Friday, March 16, 2012

My Mouth is Everywhere: Reflections on Launching my First Book

I've spent the last few weeks living in a sort of dreamlike state. A dream where my mouth is everywhere and people are talking about it. Everything has come together so perfectly and I'm not sure exactly how to respond. Maybe because this doesn't normally happen.

Yesterday, my first book, He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices, officially released. I celebrated with a reading here in Orlando, which was so much fun to do and well-attended. This was the first reading I've done in years and it felt really good. I actually had six or seven people come that I did not know, which is excellent. I read poems, we ate cupcakes (thanks to my friend Jaclyn), and we drank wine (thanks to me).

Getting a first book out has been a dream of mine from the time I can remember and now it's a reality and it's a strange feeling. Nothing is ever how you expect it to be. You don't suddenly wake up a different person because you have a book, yet things are different.

My book was such a fun experience to put together partly because I was working with such a wonderful, supportive, and author focused press (Sibling Rivalry Press). I'm so thankful for this experience and all the support Bryan Borland has given me. He doesn't like you to get sentimental and I typically hate sentimental people, but what he's doing for the poetry publishing world right now is amazing and he's giving voice to so many great poets and writers. That's all I'm saying. The experience has been great, but the response to the book over the last few weeks has been amazing and for that I thank everyone who has been willing to buy a copy, write a review, come to a reading, or recommend my book to a friend.

Putting a book out there is a little scary. Suddenly my work is in the hands of anyone who wants to buy it. Anyone can say whatever they want about me or my poems. Everything so far has been positive. I've already received a few emails from complete strangers telling me how much they loved the book. I've heard from old friends who bought it and read it and loved it. I have a few great reviews on Amazon and Good Reads and more coming. I was also named a "gay must read" in Next Magazine out of New York City, which was very cool and unexpected. On top of that, my book has been selling really well. I've sold nearly 50 copies myself and my publisher received more pre-orders for my book than any book before. All of this combined with a successful reading last night has left me feeling a little overwhelmed.

I'm glad to see my work connecting with people and getting people interested in poetry. I'm proud of the book and thankful for the support of all of my friends and my partner. This isn't just a formal thank you. I truly mean it.

The journey has just begun. For those not in Orlando, please note I'll be in NYC starting next Thursday. I'm doing a reading for Assaracus magazine on Friday night and I'll be reading at 3 PM on Saturday at the Rainbow Book Fair. Then in April, I'll be in Atlanta for a reading. Come see me.

-Stephen (Grateful)


  1. Congratulations again.

    I just bought your lovely new book from SRP. I look forward to reading it soon.