Over the past few weeks I’ve been out and about with my new book, doing gigs in pubs and in cafes, universities and independent bookshops. It’s been joyous – like most poets, I get a tremendous buzz out of putting my work in front of new audiences – and having a good number of gigs in a short time has allowed me to explore and hone the way I deliver the poems. It doesn’t get better than that.

These have been ‘grassroots’ gigs, and as a result of them over one hundred copies of snapshots are now out and about in the world. In my experience, gigs and performances remain far and away the best way to sell books. Social media platforms have grown increasingly unhelpful when it comes to sharing posts they see as ‘promotional’ – mentions of gigs, news of events, any links which may take people away from their website – largely because the immensely wealthy people who run the platforms seem to value nothing other than the accumulation of even more wealth, and don’t have the tiniest clue about the shoestring nature that much of the arts world gets by on. Nor, I imagine, do they care. We allowed the heady promise of the internet and its freedoms to be acquired, gobbled up, and sold back to us by cyber-barons and venture capitalists, and I think it’s fair to say we’re all the worse off as a result.

I digress, I know. But in that context, I’ll take one hundred sales as a veritable achievement. And if you’re curious about what poems there may be in snapshots, haven’t been able to make it to one of my gigs, and would like to ‘try before you buy’ the good news is I’m one of the feature poets at the next Virtual Voices event, run by Offa’s Press. It’s on Zoom, this Saturday March 23rd, and starts at 5pm, so you can join us from anywhere in the world. Four poets, each doing a twenty-minute set. What’s not to like? Click on the link for details, and I’ll see you there.

Not you, Zuckerberg. You neither, Mr Musk. We have standards.