a summary. These quotes are my own thoughts which is the direct result of pondering over the core message of the book. In this post, I am going to basically share what I learned from this book and what thoughts best summarizes the essence of ‘Zero to One’.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Because of the forward moving, linear nature of time, every moment happens only once.
Create something new. When you create something new, you have a monopoly on it until you are defeated by your copy-cats.
One superpower of technology is “ability to scale exponentially”.
What is ‘your’ truth?
Understating the difference between exponential (0 to 1, x^n) and linear (x to n) is key to business success. Ability to execute/build/invent a process that scales exponentially is the ‘key’ job of the founding team.
Linear progress is horizontal. Exponential progress is orthogonal or vertical.
It gets harder and harder to innovate as your organization gets bigger and bigger.
The best advertisement spend is paying directly to your clients. Giving away a free product or service or even hard cash for joining/subscribing.
A bad plan that is in execution is better than a good plan with no execution. Having a (bad) plan is better than having no plan at all.
Selling the product/service is just as important as creating the product/service.
If your market is competitive, your focus should be on market share acquisition and not on profit. Profit margin and competitive market don’t go together. Competition by definition destroys every competitors’ profits.
Standing for yourself and thinking for yourself doesn’t mean ‘opposing’ the crowd. Opposing is an act. All acts cost attention, time, and energy.
Your market is your core offering. The key functionality of your core product or service. Your competition is likely the whole market (and not necessarily the niche you serve.) For example, an Indian restaurant in New York is not only in competition to other Indian restaurants in New York but all restaurants in New York. The primary offering of a restaurant is feeding people who don’t want to cook at home.
In business, sales are the most important thing. If you have a novel product, you also need an effective sales strategy. Product and Sales are both equally important. A successful business “must” have both.
Sales, in essence, is all about finding a distribution channel that works. For a business to survive, all it needs is one successful product distribution channel. By this definition, the most profitable company in any market has the biggest distribution channels. (Note: It’s not the product but sales we are talking about.)
It is better to be in the business in a very large market than to be a monopoly in a very small niche. By growing your market share in a very large market you can make more money but in a very small market where you are already a monopoly, you can’t grow without increasing the prices and therefore inviting new competition and destroying your monopoly.
In a capitalist system, every business (no matter how large or small) fights for survival each day. Any day could be the beginning of their end.
A creative business keeps their clients by keep creating and offering new categories of products.
A business fails when it fails to escape competition. It’s capitalistic evolution. The survival of the fittest.
All successful private companies in the world are successful because they each solve a unique problem and own a large chunk (monopoly) of their market.
If you can’t beat your rival, merge with your rival or merge with other smaller rivals to become the biggest.
Growth can be measured in a short timeline. Endurance (durability) can only be measured in the long term.
Before starting a business or investing in one, always ask, “Will this business be still around in a decade from now? In 30 years from now? In 100 years from now?”
If you have existing competition, a good rule of thumb is, it will take you to be 10X better than the current market leader (in the core offering) to be able to lead to a successful and enduring monopoly of your own.
There are four ways to get 10X lead over your prime competitor: inventing something new, or creating a new market, or creating a 10X better product, or offering a 10X better UX. Ideally, you should have at least 2 of the four.
To gain 10X lead over your most fierce competitor, you have to focus on one key product (one opportunity) and get 10X better there first. Dominate a small (key) market first then expand from there. (50% of $10M market > 1% of 1B market)
A successful founding team is one where a core group of people is able to provide value to millions of other people. One to very many.
To find the ideal business opportunity, look for ‘adjacent possible’ in the technology landscape. Adjacent possible is usually the intersection between two brand new technological developments.
Nothing great is achieved without a great team. It’s a myth that you can go far alone.
The challenge of creating network effect is making your product useful to its very first users (when the network is still so tiny that it doesn’t derive any value from its size or connectivity).
Part-time employees are essentially consultants. Consultants are essentially part-time employees.
Think how every employee can have the skin in the game? Perhaps, to start, offer to pay part salary, part equity or part bonus based on annual revenue. Those who prefer equity over cash, demonstrate long-term commitment. Those who prefer bonus or percentage of revenue from direct sales over cash show they have trust in their skill and are committed to hard work.
The most productive companies define specific roles for each team member. Defining roles reduces future conflict and miscommunication.
When you have identified a problem or market need that no one is working on, have a head start and innovate faster than anyone else that may come after you by essentially copying you.
The 21st century has made it super easier to start a new business and incredibly difficult to succeed in one.
It’s better to be the employee #17 at a unicorn startup than to be the CEO of “Hey, I Am Open For The Business Too”.
Nothing lasts. Monopolies don’t last forever. Empires don’t last. Countries don’t last.
Now, let’s go and build something meaningful.
PS: If you liked this article and my take on Zero to One by Peter Thiel, then please let me know if you would like me to cover other books. If so, any recommendations? Thank you.
PPS: Spot any error/typo? Please let me know in the comments and thanks for catching.
For whatever reasons (unknown to me or anyone), in January, the Quora community decided to vote me as a Top Quora Writer 2016. They have invited me to come to a Top Writers meetup in Mountain View, California at Quora HQ in June.
Earlier, I was excited about this meetup and my California visit but now I am passing on the free food and socializing opportunity.
Being Purposeful in Life
I have realized one secret about “purpose in life” from this experience. When we are young and we want to achieve something, we often get sidetracked by our early trophies. Often, the journey is long and hard, and we give in to temptations of feel-good, to feel important.
I am not saying one should not enjoy small victories. What I am saying is one should not “focus” on the celebration of the achievement of small goals. “Focus” should be always on your primary vision.
For example, traveling from Boston to California just to feel good to get inside the Quora HQ is self-puffing and not really in line with my end goal. If it was local, I would love to attend. But me thinking about making this long journey indicates that earlier I was taking myself way too seriously.
To me, I was important. But to the world at large, I am just a small piece. I have my place and I have my mission. Without contributing much I cannot (and should not) expect life to give back to me.
If life is generous to you, celebrate it. It’s good, have fun, go with the natural flow of life. (But, spending valuable resource such as time and money to feel good about yourself and to receive what life is giving you is not always a wise step. In fact, it would be self-centered rather than altruistic or honest.)
Top Quora Writer
The title of Top Writer 2016 is cool but it is practically useless to me and my fellow citizens of this world. What I need to focus on is solving problems that only I can solve. Each of us has unique talents and life-experiences that is best suited for tackling some unique problem (personal or larger). We should celebrate our small achievements but should not lose track of our original vision.
I am not coming to California. I would rather answer few more questions on Quora in the meanwhile. And maybe write a new blog here on The Naked Soul Blog.
If you are on Quora, you can follow me here. If you have not heard of Quora, it’s basically an online question and answer website with a beautiful, user-friendly interface. Quora aggregates questions and answers on various topics. It’s a fun place to learn something new and interesting and to ask your questions.
Let me know what you think when it comes to finding and following one’s purpose and mission in life? What is yours? Comment below.
Read as many books as you can for self-growth.Friends, starting this month, I am going to make book recommendations every couple of months. In each issue, I will have 12 new books for you to choose from. Read all of them or read as many as you can but remember these top books are treaties on the collected wisdom of ages.
I promise to you, even if you read just one of the twelve, you’ll be a transformed person after you finish the book.
Your vocabulary, your language, your perception of the world will change and you will grow in every positive direction in your life.
Start today and let’s all commit to reading all of these great books every month.
Top 12 Books Of All Time
Why the number 12?
If you are wondering why 12 books each month and not 3 or 10 or 5? Well, here is my reasoning behind the number 12.
1. There are 12 months in a year and for those of us who are into self-development, it’s easy to commit to reading a book a month. But, what if you want to beat the 99% and be in the top 1% of people.
How about, read as much in a month what others read in full year. I know, reading 12 books is not possible for 99.999% of us but the assumption is all of you must have read some of these books so I have to recommend 12 so that there is something new for everyone each month.
2. I cannot justify dedicating a complete blog post on book recommendation each month with just 3 or 5 books in my post. Plus, there are so many great books out there. We may have read a lot but there is a lot that we still need to learn. Books are our best friends. Why not, keep a lot of them.
3. Not every month will have exactly 12 books. The point here is to read great works and not add volumes of books to our library. Some months may have only 10, some may have only 8 or 9. The number of books is not important, what is truly important is that you must find the time and MUST READ all of them, this month or the next.
My 2015 Book List
These are the 12 books I have selected for November 2015 reading list which every literate person on this earth MUST READ. Whether you think these books apply to your life’s situation or not, pick them up and read. You’ll find more than what you are looking for.
These books are beyond time, culture and language. I have added the links so that you can find them if you want to read them.
Some of them might be free while others can be purchased for cheap. They all are worth many times more than their costs.
Things Fall Apart is a post-colonial novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 1958. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian village of Umuofia.
Okonkwo (the main protagonist) starts off as a great leader and wrestling champion but things start to go wrong for reasons beyond his controls. By the end, the Christianized and Westernized village has changed and things fall apart further for our protagonist.
A classic romance read, set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of M.r and Mrs. Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr. Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood.
While handsome Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, rich and young Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.
The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads a peaceful and happy life.
Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. The satire can be linked to religious theme (for example, waiting for God who never shows up) or any other themes such as political, psychological, etc.
It is a fascinating read and enlightening as it delves deep into the four archetypal personalities of the soul are grouped in two pairs: the ego and the shadow, the persona and the soul’s image (animus or anima).
If you want to make more money, be rich, save money, understand money and wealth and more in a narrative format — this is the BEST book on everything money. I read this book when I was broke and clinically depressed and had no hopes for life. This book gave me the insights that literally changed my life and condition 360 degrees. This book has been a life saver for me.
This is an awesome read. The book is divided into two sections.
Part I Meursault learns of his mother’s death. At her funeral, he expresses none of the expected emotions of grief. When asked if he wishes to view the body, he says no, and, instead, smokes and drinks coffee in front of the coffin. Rather than expressing his feelings, he only comments to the reader about the others at the funeral. He later encounters Marie, a former employee of his firm. The two become re-acquainted, go swimming, watch a comedy film and begin to have a sexual relationship, despite the fact that his mother’s funeral took place the day before. In the next few days, he helps his friend and neighbor, Raymond Sintès, take revenge on a Moorish girlfriend suspected of infidelity. For Raymond, Meursault agrees to write a letter to his girlfriend, with the sole purpose of inviting her over so that Raymond can have sex with her but spit in her face at the last minute as emotional revenge. Meursault sees no reason not to help him, and it pleases Raymond. He does not express concern that Raymond’s girlfriend is going to be emotionally hurt, as he believes Raymond’s story that she has been unfaithful, and he himself is both somewhat drunk and characteristically unfazed by any feelings of empathy. In general, he considers other people either interesting or annoying or feels nothing of them at all.
The letter works: the girlfriend returns, but the situation escalates when she slaps Raymond after he tries to kick her out, and Raymond beats her. Raymond is taken to court where Meursault testifies that she had been unfaithful, and Raymond is let off with a warning. After this, the girlfriend’s brother and several Arab friends begin trailing Raymond. Raymond invites Meursault and Marie to a friend’s beach house for the weekend, and when there, they encounter the spurned girlfriend’s brother and an Arab friend; these two confront Raymond and wound him with a knife during a fist fight. Later, walking back along the beach alone and now armed with a revolver he took from Raymond so that Raymond would not do anything rash, Meursault encounters the Arab. Meursault is now disoriented on the edge of heatstroke, and when the Arab flashes his knife at him, Meursault shoots. Despite killing the Arab man with the first gunshot, he shoots the corpse four more times after a brief pause. He does not divulge to the reader any specific reason for his crime or emotions he experiences at the time, if any, aside from the fact that he was bothered by the heat and bright sunlight.
Part II Meursault is incarcerated and explains his arrest, time in prison, and upcoming trial. His general detachment makes living in prison very tolerable, especially after he gets used to the idea of not being able to go places whenever he wants to and no longer being able to satisfy his sexual desires with Marie. He passes the time sleeping, or mentally listing the objects he owned back in his apartment building. At the trial, Meursault’s quietness and passivity are seen as demonstrative of his seeming lack of remorse or guilt by the prosecuting attorney, and so the attorney concentrates more upon Meursault’s inability or unwillingness to cry at his mother’s funeral than on the actual murder. The attorney pushes Meursault to tell the truth but never comes through and later, on his own, Meursault explains to the reader that he simply was never really able to feel any remorse or personal emotions for any of his actions in life. The dramatic prosecutor theatrically denounces Meursault to the point that he claims Meursault must be a soulless monster, incapable of remorse and that he thus deserves to die for his crime. Although Meursault’s attorney defends him and later tells Meursault that he expects the sentence to be light, Meursault is alarmed when the judge informs him of the final decision: that he will be decapitated publicly.
In prison, while awaiting the execution of his death sentence by the guillotine, Meursault meets with a chaplain, but rejects his proffered opportunity of turning to God, explaining that God is a waste of his time. Although the chaplain persists in attempting to lead Meursault from his atheism (or, perhaps more precisely, his apatheism), Meursault finally accosts him in a rage, with a climactic outburst on his frustrations and the absurdity of the human condition and his personal anguish at the meaninglessness of his existence without respite. At the beginning of his outrage he mentions other people in anger, that they have no right to judge him for his actions or for who he is, and no one has the right to judge someone else. Meursault ultimately grasps the universe’s indifference towards humankind which allows him to come to terms with his execution.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “I’d rather have written Nostromo than any other novel.” Nostromo is often regarded as Conrad’s best novel.
Nostromo is set in the South American country of Costaguana, and more specifically in that country’s Occidental Province and its port city of Sulaco. Costaguana has a long history of tyranny, revolution and warfare, but has recently experienced a period of stability under the dictator Ribiera. Nostromo is an Italian expatriate who has risen to his position through his bravery and daring exploits.
His exploits during the revolution do not bring Nostromo the fame he had hoped for, and he feels slighted and used. Feeling that he has risked his life for nothing, he is consumed by resentment, which leads to his corruption and ultimate destruction.
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem by Dante Alighieri, finished in 1320 (after 12 years of writing). It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature.
On the surface, the poem describes Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven; but at a deeper level, it represents, allegorically, the soul’s journey towards God.
Considered and acclaimed as one of the supreme achievements in world literature, The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality.
It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia, with a plot which revolves around the subject of patricide.
Admirers of the novel include Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut.
Sigmund Freud called it “the most magnificent novel ever written” and was fascinated with the book for its Oedipal themes.
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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have already read some of these books, please tell us about what you think? Want to make book recommendations, please shoot me a message. I am always on the lookout for great books.
If you were thinking of gifting the book to your friends and loved one, today is your day!
I love you!
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once in a while. No junk, no BS. Only great stuff!
We all know about prolific writers such as James Patterson and Stephen King that are somehow able to produce anywhere between two to five books or more in a single year.
Are there tricks and techniques that they employ to produce books at such a high rate? This article will enable you to learn how to become like these authors and possibly even write a million words in a year.
Before we begin, let’s do some simple arithmetic:
If your goal is to write a million words each year, all you have to do is write 1000000/365= 2740 words each day.
Considering, you’ll only be able to write five days per week (on average), this brings you at 2740 words per day for (52 weeks x 5 days) = 260 days of writing. Now (260 days x 2740 words per day) = 712400 words.
Now, let’s say, 30% of what your write is omitted (not, re-written, but completely omitted during the revision and editing). This will bring your total word count to (70% of 712400 words) ~ 500,000 (half-million) words.
Writing Million Words
Now, consider for a moment, what can you produce with half million words each year? Let’s do the maths. Say, an average novel is 100,000 words and a book of 10 short stories (each short story approximately 10,000 words long) is 100,000 words. So just with 300,000 words you have published two novels and a collection of short stories. And you will still have 200,000 words left.
Wow, congratulations, at this pace, you will be able to write a dozen of novels and short stories collections and perhaps poetry collection and blog posts in just few years. Isn’t that amazing!
How To Write Faster
So what is my point here? And more importantly, why not every writer not writing more? The reason is it is not simple to write 2740 words each day, five days per week for 52 weeks straight. You may ask, why so?
Because people cannot write fast enough. It’s not that writer’s run out of ideas but that their thoughts often time run much faster than what their hand can type or write.
So what can you do? Read on and comment at the end. If you are reading this, I challenge you to join me in 1 million words a year mission. If you can do it, it will benefit you more than me. Are you with me?
A blogger, Karen Woodward, summarized the techniques used by one author, Chuck Wendig, who was committed to writing 3000 words a day in a blog post. Read it here on her blog.
In summary, Chuck tips included:
1. Doing your writing in the morning. He wrote, â€œWriting in the morning has more potential than writing in the evening and hereâ€s why: writing at the end of the day means the candle is burning down. The timer is ticking. Youâ€re watching the horizon eat the sun and with it, the remaining hours before sweet, sweet slumber. Write at the end of the day, youâ€re racing the clock. Write at the fore of the day, you own the clock.â€
2. Waking up an hour earlier. Woodward explained that waking up earlier results in greater productivity. You should also make sure to attain at a minimum seven hours of sleep a night.
3. Drinking coffee in moderation.
4. Using your time to write. Wendig stated, “If you’re going to write a lot, you’re going to need to feint and duck, stick and move, and reach in to grab fistfuls of time-flesh and use it for your own sinister purposes: in this case, writing. Got a lunch break? Write. Sitting at a long stop light? Take a few quick voice notes on your phone.”
5. Maintaining a schedule with the amount of work you’ll need to complete each day to meet your deadlines.
6. Outlining the content of your manuscript. Wendig wrote, “If you start the day with a mission statement already in play thanks to an outline, you can jump in, eschew any planning the day might require, and just start writing. The goal is to give as much of your time to actually telling the story as you can.”
7. Asking your loved ones for the time you need to write.
8. Finishing your first draft without editing as you go.
9. Do not doubt your ability to produce a great story.
Writing A Million Words
Write my friends, write
Tell your stories
Write, then write some more
The origin of the challenge to write a million words in a year is credited to Raymond Chandler (1888 – 1959) who had the idea that to make a living; pulp writers had to produce a million words a year. A key component of writing this quantity of words is keep track of your daily word count.
One blogger, Alasdair Stuart, wrote though that this method only made him more anxious and finally succumbed to the fact that he could not produce a million words in a year. He wisely stated:
“What’s important is the willingness to try something new that will push you and shape you and make you stronger coming out the other side.”
However, setting word counts did work for one writer, Anthony Trollope, whose goal was to write 250 words every fifteen minutes. His method of writing was detailed by the writer, William F. Buckley, in an interview with the Paris Review, when he stated,
“He had a note pad that had been indexed to indicate intervals of 250 words. He would force himself to write 250 words per 15 minutes. Now, if at the end of 15 minutes he hadn’t reached one of those little marks on his page, he would write faster.”
In an article published on Slate.com by Michael Agger, strategies for writing faster were explored.
He wrote, “Since writing is such a cognitively intense task, the key to becoming faster is to develop strategies to make writing literally less mind-blowing. It’s obviously a huge help to write about a subject you know well. In that case, the writer doesn’t have to keep all of the facts in her working memory freeing up more attention for planning and composing.”
Another strategy for increasing your volume of writing is to write in longhand. An author, Karen Dionne, wrote an article for Huffington Post, describing why this method is so successful.
When an author working on a computer makes a typo, as I just did by typing “Whwn” instead of “When” at the beginning of this sentence, they stop and fix it. Why shouldn’t they? The mistake will have to be corrected at some point, the author has noted the error in the here and now, and it only takes a second to correct it.
When I write in longhand, I don’t write “whwn” when I mean to write “when”. Occasionally, I cross out a word or a sentence, but there are no distracting typos, no time consuming regressions.
Writing Speed Tips
Five tips for improving writing speed were examined in a blog post on the website of Hootsuite, a social media management application, with these strategies:
1. Skip the Introduction – write your piece without the constraints of a planned introduction or lead.
2. Don’t Get Caught Up in the Wording – you have to maintain a rhythm while writing and keep the momentum going. Leave placeholders when you have difficulty figuring out what word to use in a particular context.
3. Keep Your Research in the Document – copy any quotes, information, or statistics at the bottom of your document before you start and put a line across the page to distinguish between your writing and the research you’ve compiled.
4. Write What You’ve Got – be concise and make your writing easy to digest for readers.
5. Talk It Out – ask a colleague for their perspective on your topic as they may offer a perspective that may alter the direction of your article.
It is now evident that writing faster is a topic that is has been discussed frequently by writers. The tips and tricks discussed in this article can certainly enable you to become a more productive writer.
An important thing to remember though is to never skimp on the quality of your work when you increase the speed at which you write.
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Was this post interesting? Are you taking on this challenge? Just for one year to test what can you achieve using this method and mindset?Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts with us.
This book is a collection of erotic poems from around the world that spans various time periods and locales. It includes such famous erotic poets as Ovid, Octavio Paz, Lord Byron, and John Keats among others.
The poems contained in this anthology are sensual and romantic with hints of erotic love which is evident in verses from poems such as “The Quiet Glades of Eden” by Robert Graves and “Three Poems” by Bharthari.
If it should please you, for your own best reasons,To take me and flog me with a rawhide whipI might (who knows?) surprisingly acceptThis earnest of affection
Bharthari writes in one of his poems:
A hundred times they kiss, and thenA thousand times embraceAnd stop only to start again;There’s no tautology in such a case.
Many of the poems contain physical imagery with references to the breasts, lips, and eyes that allow the reader to get a sense of the appearance of the lover. Allusions to sex abound without explicit descriptions of sexual intercourse.
In this collection, the editor, Peter Washington, has compiled a series of poems that allows the reader to truly feel the complex emotions of romantic relationships. The animalistic nature of sex was explored in some of the poems. This allows the book to serve as an excellent representation of the passion and intimacy of loving relationships.
The main critiques however of this anthology are that the poets are primarily male with very few female poets and that many of the poets are foreign. Even the translators of poems by foreign poets generally were male.
There were very few American poets. Peter Washington also did not select many modern poems so some of the references in the poems are not easily understood.
Despite these critiques, this book serves as a good introduction to different poets and may inspire the reading audience to select more works of poetry by these poets.
They are poems that can be read alone or to your romantic partner as they are sensual, romantic, and intensely visual so readers could visualize the settings of the poems.
This anthology of erotic poems includes poems that as the title alludes to are more in the erotic spirit than being explicitly erotic. These poems are poems that enlighten readers about love and relationships and allow for a greater understanding of the necessities of an enduring and passionate relationship.
In this compilation, the editor, Sam Hamill, has organized a collection of poems that are diverse in voice (both ethnically and gender-wise). What was interesting was the inclusion of poets that are not as well-known.
However, this does not mean that major poets are not included. Some of the more famous poets in this collection include Ovid, Catullus, Sappho, Ono No Komachi, Rumi, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman.
Several poets have numerous poems included in the book which allows the reader to become more familiar with the differences in their writing styles.
What makes this collection stand out is its abundance of poems by Asian poets and the beautiful allusions in these poems to the physical nature of intimacy, the seasons, and the majesties of nature including references to lotus blossoms and moonlight.
The poems in this anthology are filled with the complex feelings of love including the sense of yearning for a loved one, despair, and loss. It is also a very cohesive body of poems that are organized by time period so readers can see how authors have depicted passionate relationships throughout the years. This is certainly a poetry collection worth recommending for those who wish to have a great introduction to a wonderful variety of poets.
This collection of erotic poems was a well-organized anthology that included a mix of classic and modern American poems including such classic erotic poems as “I Sing the Body Electric” and “Lifting Belly”.
The poems were organized by the author’s year of birth which allowed readers to visualize the evolution of romantic poetry from the 19th century to the present.
David Lehman, the editor, included such celebrated American poets as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, E. E. Cummings, and Edna St. Vincent Millay and more obscure poets such as H. Phelps Putnam and Emma Lazarus.
The poems in this anthology were more difficult to understand as many were concrete in nature. This led to the subliminal messages to be not as easily comprehended by the average reader. This is the main critique of this collection. However, despite this, it was interesting to read modern erotic poems that told rich stories.
What was unique about this book was that the poems were much more explicit in nature with some veering on the pornographic. The poems in this book were very romantic and personified aspects of the sexual experience. Lehman also included poems with homosexual sexual relationships which showed the diversity of romantic relationships.
There were many poems by women which allowed readers to have a unique perspective on how gender impacted sexual experiences. Other books reviewed previously did not have such a diverse assemblage of voices.
This is a collection of poems worth recommending for those who would enjoy reading modern carnal poems about love, lust, passion, and sexual intimacy.
Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Reginald Martin, and Roseann P. Bell
This was a unique collection of erotic poems, stories, and essays by Latin American, and Caribbean-American men and women of African descent.
It is a very well-organized collection that was divided into sections according to the subject matter of the writing. It provides lengthy and comprehensive perspectives on the everyday intimate experiences of blacks. Intermingled throughout were insightful academic commentaries that helped the reader to understand more about black erotica, music, and culture.
There was a great diversity of voices in this book including a good balance of male and female authors. The authors reflected on the spiritual aspects of sexual experiences; the effects music had on their sexual experiences; and the beginnings of new sexual relationships among other topics.
The poetry in this book was very erotic and explicit with a mix of longer poems and haikus. This was truly a special anthology as the writers were great storytellers who allowed readers to visualize the experiences that were documented within the book.
This was a cohesive body of work that was very carnal and explicit in nature but also sensual and passionate. The writing could be concrete at times and it was interesting to read different interpretations of the sexual experience by the black population. This is certainly a book worth recommending for those who want a close study of the intricacies of black erotica.
This was a well-translated and beautiful collection of ancient Japanese love poems by two court poets that were passionate and full of desire. These short but deep poems were verses that expressed the longing that the poets felt for their lovers. Although the poems were brief, they were very emotional.
The verses contained rich imagery that allowed readers to visualize the settings of the poems. Many of the poems in this book took place at night as the poets reflected on the moonlight and nights spent with their romantic partner.
The seasons played a role in several of the poems as many reflected on autumn and leaves falling.
The depiction of the changing seasons served as an ode to the passage of time in the course of a relationship. Some poems were mildly erotic and many were very intimate. The painful and bitter nature of romance was explored in some poems.
This collection showed that even long ago, the feelings of love have not changed significantly. These poems contain the same emotional weight of more contemporary love poems. This is truly a collection worth reading for those who wish to read meaningful love poems that have withstood the test of time.
This was an enticing collection of lesbian love poems by modern poets. The poems in this book were organized by the author which allowed the reader to read different perspectives on intimacy and the passions of homosexual relationships.
These were very personal poems that enlightened readers on who the poet really is in their most private moments. Some poems were mildly erotic in nature.
What was special about this book was the rich storytelling of the poems contained within. The poems contained descriptive imagery and made even the most everyday moments worth savoring. The poets were very accepting of the imperfections of their lovers and revealed in the beauties of the female physique.
What is worth noting is that the poems do discuss prejudice against lesbianism and interracial relationships which are still issues that pervade our current society. This book was published almost twenty years ago so there was even deeper prejudice back then.
There are some guilt and shame by the female lovers depicted but also a sense of an undying love that could withstand the hatred and oppression that society had for these types of relationships.
This was a spiritual body of work that contained poems that were filled with longing and very introspective in nature. The poems were beautifully translated by Coleman Barks and before each section began he insightfully commented on each thematic section and included personal anecdotes on the wisdom obtained from speaking to religious teachers.
Rumi’s poems are very abstract and deep with powerful musings on the majesty and beauties of love. They spoke to the healing power of love and the desire and lust that love added to one’s life.
The poems in this book were full of natural metaphors and many Middle Eastern references that were difficult to understand. Despite this critique, Barks was able to compile a wonderful assortment of poems by this great Sufi mystic.
The poems were primarily about the lingering presence of love in one’s life and just how incredible a presence it is.
Rumi was a great storyteller and his stories enlighten readers with the wisdom of his life’s experiences. His poems were very passionate and filled with the enjoyment of spiritual and earthly pleasures. This collection is highly recommended for lovers of more soulful poems that have withstood the test of time.
The Erotic Verse of the Sixth Dalai Lama & translations by Paul Williams
This brief collection was rich in natural imagery and showed just how much love could affect you physically. The short verses in this book were poems that yearned for love. They truly depicted how love could be taken away in a heartbeat.
The young lovers in this book did not always have the fortune of lasting relationships so it was evident that love should be valued when it is possessed.
Paul Williams beautifully translated the verse of the esteemed sixth Dalai Lama and allowed readers to be enlightened by the wisdom of such a holy figure.
Clearly, this Dalai Lama had experienced the many facets of love and had sadly lamented many times a lost love. His intimate reflections allowed the reader to glean great insight into his most personal moments such as his feelings at the beginning of a new relationship.
The main critiques of this collection were that it was far too brief and that some translations were not easily understood by the average reader. In addition, the verse could often be very abstract in nature so the latent meanings of these poems were difficult to interpret. Despite these critiques, this was a deeply poignant and spiritual body of work.
This translated work that compiled all of Sappho’s fragmented verses in one collection allowed the reader to get a sense of the rich life experiences of this renowned Greek poet.
The variety of portions of her verse contained pleas to the Greek gods, goddesses, and muses for the safety of her family and companions. It was evident that Sappho was close to many and truly valued her beloved companions.
What was unfortunate about having only segmented verse though was the sense of losing the deeper meanings of her verse. The translator explained the missing pieces of her verses in her introduction by stating that none of Sappho’s poems existed in full.
The fragments though led to a disjointed reading experience. Another critique was the obscure references to ancient Greek cities and temples that without the help of the book’s glossary were not easily understood.
Despite these major critiques, this was a beautiful collection of verse on many topics but primarily on the love that Sappho had for her romantic partners who were often female. The stanzas revered the female physique and appearance.
Her poetry though was often introspective in nature and full of complex emotions about the women she loved. They were passionate poems full of fervent desire for her companions.
This complete collection is recommended for those who want to read the full range of Sappho’s writings that was made very accessible for modern readers by the translator.
This book beautifully translated from its original Spanish is an intimate collection of sonnets dedicated to Neruda’s beloved wife, Matilde.
It was evident in reading this book that Neruda passionately loved his wife and was very emotional about the thought of her death. The sonnets in this book were numbered and organized according to the time of day the poem was set in.
These poems were full of deep feelings and mildly erotic in nature when he described the beauties of his wife’s physical being.
He loved her not only for her pleasant appearance but also for her imperfections. Many of the poems alluded to the peacefulness of nature and her sense of oneness with the earth.
Pablo Neruda and his wife had both had similar humble upbringings that laid the foundation for their future. He alluded to the poverty of their former lives and how it brought them closer together.
Theirs was a happy marriage bound to last eternally. Although some poems had dark undertones particularly the ones set in the darkness of night, the poems set during the light of day reflected his abiding love of nature.
This book was an eloquently worded ode to the multifaceted aspects of love and is perfect for reading with your romantic partner. There is little to critique about this book except for its mentions of places the reader may not be familiar with.
Since this my own book, therefore to present an objective review, I will let Kirkus review speak for Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems.
Jha’s collection of concise, warm, and erotic poetry explores the delights of physical love from (primarily heterosexual) male and female perspectives.
The bulk of these poems describe various acts of sexual congress in non-explicit ways while trying to capture the rich emotional tenor of lovemaking as opposed to casual sex. Just feel the words because “these poems are written not to be understood by the mind but to be felt by the heart”, Jha writes.
He switches between male and female perspectives, describing the joys of being taken and taking. Love Fantasies seems to describe a heterosexual woman’s experience: Then I ride it like a cowgirl to reach as far as I can be. / I hustle, I shake, I grind, I wind, I go deep / where there is only one path and one way to be.
Elsewhere, Wake Up has a decidedly more heterosexual male perspective: You slide me down / Into the wetness / Even before / I am awake.
Many of the poems, such as One Soul and Soul Mate, focus on the feeling of love itself, absent any particular physical expression. The text is peppered with simple line drawings of sex, like a slideshow of soft-core Kama Sutra.
Jha manages to sketch the outlines of sex and love without making it too concrete or specific. The poems shifting points of view create a sensual atmosphere that encourages the reliving of fond memories and the ignition of current fantasies. Although the language used to describe anatomy can sometimes be clunky or a little too “fruit-oriented” (the melon family makes many appearances), the spirit of the work is joyful and tender.
Erotic poetry that evokes feelings of joy, happiness, and an overall celebration of the arts of physical and romantic love.
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Truthfully speaking, I have been as excitable as a chef just before the Thanksgiving! My debut collection of erotic love poems was published in eBook on January 23 and I have sold just over 100 eBooks in the first month alone.
The softcover was released on January 9th and is also doing excellent. So far it has sold over 150 copies. The big sales number came right before the Valentine’s Day. (No surprise there.)
Well, 100 or 150 might not seem a big number and certainly it is not but what I can tell you is at the time of drafting this blog, my book is at Top #7 in Love Poem and ranked Top #47222 out of 3,000,000+ eBooks on the Amazon Kindle store.
Labor of Love or Fate of Drudgery
The reason I am taking about the sales number and book ranking is because, well, I thought it is worth talking about this ancient curiosity shared by all: “Are all poets penniless?”
Is poetry a labor of love or an occupation of toil and drudgery? I am hoping to bring some perspective and calm to my current â€˜pressure cookerâ€ mind with this current blog. This post is not just a note to myself but a new balanced perspective, something to consider, specially by the writers, poets and all the artists out there.
To start with (and I am not trying to tempt fate here or anything!) I am focusing my attention on a handful of great poets who only achieved fame and wealth after death. Well, some great poets might have died poor but their legacy is certainly richer than many of the rich from the recent times.
Are All Poets Penniless
Years, decades, and even a century or two after their passing, several major literary geniuses (who may have been blessed with the odd peak of recognition while alive) have gone on to have an unimaginable impact on the literary world – dominating classrooms, bookshelves, literati events and book groups, not just Stateside but across the globe.
Let’s take a look at some of these writers and poets.
Emily Dickinson was born in December 1830 in Massachusetts. A sociable youngster who maintained good relationships and friendships throughout her childhood and youth; she began writing poetry in her teens. Itâ€s clearly obvious from her writing that the death of close friends and family members during adolescence strongly influenced her.
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I had put away My labour, and my leisure too, For his civility.
We passed the school where children played, Their lessons scarcely done; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound.
Since then ’tis centuries; but each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses’ heads Were toward eternity.
Her most intense writing period began in her late twenties and lasted several years, she is said to have written a staggering 1100 poems during this time; some of which she did share with close friends and family, but the majority of which, she kept to herself. Pretty much a recluse by the time she died aged fifty-five in 1886, Dickson had written around 1800 poems. Â It was following her death (and against her dying wishes) that family members decided to publish and share her magnificent work some years on.
John Keats was born in London, England in 1795. The poor guyâ€s short life was plagued by death from an early age â€“ with both parents dying by the time heâ€d reached fourteen. Leaving school aged sixteen, Keats maintained a healthy interest in literature even while working in the medical profession alongside his guardian (a man so deceitful he kept Keatsâ€ large inheritance which heâ€d been entrusted to look after).
Keats penned his first poem during 1816, aged eighteen; his first book called Poems followed during 1817.
A year after abandoning the medical establishment to pursue poetry as a profession, Keatsâ€ life was once again haunted by death when his brother, Tom, contracted and died from Tuberculosis, the same illness which killed his mother.
In 1819, despite mounting financial problems and ill health, Keats was somehow able to write a significant amount of poetry; he also met and fell in love with a young girl called Fanny Brawne. Sadly his wish to marry the eighteenâ€“year-old was never realised due to his lack of finances.Â As if life hadnâ€t been tragic enough for John Keats, in 1820 he too become desperately ill with Tuberculosis. Despite his illness, he managed to publish a second volume of poems. During the same year Keats travelled to Italy hoping the warmer surroundings would help with his illness. Sadly it was not to be, one of the greatest poets to have ever lived, died in February 1821, lowly regarded and poor..
For someone born so long ago (1809) it blows my mind to think that Edgar Allan Poe still courts such influence, interest and popularity over literary and cultural circles today.
And if you thought Keatsâ€ life was tragic, I think Poeâ€s was equally tumultuous â€“ as a baby he was abandoned by his father and when his mother died of tuberculosis during 1811, he was forced to live with foster parents.
Poe, a military man for a brief time before turning his hand to writing full time, is attributed to having invented the detective fiction genre. His name is also synonymous with chilling and macabre poetry and stories.
Like Emily Dickinson, death featured heavily in Poeâ€s work, including in his most famous poem, The Raven.
This poem, by all accounts, turned him into a literary sensation for some time. Unfortunately, maybe because he was a heavy drinker who could no longer hold down a job, he never equalled its success with any of his following work.
Itâ€s been documented that the death of his wife Virginia Clemm (who also just happened to be his cousin, aged thirteen when he married her) exacerbated Poeâ€s drinking. Many conspiracy theories about his death have been circulated, but Poe is reported to have died penniless, dishevelled and unconscious in a Baltimore gutter, aged just forty.
Phillis Wheatlyâ€s life story is equally interesting and heart breaking. Kidnapped from West Africa when she was around seven years old in 1753, she arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, on a slave ship where she was purchased by John Wheatley as a servant for his wife, Susanna, who quickly came to recognize and nurture Phillisâ€ writing talent. The Wheatleys decided not to train Phillis as a slave.
By publishing Poems on various subjects, religion and moral Wheatley made history by becoming the first female African American to publish a book of poems. She even travelled to London, promoting her poetry. I can imagine that for a while her life mustâ€ve felt pretty amazing, especially when compared to the lives of other African Americans at that time. I canâ€t help thinking that things wouldâ€ve had a happier ending for Philllis Wheatley, had Susanna and John Wheatley still been alive after she married.
Wheatly married John Peters in 1778. They lived in poor conditions, but worse, had to endure the death of two infant children. After her husband was imprisoned during 1784, impoverished, Wheatley was left looking after her third child. Sadly, she died young at age thirty-one. Her sick infant son is said to have died a few hours later.
I was thinking of moving on to something a bit more light-hearted, but if you donâ€t mind Iâ€ll get one more â€˜sadâ€ topic out of the way first.
Weâ€re moving on to poets who are persecuted for their writing, as in poets who express opinions in their work, which goes against the establishment of their countries.
The first that I can think of is, Roman poet Ovid, back in 8AD he was banished to Tomis, a remote province on the Black Sea, by the Emperor Augustus, itâ€s difficult to pinpoint the motivation which led to his exile but speculation points to the simple reason that the emperor was unhappy with something the poet had written!
Sadly a similar type of punishment remains commonplace in some societies even in this day and age. Cameroonian poet, political activist and blogger Enoh Meyomesse is currently serving a prison sentence which he maintains is due to personal views expressed in his writing and for his political activism.
Iranian teacher, turned poet, Sabetâ€s translated book Prison Poems was published on April 1, 2013. She wrote this collection while serving (along with other leaders of Iranâ€s *Bahaâ€i community) a twenty year prison sentence in Tehranâ€s Evin prison because of her religious beliefs.
*The Baha’i religion was founded in Iran in 1863, making it one of the world’s youngest religions. This religion accepts all other faiths as true and valid. It also teaches that there should be no inequality when it comes to gender or race.
I am left wondering, what’s not to like? Read her Lights Out poem on this blog.
Successful Poets: What’s their Secret?
I have covered a lot of the tragedies and hardships experienced by poets in this blog, so I want to finish by letting you know:
It’s not all Bad News!
Yes, we can breathe a sigh of relief now as I am happy say that there are many poets and writers do seem to live comfortable and successful lives, many are actually poets who never gave up their day jobs.
It was a huge surprise for me to find out that the author of Alice in Wonderland was actually a Mathematician (who wrote several books on Mathematics under his real name (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson).
Incredibly, he was also a teacher for twenty-six years! Â But he also found time to work on a few inventions too, creating (amongst other things) a device called the nyctograph which allowed for night time writing (presumably with himself in mind because he was so busy during the day doing his other jobs!)
The magnificent Missouri born writer and Harvard graduate settled in England after a spell reading philosophy at a renowned college in Oxford. He wrote his famous poem Prufrock while holding down a job as a bank clerk. After several years in banking he went on to become an editor at publishing house Faber and Faber, where he worked full time for forty years.
Acclaimed poet and also Harvard graduate, Wallace Stevens, published his first book Harmonium in 1923 while working in insurance; an area he would continue in for nearly forty years eventually working his way up to Vice-President of his company by 1934, carrying on in this role even after receiving the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
The British born poet and novelist Philip Larkin actually managed to sneak in quite a lot of writing while working as a librarian. He graduated from Oxford University with first class honors in English during 1943, then worked for thirty years as a librarian at Hull University, where he is said to have produced a vast quantity of his published work.
So perhaps we are onto something here. Could the secret to keeping yourself from the clutches of poverty lie in having another vocation in life? Should we all, if we haven’t already, add a few more strings to our bows?
Just in case tragedy decides to grab and drop some of us into its murky pool of torture without a second thought, leaving us destitute, penniless and forgotten until the pool is dredged some decades later. (OK, maybe I need to put the Poe books down for now!)
The truth is, there a plenty of writers out there that have second jobs, some connected to writing such as tutoring, lecturing and performance poetry; and as some of the last section shows, others have no connection at all. But I donâ€t think it hurts to have a plan B. Somehow, I can’t imagine Edgar Allan Poe as a doctor or librarian though.
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What do you think about writing as a career? If you have a family to support will you take the risk? Or will you fulfill your calling as a writer or poet? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
This is a blog post I originally wanted to write as “How am I going to promote my upcoming book “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems“. But I believe it is better to write this post now since the book is already out.
The Paperback was released on Jan 9, 2015. And the eBook was released on Jan 22, 2015. I am also in the process of creating an Audio Book for Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems.
How to Self-Promote Your Poetry Book
In this blog, I am not only documenting the steps that you can take as a writer but also listing the things that worked for me and the efforts that did not pay during my own book promotion.
I am going to outline my entire plan from pre-launch to post-launch of my book. This post describes what happened to my plan of action when put into the real test. But, first let me tell you: why am I doing this?
There are two major reasons:
a.) I like being transparent and helping people. I am doing this to help fellow writers and poets who often work hard on a very tight financial budget and
Moreover, this blog post also holds me accountable to my own plan-of-action. It’s a nice way to organize a detailed plan into a checklist for anyone’s use. If you find this post helpful and informative, please link directly to my blog (this post) if you would want to share tips from my experience.
I definitely could use your little help to gain some extra momentum to bring the word out about “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems”. I thank you in advance for helping me out.
How to Market Your Self Published Book
Alright, without further adieu, let’s begin:
1. Take advantage of your author platform
I started early but wish I could have started even earlier working on building my author’s platform. In case, if you are wondering, an author’s platform is where you connect and engage with your readers online. This is great for collecting feedback and to sense the real market demand.
The book got to #1 Bestseller on Amazon for January month in New Release in ‘Love poetry’ and ‘Themes and Styles’ category. Here, check this out:
#1 Bestseller on Amazon in New Release in ‘Love Poetry’ category
#1 Bestseller on Amazon in New Release in ‘Themes and Styles’ category
– The Naked Soul blog achieved great traction from our Google ad campaign and we gained over 250+ email subscribers. Overall, this is no minor success and we have come a long way from almost close to nothing on sites such as Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter.
– I have an active presence on Goodreads now with people adding Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems in their “to-read” list. We have 9 ratings and 5 reviews. (not bad)
I used google adwords to send traffic to my website and once my book was out I used adwords to sell my books. In terms of sending traffic, google is awesome but to sell your book, it hardly produces any results.
For a person to make a buying decision where someone would need to take their credit card and mane an online transaction for a book from an unknown author… you get a sense, this is highly unlikely.
Google AdWord Spend: $535 (151,348 ad impressions; 3830 clicks to Naked Soul website)
Purpose: My plan was that let the people know that a new erotic poetry collection is out. The book is unique in a sense that it was written by a male and it is a single-author collection of erotic poetry. This genre is still new and unique.
I created 2 paid book trailers (each $200 for production, casting, voice-over), 3 self-made book trailers (using my Mac and iMovie) and 3 book promotional trailers (using my phone camera) where I shared updates on how the book is progressing.
Later, I advertised the two paid trailers on YouTube and gained a lot of views but could not translate it into sales. The book trailer is necessary to create excitement and entertainment but it hardly leads to any direct sales.
Even if a sale happens, it is hard to tell if that sale came through Facebook referral or Google ad referral or from any other sources mentioned in this post.
Youtube Ad Spend: $455 (28,210 video views)
Purpose: To plant the video seeds of my books anywhere and everywhere possible. It will not give you book sales but may spread the news about your book far and away.
I started to connect with people online whether it was niche networks such as Ello, Google+, Reddit, poetry forums, etc. Unlike Facebook, you can not advertise on many of these platforms and therefore your growth will be very slow.
I got a lot of page views but people won’t connect and follow. To have people follow you, you have to follow a bunch of them at first. I also joined a lot of online forums and communities in hope of marketing my books through them.
But most often, these communities will not appreciate you posting your book on their page and will delete your posts as spam (even when your intentions are not spamming). Those who did not delete my posts did not really produce any noise.
Lesson: Google Page and Communities are “nay” for book promotion. Don’t spend too much time on it.
Facebook helped me initially to reach out to more people and I would get a lot of shares. That dropped after a while and I was not advertising either.
Once the book came out, I ran $30 promotion (3x i.e. three times) for book launch announcement and it did well in getting a lot of “Likes and few shares” but resulted in few direct sales, if any. Similar to Google AdWords, people won’t buy your book if you are relatively new or a no-name author.
For Facebook marketing to work, you have to develop a rapport with your existing fans first. Facebook page works very similar to how Instagram works.
Your core group of fans will support you and buy your book, but for that to happen you need to be posting and maintaining a charming presence on Facebook for a while.
In my case, I have spent too little time on Facebook and my Facebook efforts were okay. But, I hope the effort put into Facebook will pay off in time towards my second book.
My most recent next step idea is to create a Facebook group for “Writers of Instagram” and join and participate in other Book Review Groups on Facebook.
As I mentioned above, Instagram (like Facebook) is a large social network (popular with a younger crowd). Instagram users are also very active. Every post that you make on Instagram goes to everyone’s home feed without any filters (unlike Facebook).
For me, Instagram was the number one driver for sales. The reason does not lie in the fact that Instagram is better than other social media platforms for writers but that Instagram allows you more expose than Facebook and that too for free.
There is no paid advertising on Instagram (as of this writing). The only way to succeed here is to showcase your work and build a loyal following. I believe, I have had half of my sales come from Instagram. My current focus is to grow my followers base on Instagram.
Since a lot of writers use Twitter, I could not ignore it. I started my own Twitter account and spent $10 before realizing that spending any money on Twitter is a total waste. Twitter works very differently from Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, et al.
Even if you are a big name author or Mr. Somebody, people won’t follow you as they do on Facebook.
Twitter’s number 1 rule of the game is follow-for-follow. It took me a few months to figure this out before I started to connect with more people on Twitters.
Currently, I try to spend 15 min each day on Twitter. Mostly, I acknowledge any mentions made to @NakedSoulPoems and direct replies or comments on my tweets.
It is interesting to actually remember that my first encounter with poetry as pictures was not at Instagram but on Pinterest. Positive quotations, words, poetry and everything that you can imagine within the literary domain is on Pinterest.
Moreover, Pinterest platform is still young, growing and active. It is no wonder that if you want your book to be discovered by others, you have to be on Pinterest. Pinterest is so powerful that you cannot ignore that. I started out on Pinterest with my first board “Naked Soul” and started to pin poetry and images that reflected the spirit of my book project.
Over the time, I have created over 60 boards on various themes and actively pin. Initially, I was waiting for people to follow me but within 6 months I figured it out that Pinterest is like Twitter (atleast initially).
You have to follow a bunch of people before anyone will follow you back. Once you have established yourself on Pinterest, your audience size will grow on its own.
Remember, it is not a bad thing to have a lot of “followings”. In fact a good balance in following/followers ratio gives you a more human outlook and makes you accessible to your fans.
Purpose: To spread the seeds of Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems. Once people start re-pinning your pin (in this case, a book), more and more people will follow that lead and soon enough you will have your book jump up in search results and/or sales ranking.
I created 3 slideshares (pre-launch). None of them performed the way I have planned. The total views form all of them combined is just 800. It is as good as not having created the sildeshares at all.
This is so small a noise (like a coin dropping in a busy market place) that you can’t expect SlideShare to sell any copies.
But SlideShare is a good long term strategy and helps in getting a few backlinks to your site which in turn helps your web rank which in turn helps new people discover your blog and books and which in turn might sell you a few copies in the future.
Every social media is different and once you join one, you have to play according to their rules. Being on Facebook or Twitter is like renting a lot from Facebook or Twitter and then showcasing your products. This is not bad to gain visibility (especially since all major social media platforms are free to users).
But, if you want to stay in touch with your customers, fans and followers, your landlord will make it very hard for you to get any information where you can directly communicate with your fans.
Social media is great for brand development but to communicate and directly influence your fans, an email list is the best solution. When you email someone, it gets delivered in their inbox. You have a direct one-to-one relationship through email.
Also, you do not have to pay any of your landlords to promote your shop or product. Creating an email list is your own property. You are the landlord here. I have about 250+ sign ups to my blog as of today.
I am sure, a lot of these signups came from my Google AdWord campaign. Having a large email list is the best way to market your books.
My point: I am going to put more focus here in the coming months.
11. Book Reviews (Mail Review Copies)
You need a lot of book reviews (praising or critical) to make your book stand out from the noise. And you need reviews everywhere: on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Barnes & Noble, on every possible medium where you are selling your books.
The most important places to get a lot of good reviews are:
A lot of people will discover your book on Goodreads (and therefore Goodreads reviews matters) but they will end up buying on Amazon or B&N. Most people will shop on Amazon Kindle or Amazon.com.
Before a person can make a wise buying decision, s/he is going to check (and read) some of the reviews. My initial goal was to get at least 50 reviews on Amazon by Feb 9, 2015 (in first 30 days).
As the time of writing this blog, I have got 21 reviews on Amazon.com and 1 review on Amazon.uk. But as you can see I am not even half way closer to my target goal. Well, getting a lot of reviews is not an easy task.
I will have a separate blog post just to discuss the book reviews. I’m writing a separate blog posts just on book reviews. Stay tuned.
I have submitted the book to Kirkus indie review and the book is going to run through the Book Review Direct in their February-May issue.
I have personally contacted bloggers all over and have sent a free copy of my book in exchange for their reviews. My focus for first two months are only US bloggers. But, I am planning to do more giveaways to bloggers all across the world.
Again, if you really want your book to stand out from the crowd, you have to generate a buzz around your book. And without having a big marketing budget, the only way you can do it is by having your book covered by as many blogs (on internet) as possible.
I have done one PR through PRWeb so far. The results were not impressive for the $99 that I spent on it.
My Press Release total headline impressions was 29,914. About 10% of these impressions were also read (up to 100%). If you google search in quotes “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems by Naked Soul Press”, you will see 60+ online news pickups.
Again, it is not a measurable payback but perhaps from a long term strategy perspective, this is the best you can do. Some say PR is dead but I disagree.
The objective of Press Release is to send out news about your new book. Even if your PR is not picked up by a lot of reporters, you still make a presence on the Internet since most PRs are optimized for SEO.
However, I would not recommend spending a lot of money here. Give it a shot or two. This is also a luck thing besides what else is going on in media during your book launch.
13. Create Cool Merchandise
I am currently brainstorming what cool things can be made using my poetry or quotes and then use them as free giveaways to drive sales or bring awareness towards the book. Some of the things I have thought so far are: t-shirts, cups/mugs, calenders, etc. This is a work in progress. I will first test them on Instagram and Facebook. If successful, I will write a separate blog post covering this step in detail. Stay tuned.
14. Crowdfunding Campaigns
I created an Indiegogo and Pubslush campaign to raise both money and awareness for the book. The book campaigns were not successful in themselves but they helped me show up in the first page of Google search. No money spent here plus it is a good way to test the market demand for your work.
If I have do it again, I’ll create a campaign for a small funding target and will spend some time promoting it. Also, this can be done way ahead of your book launch.
My Point: When you search for a vague term such as “Naked Soul”, the search engine will give you hundreds of thousands of results. For me, creating Indiegogo and Pubslush was lucky.
They helped to show my Facebook page and campaign every time I searched for ‘Naked Soul’ Or ‘Naked Soul Poem’ or ‘Erotic Poetry Book’, etc.
15. Hire VAs to Help You Out
Writing is a book is hard. We all know that. But marketing a book by yourself is even harder. After you have spent a lot of time writing your book, what good it is if you can not showcase your work.
The goal is not to market your book to everybody but to those who already is a fan of your genre. But, here is the problem. How do you reach out to those readers? All the points that I have mentioned in this blog post cannot be done by one single person. You have editing and cover design going on.
You have to respond to people. You are trying to get reviews. You are busy shipping copies. You have a family and a life (hopefully) that you do not want to sacrifice. You might even feel giving up at times. Trust me, we all have been there. So what is the solution? The only solution is to build a team.
You need atleast one another person and if you can afford some extra cash, may be a team of 3 or more people. Let’s call one your team member your virtual Assistant (VA). I took advantage of Zirtual and hired a VA.
My main objective was for my VA to do research on Facebook, Youtube, Google, Amazon, everywhere to find bloggers, youtubers, et al to whom we can pitch “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” for an online coverage.
I also had my VA email the the book reviewers and send them a review copy. Your larger team on the other hand can do simple things such as manage your Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.
In my case, I was spending my energy in building this blog whereas my team was making sure we are growing on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. As a team, we all learned a lot which I could have easily missed if I were to do everything alone.
Lesson: There is no book launch without a team. You need more than “you” or your launch will be a disaster (unless you are already an established author).
I have tried Google and Facebbok PPC (pay per click) ads and got a lot of “Likes” on FB and visits to my website (from Google Search) but hardly any direct sales. Even though, let’s say some of these visits resulted in a direct sale, it is hard for me to track. Whatever is not tracked, you can’t improve.
And if you can’t improve an ad, you are losing money, time, and opportunities. Another thing I learned was whether a visit leads to sales or not is not the right question to ask. The correct approach is to measure your cost of advertisement to your book sales royalty.
For example, if I advertise my book for $100 on Facebook and in return got sales of 10 units with $4 author royalty, then in this case I am $60 in net loss.
Same formula can be applied to any PPC ads. I wanted to try Goodreads advertisement. I have created a giveaway that is currently running (so far 65 people wants to win my book). My giveaway is going to gain atleast 200 entries if not high of 500. I also created two ads on Goodreads which is also active as of right now. No clicks and about 700 impressions so far.
I have spent $0 on Goodreads so far and my book has been added by over 50 people at the time of this writing. So far the best return on investment.
To do: Create author profiles on Goodreads and Amazon Author Central. Add your picture, bio, link to your twitter and your blog/website, and if you have book trailer videos – upload them. People love videos.
17. Active Blogging/Set up a Website
I am a first time author (although not new to writing). I have been writing for long and now hope to publish one book a year. Moreover, my first book “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” is a poetry book. I personally feel (certainly biased here) that the book is produced in a superior way than many others (if not most) books in the market in erotic poetry (within romance, not erotica) genre.
My book and writing is different and is popular with variety of social audiences and groups as I have noticed so far. I am a firm believer in getting community’s/reader’s feedback. I do absolutely believe in product/market fit theory. Having said and understood it, my challenge is on how to get my book more exposure. The answer is “long-term vision” and a growing web presence. Setting up a blog is a must-to-do for every writer in this era of self-publication.
There is no excuse to this rule now. Since there is so much noise out there on social media, it is easy to get lost in the ocean of posts, profiles, games and what not. I believe the solution to this growing problem is to create an authority in your domain and then dominating it with your thought-leadership.
This has been my current focus. Also, by actively blogging you first give away useful, helpful information to your readers before asking them for their money in return. People will buy your book if they feel connected to your writing. This is the new age of “free-samples” and “too-many-choices”. Also, if people like you, they will willingly support you and buy your book(s).
I guess, what I am trying to convey here from my story is the overall result from my book marketing effort is negative (in loss) in my first 30 days. But, I am hoping to reap some rewards in coming months as my book gains more visibility. If I would have not advertised, I would have made a net-profit from my book sales. But then the question is about having a long term vision. From the long-term perspective, did I do the right things or made mistakes? Well, time will tell. (I am keeping positive, fingers crossed.)
Ideally, any author would love to break-even or make profit but I recommend to you all to be willing to take an initial loss if in return you earn plenty of exposure as a new writer/author. As a writer you always have a second or third book in you and all the effort that you put in your first book also trickles down to your future work.
On the other hand, personally speaking, I would gladly spend more in promotional and marketing of the “Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems” if it helps to generate word-of-mouth viral outreach. A much needed large scale outreach indeed. But, first I have to find out if my marketing budget is large enough to realize this goals. If not, then how big and how long should my ideal campaign be? These are my current questions and would be a separate topic for another blog post. Stay tuned.
I am currently waiting for the Kirkus and other indie book reviews to come out so that I can use them in my future marketing campaign. I did hit #1 on Amazon in New Release in Poetry for January but that’s not enough. I have hardly sold 250 copies (print + eBook all combined) in my first 30 days. I wish I sold 5000 or 10,000 copies in my first week but alas (sigh)…I am a poet!
No poet makes money when they are alive. But, can this be a proven wrong? With proper planning, strategic marketing and by your reader’s help, may be yes. Why not? Can I prove that a Poet can make a living through his writing. I will absolutely try my best! I know, I wish to hear the good news as much as you do!
Will you help me here!? Please share this blog with as many people (writers, readers, anyone into books) as many you know. I am sure, this has ton of helpful information and insights that anyone can use. Thank you for your time.
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in touch!
What do you think about my marketing approach? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
A compilation of 221 erotic poetry books published between 1946-2015. It took a lot of effort to put this list up. If you find a book or title is missing, please comment. If you liked this compilation and found it helpful, please leave me your thoughts in the comments below. Above all, enjoy.
Cast your mind back, way back to those archaic pre-internet times — long before sharing and liking were everyday actions synonymous with the online world; when tweeting was just something birds did and when copyright protection, although still a tricky business, was far less open to abuse than it is these days.
Copyright Page Demystified
History dictates that the enforcement of copyright protection has never been straightforward, but the very existence of the World Wide Web and the phenomenal explosion of the many social media networks attached to it, has altered the way we live both creating then fuelling our compulsions to instantaneously download, distribute, or copy and share all manner of things online; often with blurred vision when it comes to any legalities.
Don’t get me wrong in some ways it can be a great complement for artists if audiences like their work enough to want to copy and share (with their friends and followers) material such as poetry, song lyrics or even lustful lines from the latest raunchy novels hitting the bookshelves; but the bottom line is, that nowadays from the moment an author has created a piece of written work, copyright protection is in existence from then on.
And unless the work’s creator has given permission for others to copy and share it, scan it, add to it etc. the only thing that others should be doing with it (if it’s a book or article, for example) is reading it.
So, with copyright in mind, I’ve decided to devote this blog, to showing (probably the least looked at the page in a book) some much-needed love. I’m talking about the Copyright Page.
We’re going to take a detailed journey through each section of a book’s copyright page, looking thoroughly at what each part means.
Essentially we’re going to learn: how to decode a book’s copyright page. But right now, I think it’s probably useful to start with a reminder for anyone who’s forgotten, what copyright protection actually is.
What is Copyright Protection?
Copyright protection exists by law to protect the rights of authors of original work. The protection commences from the moment the work is created and fixed in a tangible form.
What is a Copyright Page?
So what is a Copyright page and what does it really contain? The copyright page commonly appears at the start of the book after the title page.
The information one copyright page carries can differ greatly to another depending on the subject matter and the type of book, but the copyright page usually contains the following things:
1) Information about the copyright owner
Information about the copyright owner could look like this:
Some copyright notices include a lot more detail than the phrase All rights reserved. Just so readers are really clear on what they can and can’t do with a publication, it’s common for books to state things like:
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, etc. etc.
2) A Thank You notice
A thank you note could look like this:
Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission.
A thank you notice is frequently displayed on a copyright page, itâ€s a polite way of reminding users that they should comply with copyright laws when using the product.
3) ISBN Numbers
ISBN 13: 9780692265291
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Each 13 digit ISBN number uniquely identifies the book edition and therefore holds great importance to libraries, booksellers, marketing companies, distributors and anyone wanting a book to become commercially available.
Prior to January 2007, ISBN numbers were 10 digits long, but around that time the ISBN system was reviewed and they are now 13 digits long.
Worldwide, there are actually over 150 agencies which allocate ISBN numbers, but it really doesn’t matter where on the planet the ISBN number has been assigned, the beauty is, they’re an internationally recognizable way of identifying books and book-related products.
Some books contain more than one ISBN number as in the case of the above example from Naked Soul: Erotic Love Poems.
Export editions require a separate ISBN number, as do different formats such as hardback, Kindle and paperback. Several ISBN’s can be purchased in one block from www.bowker.com
4) Library of Congress Control Number
Library of Congress Control Number: 201491378
Although the name makes it sound pretty official, the Library of Congress Control Number is just a unique bibliographic record of a forthcoming publication.
These assigned records help inform the library community of new publications through weekly distribution lists. Library of Congress Control numbers are free and can be obtained by sending a copy of the book to the relevant cataloging department of the Library of Congress in advance of a book’s publication dates, thus facilitating acquisitions and gaining entry to one of the biggest book collections in the USA.
5) Edition Information
First Edition: December 2014
Wording like this is pretty standard on a book’s copyright page and it’s self-explanatory, informing us what edition it is and when it was first published.
6) Name and location of the publisher
Large publishing houses often have a lot of info in this section. This could include several different global addresses of the publishing company, the companyâ€s website address and its registration number, but in the case of my self-published collection, these are the pretty succinct details:
Naked Soul Press Quincy, MAÂ
Other things which a title page may include:
Disclaimers vary from book to book depending on the book type. A fiction novel’s disclaimer may read:
“This is a work of fiction, names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.”
Whereas a health or complementary therapy type book may state: This book is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Readers should seek medical advice in matters relating to his / her health.
8) Credits for contributors
Individuals or companies who’ve contributed to the book’s content may be listed. Such as photographers, editors or designers.
Poetry of Salil S. Jha, used by kind permission of Naked Soul Press.
9) Environmental information about products used in the book’s making
More and more over the years, I’ve seen environmental statements on the title page of books made by publishers who support organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council ®, they often carry the organization’s trademark and have their books printed on the eco-friendly paper of that particular organization.
10) Typesetter details and printing company information
Details of the typesetting company as well as the font types and size used in the book are pretty common, as is providing details of the printing company used by the publisher.
e.g Typset by S Jha Graphics, Boston MA and
Printed and bound by S Jha Compositions, Boston MA
I’m hoping that I’ve provided some interesting and useful information on this subject for you guys. If you’ve found at least some of my copyright page decoding useful, feel free to drop me a line and let me know.
I’m going to finish up by mentioning that copyright (although it lasts a long time) does not last forever. It eventually expires, and when this happens, the once protected work ends up in the public domain.
Public Domain Explained
If a work is referred to as being in the public domain, it means it’s now available for use without asking the copyright owners permission. William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens are just two of the many authors whose works are now in the public domain due to copyright expiration.
Any works published prior to 1923 will now be in the public domain. Works published after 1923 but before 1978 are protected 95 years from the date of publication.
For me, this is where things start to get pretty confusing because if the work was created without a copyright notice between 1923 and 1977, it has no copyright protection and has ended up in the public domain as the creator failed to comply with the required formalities at that time.
(Copyright notices are no longer a requirement for authors to be protected but it’s still useful to use them).
If work was created but not published before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.
And as I understand it, works published after 1977, the copyright also lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.
Are you with me so far? Congratulations if you are because even Iâ€m finding this difficult to get my head around!
Finally, if a work’s creator didn’t properly renew the copyright on work published between 1923 – 1963, then the work will be in the public domain.
You might want to search the records of the US Copyright Office’s website for more info.
Try out the Copy Right or Copy Wrong quick quiz
We’re going to round things up with a quick quiz, just to see if you’ve been paying attention. There are a few statements listed below, read through them and decide whether the statement is right or wrong, it’s that simple:
If a publisher decides to sell books without placing them in bookshops or libraries, an ISBN is required. Is this right or wrong?
For your work to be copyright protected, a copyright notice should be included on your copyright page. Is this right or wrong?
Work published before 1923 remains copyrighted if author renewed the copyright properly. Is this right or wrong?
A new ISBN number must be allocated for different formats of the book e.g Hardback, paperback and Kindle. Is this right or wrong?
Wrong – No ISBN number is required in this case
Wrong – This was true once upon a time but itâ€s not a requirement these days
Wrong – The work is now in the public domain as copyright has expired
Right – This is correct, new ISBNâ€s are required for the different formats
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What do you think about the Copyright page article? I am sure there are things that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Instagram has seen a humongous growth in recent years. With this explosive user growth, we also see the rise in posts related to literary nature. Quotations and poetry, in particular, are very popular on this relatively young social media platform.
Interview With Writer Robert M. Drake
There are a lot of accounts which posts poems, quotations and short pieces of writing. Amidst this jungle of writers, one name that comes to the forefront is @rmdrk. Behind this hugely popular username (@rmdrk) is actually a Miami based young street artist and writer, Robert M. Drake.
Robert has recently published his third book “Beautiful Chaos“ through lulu.com. His work is being read by over a million people (across the world) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. His book is already on top third position on Amazon.com in American Poetry category.
I must admit, that it was an honor to interview the man who is not only both successful and highly creative but someone who is being followed by some of the hottest celebrities of our time. Naturally, it sparks a curiosity to meet and know more about this man!
It is impossible to find out the complete list of celebrities who follow him but the man and writer Robert M. Drake is followed by Khloe Kardashian (American reality TV star), Kendall Jenner (American reality TV star and fashion model), Kylie Jenner (American reality TV star), Sophia Bush (American actress and activist), and Shay Mitchell (Canadian actress and model).
There is little to no doubt that thousands of young and aspiring writers want to know more about Robert. This is where this interview idea came to my mind. I knew I wanted to know more about him. Well, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce Robert to all of you.
Currently, I do not have a favorite place. There used to be a spot in a south beach called Van Dykes. It was a restaurant/bar/jazz lounge. It was fresh. I would kick it there several times a month. Good food, good people, good music and good drinks.
Do you like living in Miami? If you were to relocate, where would be that?
Probably San Francisco. I love it there. I feel unreal when I am there.
Do you have any pets? If yes, what are their names?
I have a Dog named Stewie. He is a rescue dog. When I was ready to adopt a dog I went to a local shelter. I remember seeing Stewie and his sister. I liked him a lot. He was very friendly but unfortunately, I did not take him.
A whole week passed and I still thought about him. I felt bad that I did not adopt him. I went back about a week later and his sister was gone but he was still in the shelter. I immediately adopted him and the rest is history.
He is very kind and lovely. Sometimes I feel for him because he cannot speak. I can see a lot of emotion in his eyes. It saddens me.
So Robert, do you write full-time?
Yes, I do, and I am very fortunate to be able to write full-time. I have put in a lot of sweat and blood into writing. Not a lot of people know that I have been writing since 1994. I have written numerous stories.
I have a 650-page book coming out called “A Brilliant Madness.” It a collection of five short stories I have written from circa 2003 to 2007. I am also working on “Gravity”, a novel.
Robert, let’s talk about Spirituality a little bit. Do you believe in God? Life after death?
I am not sure what I believe in. I feel things that I do know of. I have seen things that I do know of. I have a lot of questions regarding the entire religious spectrum. I have had very lucid dreams and experiences that question the ideals of Divinity.
I would like to say “No”, I do not, but something deep inside me tells me to believe and to keep searching. I am not sure what is it but there is something that does not want to eradicate my entire belief in God.
Maybe after all this is a human flaw, to believe that we can only define ourselves until we cannot and then there is a “God” to finish defining whatever it was you could not.
I do believe in life after death. My brother just passed in late August and we have spoken a few times.
Robert, on your Etsy store you mention that you are a sculptor and painter as well. Were you creative since childhood? Do you plan on exhibiting your work in the future?
When I was a child my parents were very poor. They did not have the money to buy me toys. In fact, I would only receive a gift during Christmas time. There were many instances where my father would buy me clay (because it was very cheap) instead of action figures or play guns, etc.
This was the only way I would lose myself. I would use whatever was around me and play. With the clay, I would sculpt action figures and play. When I was outside, I would pick up sticks and play. I was highly imaginative back then. It stillÂ amazes me to see how children use their imagination to getaway.
Imagination is a powerful thing. Some of us keep it and nurture it as we grow and some of us forget we have it.
I paint a lot of things. I do a lot of street art. It is everywhere in Miami and in other cities across the USA. No, I do not exhibit or plan on exhibiting my works. I like my artwork to stay in the streets. It belongs there and I would never want my work to be represented in a gallery. (I have turned down so many requests).
My artwork is free and it is forÂ everyone and it will always be. I would hate for my work to be owned and kept away from everyone who has yet experienced it.
With over 1M+ followers, you are a celebrity on Instagram. Tell us what does it feels like?
It is not real. I am not a celebrity. My work is shared by millions of people but nothing has really changed in my life. I still have the same life and I still live in a shitty apartment. Nothing has changed.
My writing only lives in the digital. It is not realÂ but what is realÂ is the feeling and hope my work gives to people and for that I am grateful. I am very blessed to be in a position where my thoughts and feelings influence a lot of people and that alone is enough to make me feel like my life is worth more than what is it right now.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. I believe in lust at first sight. I think that makes more sense to me. The illusion of love at first sight is not real.
Robert M. Drake on Writing
Tell us something about your upcoming novel “Gravity”?
Gravity is a novel that I have been writing since 2013. I do not want to mention too much about it at this time but I can tell you one thing: when you read it, you will lose track of time.
You will feel like you are dying only to reborn within every word. You will see yourself in the characters of the story and you will learn how to fall in love with something other than a person (human being).
The story is a reflection of our spirit and I have been chosen to write such a story. It is beautifully tragic in such a way that EVERYONE will be able to relate to it. This is why it is called Gravity, the attraction/force one we will never be able to break free of.
Can you talk about people or books you have read that have inspired you to embark on your own writing career?
Can you talk about that one defining the moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote a story called “The Balcony” back in 1999. It was about a girl who jumped off a balcony because she felt so alone and she felt like no one could help her. As morbidly awful as that sounds it actually made the people I showed it to cry.
I knew whatever it was I had in me was special. After that when I was in college, I remember a lot of my professors telling me that I should be a writer. I never stopped writing. It was in my blood and I became obsessed with the idea of writing. Not because I thought it was “cool” but because I felt like I wanted to tell stories; stories that I thought I would like to read as a reader.
I want to capture something and I know I have still not captured what it is that I am trying to capture. If that makes any sense. I would probably feel this way until I die because I am always evolving and what I am trying to define is also evolving. There will never be an end to my work/research. I will never be done.
In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of the writing process?
Trying to write when you do not feel like writing. And that’s all, really it is.
What advice would you give to budding authors?
Write what you know and do not write what others are writing. I understand there are certain things and emotions we all feel and go through. But if you are happy, do not write about hurting. I believe it is best to express what you are feeling at the moment. This way, the expression remains raw and fresh.
I am not saying you cannot write about something you went through last year because you can. But I believe it is best to write about whatever it is that is current. It keeps your feelings relevant to the “now” instead of waiting to write about whatever it is you want to write later.
I would also suggest to keep writing even if you express yourself poorly or if you do not like what you are writing. Keep writing. Do not compare yourself to other writers/authors because none are alike. It will only bring you down.
Also, the more renowned you get, the more recognition you will receive. There will be a lot of love but with praise and love comes hatred. For me, it fuels me to become better. I love it!
I love it when someone tells me my work is terrible. Thank you, I want to write better. I want to write deeper, and I will. I am not going anywhere. So, all of you who judge my work negatively and hate it, thank you. Keep hating; it makes me and my writing better.
Does your poetry carry a particular message or do you write for pleasure?
I do not write poetry. At least to me, I never saw them as “poems”. I write stories; that is all I have ever wanted to do. I do carry a message in my stories and the world has yet to see all that I can do.
These social media “thoughts and messages” are about 5% of what I want to do. I believe, if I play my cards right then I will leave a very powerful message behind when I pass away. I can assure you that.
All the mentions of “her” and “she” in your poems… are there particular people you write about?
They are characters in my stories. And, yes each character is always inspired by someone I know. So yes in a way it is.
What challenges have you had to face in your writing career?
My greatest challenge was probably to get my writing out in front of my readers. It has been a blessing that I have used Social Media to stretch out my thoughts and stories to millions of people.
It is a beautiful thing that I am not enslaved by a publishing company and restricted. I want to show people to not be afraid to fail, and live your dreams. I want to show people that failure is bound to happen but you can succeed. Be free and do what you love. No excuses.
Can someone make living from writing? What advice would you give to struggling artists out there?
Do not sell yourself to a company. Do not let them buy you by offering you a little something you can probably do yourself. You can make money of any product; you just need to present it properly. This is the way the world works. If you are an artist and you want to make a living off your art then study and learn about marketing. It is an entirely different world and a world that might seem too vast to grasp.
This is why a lot of people sign contracts and all. They do not want to deal with the marketing part of their endeavor. But then you are selling your art for a small piece of the cake. Companies will rob you blind and rob you of your work. Do not be a slave. Be your own boss and find the motivation to become so.
Any near term personal goals or long term ambitions?
To live, at least long enough to write a few novels. My brother recently passed away. I know I do not have all the time in the world. My goal is to live a little longer.
Where do you think you will be after 25 years?
I cannot see that far into the future. I am sorry.
Robert M. Drake: Just for Fun
What is your favorite English word?
What is your least favorite word?
Can you talk about a fan encounter that completely took you by surprise?
One time I was doing street art and a bunch of people came up to me because they saw what I was doing and it caught their interest. When they saw what I had put up they freaked out, and then I freaked out. I do not know how I feel about being exposed. This is why I like to remain in the shadows.
If a film is made on you, who would play your role?
I am not sure. I do not watch too much TV or movies. I do not own a TV and I have not had cable since 2012. I’m not into TV or movies; I don’t know a lot of actors so I feel like I cannot answer this properly. I’m sorry.
So you might know that Khloe Kardashian and several other Celebrities follow you on Instagram. Have you met Khloe in person?
Khloe is fresh. I love her and that is all I want to mention about that.
Do you like going to the zoo?
I have not been in a long time. But it is okay.
What do you do when not writing or painting?
Drinking. Sometimes I have to live a little to remove the heaviness pilling up from the inside.
On what do you spend the most: clothes, accessories, perfumes, underwear, food, etc.?
I do not spend much money. I was poor all my life. I guess in a way I am not attached to anything materialistic but if I must say I do like spending on other people. It makes me feel good about myself.
What were your friend’s and family’s reactions to your success? Were they surprised, appreciative, happy? Tell us a little more about it?
No one actually knows. I do not like telling too much about my work to the people I am close. It might change people and I like to protect the very few people I have left. I do not let any new person in my life; that is all.
Do you have a nickname?
My friends call me Bobby.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with R.M. Drake as much as I did preparing and putting it out. Since you are already here, let me tell you a secret. You can subscribe to the Naked Soul letters (see top right of the page) to receive exclusive contents, informative posts and fun-entertaining articles.
Also, please tell me, who would you want me to interview next? Please comment below. Do not forget to follow Robert @rmdrk and Naked Soul @naked_soul_poems on Instagram.
The below book trailer video was shot in New York. The story presents two lovers meeting each other after a long separation while they recite two poems from the book.
Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems
The book will be released worldwide both online and in stores. Naked Soul book is available for purchase starting February 2, 2015, in both ebook and print (soft paperback). The audiobook will be released soon.
Please visit Naked Soul’s Facebook and Instagram page for more pictures, videos, and quotes.
Official Book Trailer
Did you like the book trailer? The story? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Being a Naked Soul
Being a Naked Soul is more than just using a catchy phrase. Being naked means being as you are, as your true self, without any covering of ego. A person who loves without any expectation is a naked soul. True love is unconditional. True love is the essence of all life and the universe.
Every soul needs a touch of such love. A deep, unconditional love is what every heart truly desires. True love is passionately erotic.Here, once again, I am both happy and excited to present to you another awesome video on the upcoming book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems. Love is all.
Hope you enjoy this short video as much as we have enjoyed filming and making it. Remember, true love is when you’re kept up all night thinking of someone, and then when you fall asleep, you find your lover in your dreams.
No three words have greater power than “I Love You“.Let your heart speak its own poetry and feelings. Let your desire be touched by these words. Let these poems stir the passion in you.
Once this passion is aroused and strengthened, you will live in the moment, fearing nothing, living for no one but your own soul and the duty that it has carried since the time of your birth.
This book is all about getting in tune with our deepest, most intimate feelings.
Like it? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.