Popular cowboy poet and NPR humorist Black (Hey, Cowgirl, Need A Ride?, 2006, etc.) yodels all the way to the bank.
For some, calling the author’s witty ditties "poetry" is akin to calling velvet paintings of Elvis “art,” but many folks love his verse, as sales from Black’s self-published books prove: By 1986, the author had sold 49,205 copies of his works, setting him on the trail to financial success. In his latest book, which reads as part memoir, part how-to-publish guide, he outlines his path with “lessons” and a few poems. Readers will find it hard to resist Black’s enthusiastic voice and the silly photos he includes in the book. But poets and writers will be ready to leap from the nearest ledge when they learn how, after turning down a poetry contract with Crown Publishing during a phone conversation, Black mentioned an old novel in his closet, and it was accepted right away. The author knows and loves his audience, and he found a successful niche and filled it with what sells—e.g., sexy cowgirl jacket covers. It wasn’t all easy, though. Black spent an inordinate amount of time on marketing ploys, networked people he met through his career as a large-animal veterinarian to land speaking engagements and turned a cold call at NPR into a regular on-air gig.
Serious novices are better off learning to hone their craft, and those looking for great, self-taught poetry of hardscrabble Western life should turn to Kell Robertson. For the writer looking for a trough full of capitalistic motivation, though, this is the book.