Noel Parent, 38, is a writer, landscaper and researcher with a B.A. from University of Notre Dame. He has lived in South Bend, Indiana and Auroville, India but currently resides in Atlanta GA. Reach him on his blog website or on Facebook. His book ‘Transcendent Sky - A Spiritual Journey of Poetry’ is a 64-page paperback and e-book on poetry, spirituality and yoga published June 2013. You can find out more on the website and the Facebook page. The book is available for purchase in paperback at the Createspace E-store, on Amazon Kindle and on Smashwords for Nook, Sony, Kobo and other E-books.
Noel shares about the idea for the book, the genre, the research - I have been writing poetry for 15 years as a natural outflow of all my inner spiritual seeking and meditation. It had become a way of expressing the deeper Truth that I was awakening to within myself, which came naturally as a part of my Yoga. Even around 2000, I had compiled one collection of poems under the same name as the current book, but never published it. I recently felt a strong need to share this poetry with everyone, and finally decided to take the best poems and organize it into a decent book to offer to others. To put it simply, it just felt like now was the time to do this book. It has been a long process of inner exploration over many years…a constant research of the Soul, Spirit, and Consciousness.
Were there challenges in the writing process, was there a writing schedule? Writing poetry for me is not about thinking, but about entering an inner Silence in order to connect with something deeper and beyond oneself, something Divine. So the difficulty comes in being able to stay with that Silence and Openness and then receiving something that is beyond oneself, and yet still a part of oneself at the same time, so that one can express it in as pure and clear a way as possible. It is truly a Yoga practice, a practice of awakening Consciousness. In fact, the writing is not the most difficult part, but rather the editing and organizing of the book after the poems are already written…when the mind becomes more involved! I had no structure, no time…whenever the Inspiration came, wherever…so many different times and places.
On collaborators, technology and publishing - My close friend Jenny Beaudin helped me with the cover image editing and creation. She does photo retouching work. Most poems I wrote by hand in a small notepad first, then later typed all into a computer document. I really saw this first book as an experiment in self-publishing. I never thought about sending to publishing companies, as I knew this would be a very long process, and I just wanted to put something into the world and see what would happen. I thought I would simply offer it as an E-book only, but then decided to also do the Print-On-Demand service through Amazon's Createspace. I wanted to cover all areas with a print version and also being able to offer it as an E-book for all formats and versions - Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, even a generic PDF for those who just want to read on a computer. I feel the most options offered the better.
What was the process after that, once you had your book ready to be published? And how did you market it? A lot of the work was in the technical formatting of the book for the various formats needed - the print version needed one format, then an E-book format. In fact, two versions of the E-book were needed because of the technical demands for the different E-book formats…one for Kindle, one for Smashwords, which does the formatting for all other E-book versions. Once this was done, began the long road of marketing and researching ways to market…an endless job for self-publishers, I feel. I am still really at the beginning of the marketing phase, but I already had a blog/website related to my writings on which I added a page for my book, while writing a Book Release blog to put out into my Wordpress community, and beyond. I also created a Facebook page, and plan to use social media as much as possible. I sent a mass email to all my Email addresses to get friends and family involved in spreading the word. I hope in time to start visiting independent bookstores and other artsy shops to inquire about carrying my book, as well as visiting poetry readings. I plan to do a press release to various newspapers/magazines, and also create an email list for various poetry groups, yoga studios, spiritual communities and other groups that might connect with my particular brand of poetry. I plan to do this slowly as I have time. I'm certainly open to any leads people have to share!
His plans for the future - I will have at least one, possibly two, children's books being published by early 2014. I continue to write articles for my blog, but also have plans to write a couple novels and a nonfiction book on spirituality, consciousness, and Yoga.
Your advice for aspiring writers? Well, as I am still in the beginning of my own journey in publishing, I can only offer this: Don't be too much in a hurry, take your time and do every detail with perfection and care, follow what your inner Sense tells you in terms of what direction to take - to self-publish or to find a publisher, to do a print book or an E-book or both. And just keep at it, be creative in all aspects of the work - the writing, the design and layout, the marketing, with everything…and reach out to everyone to make the connections that can slowly grow and help build a network of people who want to read what you have to say.
Noel is the first poetry writer to be featured here. We look forward to his books in 2014!