Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Recent updates haven’t focused much on the poetry side of things. This week, that changes!

1. It’s been a little more than 13 months since the release of Birthright, my poetry collection published by Kelsay Books. I’ve told publicity clients many times that you never know when various outreach efforts may yield a response. And it’s true.

This week, for instance, I received an email from a popular poem-a-day website (which, for now, shall remain unidentified). A review copy went to them way back when promoting Birthright was a major project. Now, many months later, they’ve sent a request to republish one of the book’s poems on their site. What a happy surprise! (No, I don’t have the pub/post date yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.)

2. I also learned that another poem in the collection was being sought for republication in a book project. Initially, I saw no mention of payment (although they offered a contributor copy). Bearing in mind a lesson I learned long ago—ask for payment!—I made my request.

And guess what—I will receive an honorarium.

(Note: Sometimes, the answer will be that the money simply isn’t there. Then, you need to decide if you still want to participate. But you can’t reach that point if you don’t even ask.)

3. Two other, extremely meaningful affirmations of Birthright came my way this week.

First, during a weekend Zoom reunion of my cohort from a summer program I lucked into as a teenager nearly 35 years ago, one of my fellow alums surprised me with an off-the-cuff announcement that he’d bought and read Birthright. Then, he told everyone in the meeting that they should do the same. Confession: He, in my view, was “the real poet” in our group. And after the Zoom gathering, we had a lovely email exchange in which we strolled down our own poetic memory lane.

And then, also over the weekend, a friend from my more recent past—we met at a summer writing conference significantly fewer than 35 years ago—sent me this screenshot from his Goodreads 2020 reading update.

Screenshot indicating that BIRTHRIGHT: POEMS by Erika Dreifus, with a 4.81 average, was "Highest Rated on Goodreads."

In both cases, the generosity and thoughtfulness overwhelmed me. Although, considering these particular sources, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Please pardon me if this an overstep, but—if you, too, have read and appreciated Birthright (or, for that matter, Quiet Americans: Stories), please know it’s never too late to add a review on sites like Amazon or Goodreads where, like or not, reviews can and do make a difference. (How amazing would it be to finally reach the “magic” 50-review mark for the latter on Amazon in time for the 10th anniversary of its release!) Reviews need not be long or “scholarly.” The ones that I post typically aren’t!

Thank you!

screenshot that shows BIRTHRIGHT: POEMS by Erika Dreifus as a "Highest Rated" title on Goodreads.

6 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Mazel Tov on all the wonderful attention paid to your work, Erika. This really bodes well for a successful 2021!

  2. Congratulations and as happy a new year as possible!

    Elisavietta Ritchie
    My forthcoming collection: ISSUES OF IMMORTALITY from New Bay Books“

  3. Great to see your well-deserved and continued success with Birthright!

  4. Sandy Soli says:

    Just the right ending to a bumpy year, Erika! Congratulations! You’re right. I should at least ask and then decide if the project deserves a free poem or not. I usually scroll on past the announcement without checking further.

  5. Erika Dreifus says:

    Thank you all so very much!

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