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Lessons from a Desperado Poet: How to Find Your Way When You Don't Have a Map, How to Win the Game When You Don't Know the Rules, and When Someone Says it Can't be Done, What They Mean is They Can't Do It

Overview

Part memoir, part how-to, all Baxter Black, Lessons from a Desperado Poet is a humorous, witty take on making a living by doing the right thing and trying everything. According to Black—who provides 118 life lessons through the course of the book—success, at least in the form to be had by working outside the system, "does not take a genius; it just requires the persistence of a glacier. . . . Remember, often it is not ability, it's reliability. The world is run by those who show up."A mind-tickling romp through ...

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Lessons from a Desperado Poet: How to Find Your Way When You Don't Have a Map, How to Win the Game When You Don't Know the Rules, and When Someone Says it Can't be Done, What They Mean is They Can't Do It

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Overview

Part memoir, part how-to, all Baxter Black, Lessons from a Desperado Poet is a humorous, witty take on making a living by doing the right thing and trying everything. According to Black—who provides 118 life lessons through the course of the book—success, at least in the form to be had by working outside the system, "does not take a genius; it just requires the persistence of a glacier. . . . Remember, often it is not ability, it's reliability. The world is run by those who show up."A mind-tickling romp through the formation, fermentation, and fruition of the author's career as a poet in a country where publishing poetry is "practically illegal," Lessons from a Desperado Poet is instructional for the entrepreneur, inspirational for the ambitious, and entertaining for the teeming masses. In three sections—"How I Learned,""What I Learned," and "Why I Was Able to Learn"—the man the New York Times called "probably the nation's most successful living poet" takes us through everything from his "Basque Infusion" (i.e., the lessons he learned working for a hard-headed Basque) and how he became a self-sustaining poet, to such chapters as "Me and NPR," "How to Control Your Tech Addiction," and "Controlling Your Own Life—Big Decisions Like Turning Down Johnny Carson." Since it is also a story of continuously overcoming the odds, Lessons from a Desperado Poet leaves a trail of self-improvement and motivational tortilla crumbs that readers will follow with delight—before, that is, squirreling them away in their own cerebral pockets for later use.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There is nothing profound in saying that chickens cluck or that Baxter Black is a man of enormous talent, but readers of this book will find there is more to his success than a train-load of talent. He didn’t quit when life bucked him off and stomped on his hat. He works hard. He reads and studies and thinks. He prays. He keeps his word. He doesn’t write trash. He respects his audience. How rare and refreshing: an artist/entertainer who can spell integrity, and even knows what it means."- John Erickson, Author of "Hank the Cowdog" Series
Kirkus Reviews

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762769971
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 847,378
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Baxter Black

Cowboy poet and large-animal veterinarian, Baxter Black, says "I was raised with the coyotes. No, this is serious. I was raised in New Mexico, did three years at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, then four more years at Colorado State University to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Veterinary school was hard for me. (The price of a gallon of gas was higher than my GPA!)"Throughout the summers of my college years I worked at different livestock operations as 'cowboy labor.' To help support myself, among other things, I had a band and rode bulls. Upon graduation I practiced for thirteen years in the livestock business and would still be there if cowboy poetry had not hijacked my life."Since poetry is virtually illegal in the United States, I have had to work around the edges of the mainstream to make a living - outside the box, as it were. For thirty years I have been successful performing cowboy poetry (think of Shakespeare rather than Robert Frost) at venues across the country and in Canada. The greatest blessing in my business is that I have never had to solicit appearances. It has all been word of mouth."To augment my performances, over the years I have expanded into best-selling books, CD and DVD publishing, a regular column, a commercial radio program, National Public Radio appearances, cable television, and producing commercials."Our entertainment business, my wife's and mine, began in Colorado. Twelve years ago we moved to Arizona to take care of my folks. I still have a heavy travel schedule and we have five employees in our office. We have a married daughter and a teenage son. "We live on a small ranch close to the Mexican border and I punch cows when I'm not on the road. It ain't a bad life."

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Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Introduction ix

Section 1 How I Learned: Through early entrepreneurial ventures, Through wrestling with implanted but disorganized values, And through dealing with the fear of losing a regular paycheck.

Chapter 1 The Basque Infusion 2

Chapter 2 It Is Illegal to Publish Poetry in the United States 12

Chapter 3 The Making of a Self-Sustaining Poet 20

Chapter 4 A Poet Enters the Real World 35

Section 2 What I Learned: To depend on my marketing ability to survive, To think outside the box, And to appreciate the importance of integrity.

Chapter 5 Starting in the Book Business 54

Chapter 6 Me and NPR 68

Chapter 7 Self-Publishing: Marketing, Promotion, Distribution, and Sales 79

Chapter 8 Marketing Outrageously 88

Chapter 9 How to Control Your Tech Addiction 104

Chapter 10 The Act of Self-Publishing-Preparing Your Manuscript 116

Chapter 11 Spectacular Belly Flops! 131

Chapter 12 Dead Horses and Moving On 142

Chapter 13 Good Management Is Good Help and Enough of It! 150

Chapter 14 Managing Your Finances 164

Chapter 15 Travelin-Goin' Down the Road 169

Section 3 Why I was Able to Learn: By maintaining my inner values, By trusting my intuitions, And by developing a faith that transcends publicity.

Chapter 16 Doin' Business on a Handshake 182

Chapter 17 Controlling Your Life-Big Decisions Like Turning Down Johnny Carson 193

Chapter 18 Faith 206

Index 213

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