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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 ...
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.
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.
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