Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Tag: iBooks

I’m Now a (Self-)Published Poet

blinks of awe cover

I’m so thrilled to type these words: blinks of awe, my first poetry book, has just been published in 32 countries!

Blinks of awe is an interactive book of poetry, or as I prefer to call it, a poetry experience. It’s only available on the iPad but when you first open it, you’ll see why. There’s no boring, black, left-aligned, serif text on a tidy white page here. Traditional poetry isn’t boring; it just doesn’t leverage what’s possible today. I’ve pushed the technology further than I’ve ever seen in a poetry book so that the medium truly complements the content. In the future, I plan to write more about iBooks Author, the main tool that made this book (and the textbook I designed earlier this year) possible. But in the mean time, I need your help!

This project began as a “wouldn’t-that-be-neat” idea on a late January weekend. What I thought I’d throw together in two days and nights ended up taking two months. In the process, I learned a lot about self-publishing ebooks, from formats to ISBNs to imprints to copyrights to pricing to working with Apple. I learned the joy and exquisite pain of trying to record your own voice, from replicating the way it sounds in your head to how it sounds on various kinds of speakers. I pushed my vocal limits and made voice recording part of my editing process. I went through numerous design iterations of every single poem. I leveraged my best personal photos, my pencil and digital artwork, and royalty free photography to put together designs that I’m damn proud of. To keep myself motivated, I started a Seinfeld calendar with six friends and worked on blinks of awe every single day for 55 straight days. And now seeing it published just made it all worth it.

I have little experience in marketing. But I know that if I don’t try everything I can to share this book, all this hard work and wonderful, late-night inspiration will be for naught. So take a chance on something new. I think you’ll be surprised.

Buy blinks of awe in the iBookstore.

Looking for unusual poetry books

When I got the idea for blinks of awe earlier this year, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to push what modern technology can do for an artform as old as poetry. I’m excited by what I’ve come up with and I’m sure you’ll be excited too (as soon as I get Apple’s approval). While I’m waiting, I’ve been looking at what other poetry books have done to push the boundaries of the expected. Unfortunately, most moden poetry books are still left-aligned, black text on a white page. Most poetry ebooks shun the power of the devices they run on and are essentially exact replicas of their print versions.

The first really standout example I’ve found is Between Page and Screen by Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse. Now this is what I was talking about when I wrote about creating a poetry experience! The book is both physical and digital, requiring a physical copy and a visit to the book’s web site to be read. The site uses your computer’s webcam to show you what neither the printed page nor the digital screen can. I am eagerly awaiting for my copy to arrive. I’ll post a review as soon as I can!

In the mean time, please feel free to suggest unusual poetry books in the comments! I’m sure there are others pushing the boundaries of verse.

Updateblinks of awe is now available here!

What exactly is a poetry experience?

Roughly a week ago I submitted my first collection of poetry to Apple’s iBookstore. As I eagerly check the submission site for the book’s status several times a day, I reflect on what brought me here. How does someone who never imagined releasing anything other than a traditionally published novel end up self-publishing an interactive collection of poetry, exclusively for the iPad? Why poetry? Why just the iPad? What exactly is this poetry experience I’ve been pushing since I started the project?

I have a confession to make. I hardly read any poetry. I’m not going to come up with a convincing excuse. I’m just going to shake things up and make more people read more poetry, period. How? The iPad. Yes, the same iPad full of endless videos, high definition games, elegant news readers, and a thousand other distractions. Of all the apps that raced through your mind when I mentioned the iPad, I doubt iBooks was one of them. But I’ll change that too.

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