G. M. Palmer interview with David Alan Binder

posted Jan 26, 2016, 6:10 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated May 16, 2016, 6:38 AM ]

Author G. M. Palmer interview with David Alan Binder

 By way of introduction his bio on Amazon reads: 

G.M. Palmer preaches, teaches, and wrangles children on an urban farm in Northeast Florida.

His criticism and poetry can be found throughout various blogs and magazines, both in print and online. His children can be found throughout the neighborhood or at their grandmother's house. His notes can be found on legal pads and spiral notebooks. His business cards can be found with neat little poems on the back of them.

 

The answer to question 10 below holds a secret for writers.

 

His website:  http://www.gmpalmer.com/

 

His Blog: http://strongverse.blogspot.com/

 

His Good Reads site: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6542346.G_M_Palmer

 

His Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/With-Rough-Gods-G-Palmer/dp/0982387814

 

 

1.     Where are you currently living?

 

On a poodle farm in Northeast Florida.

 

2.     Where would you like to live?

 

If Florida is out, then the Italian Tyrol, the Shenandoah Valley, or New
          Orleans. Preferably all four in different seasons.

 

 

3.     Why did you start writing?

 

At first I started writing because I was inspired by authors. My first non-school writing assignment was a Stephen King-ish story about a girl haunted by her dead father who possessed her boyfriend. It wasn’t nearly as awesome as it sounds. Then I discovered poetry--Pound, Stein, Rich and then Eliot and Plath--and I wanted to create the same joy for others they created in me. And then I realized that women loved poets and it was all over but the shouting.

 

4.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

 

Be unafraid. Draft, revise, draft, revise--there’s always something that can be cut out. It seems silly that we have to say this over and over again but the
false romantic notion that your first draft is wonderful or indeed worth
anything messes up so many writers that I always come back to it.
Be unfraid of your subject, of your writing, of your editing. Cut. Cut again.

 

5.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

 

I have a fetish for legal pads and green pens. Really, my writing method is
          rather boring and bog standard, I’d guess.

 

6.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

 

a.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

 

My publisher was Jagged Door Press in Memphis who mostly folded after they published With Rough Gods. The publisher had a lot of other irons in the fire but has graciously kept in contact and kept the book in print.

The question regarding traditional or self-publishing is a fascinating one. Were I any good at writing the kind of genre prose I started with, I’d self-publish for sure. Poetry’s a different kettle of fish.

 

 

7.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

 

I insisted With Rough Gods be available as an eBook. It’s been an interesting marketing device but it’s certainly sold better as a print book than an eBook by a factor of five or so.

 

8.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?      

 

          Meet people. Go to AWP or whatever conferences you can. Getting
          published is absolutely about who you know. Unless you’re already famous
          you have to have talent to get published--but you’ll never get that talent in
          front of someone if they don’t know who you are. Also: get an agent if you
          can.

 

 

9.     How did you acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

         

          Sadly, poets don’t get agents (for the most part). I had some great
          conversations with agents who liked my work but there’s just no money in it
          for them. But as far as I can see, getting an agent (or at least getting your
          work in front of a good one) is fairly simple: have excellent work and a great    query letter and put yourself out there.

 

10.                        Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

          With Rough Gods was a combination of three factors: I wrote a poem with a
          style and subject that I loved and wanted to revisit (“Pyramus and Thisbe”), I
          wanted something that felt like a “first book” (which, in poetry, generally
          means a gimmick of some kind), and a friend asked me to write something
          that could be used in schools.
          So I wrote a book of sonnets spoken by Greek mythological characters.
          While the whole book hasn’t been used in a classroom that I know of,
          several individual poems have shown up on syllabi, so that’s kind of great.

11.                        Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers?

          Remember that thing about cutting and drafting and revising? Do that.
          Get yourself--and your work--in front of people.
          Be gregarious.

12.                        What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

          How much more I as the author know about my subject than my reader. You
          have to figure out a way to teach your reader how to read you without being
          didactic.

13.                        How many books have you written? 

          Written to completion? Four. Published? One.

 

14.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer? 

 

          See 12.

 

15.                        We’ve heard that it is good to provide twists in a good story.  How do you do this?

 

16.                        What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

 

With respect to my sales, not much, apparently. Sales are great at readings, however. It’s hard to overstate the importance of going before an audience.

 

17.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

 

I have a goodreads campaign that afaik has been worthless. What works is going to readings and bringing copies of my book. Copies always sell.

 

18.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why?

 

I would have done a better job getting review copies PRIOR to publication
          in the hands of reviewers who I knew would be likely to review my book,
          even if that meant delaying the publication date.

 

19.                        What would you like carved onto your tombstone?  Or what saying or mantra do you live by?

 

Love.

 

END OF INTERVIEW

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