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  • Writer's pictureMilena Williamson

My Pamphlet

It’s not exactly the newest of news, but my debut poetry pamphlet, Charm for Catching a Train, is out in the world. It was published by Green Bottle Press in autumn 2022, and I have a dedicated section of my website for the pamphlet, which includes the blurb, reviews and links for where you can purchase it!

But this blog gives me a little more space to ramble. There are so many things I could talk about when it comes to writing, revising and publishing a collection of work, especially for the first time. I wrote a wee bit about these things already in my piece on Poems, Process and Time for the Honest Ulsterman.

In this blog post I want to say a little more about what I have been up to and what I have learned from publishing.

A young woman stands in the bookshop. She is smiling and holding up her poetry pamphlet, entitled Charm for Catching a Train.
Seeing my pamphlet for the first time in a bookshop and signing copies!

1. Buy yourself a new publishing notebook (or ask a loved one to buy it for you!). This is NOT the same notebook that I used to rewrite and revise the poems, scribbling lines and playing with images. As Olivia Sudjic writes in Exposure, “writing and publishing…are antithetical experiences.” The writing notebook is a sacred creative space. No, the publishing notebook is purely practical (but it can still be pretty!). It has all the lists of places I have sent my pamphlet: literary magazines that include reviews, podcasts, bookshops, etc. both physical copies and digital copies. It has lists of what poems I read for particular events, notes on how I have tried to use social media, my overall publishing goals and more. It’s a private place to keep track of all the public-facing work that publishing demands.

2. If you’re an emerging writer, and you’re shouting into the void about your pamphlet or book, I hear you. Marketing/promoting yourself is tough. Sometimes you get a review and it feels magical and affirming and brilliant. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you have the energy to do this work and sometimes you don’t.

3. Read Exposure by Olivia Sudjic. This was the book I needed to help guide me through my publishing experience. It’s short but powerful, so you can read it more or less in one sitting. “For first-time novelists [or poets!] (especially those outside of writing courses or adjacent professions) there may be a whiplash transition from seclusion to suddenly feeling like your consciousness has divided an infinite number of times and is now imprisoned within physical books. To being referred to by your last name, seeing yourself as a stranger might, or as if you’re dead. It’s the feeling of always being vulnerable and blaming yourself for thinking you could handle it.”

That’s all from me for now! If you want to, check out the page on my website about Charm for Catching a Train.

Sending love an ocean away!


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