Getting the book printed didn’t take very long and in fact took me by surprise. It’s on Amazon now. but the book entitled “Action Steps for Expository Preachers” was written by another Rodney Wood. Selling the book isn’t my top priority. It was always my intention to give the book away to people I admire, friends or engage in “swapsies”. So I haven’t got a Facebook author page, use Twitter, Instagram or worried about Bookbub, the cream of the crop apparently when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. I do however like the idea of creating a Youtube channel where you can hear the poem and see me wearing that leather hat. I already seen to have started a blog but haven’t set up a link to my Amazon page and really tried to push it. When I get the books I’ll send some off to reviewers, although my first book was received 5 positive reviews that resulted in no extra sales. Two copies will of course be sent to the Poetry (and they’ll probably pay you). The point is I’m very relaxed about the whole affair. So far this has resulted in an article in Write Out Loud. I’ve also had the idea of donating any profits to a national charity but more about that in another post. However, I’m still waiting for copies of my book to arrive and then I have to buy envelopes, and stamps. To end here’s the second poem in the book:


I was bruised with bamboo canes / knew nothing much for sure

slept on boards / wore chains / I was bruised with bamboo canes

slept on boards / wore chains / knew nothing much for sure

I started cruising until / another day / another demon came along

escaped from the closet / I started cruising until

escaped from the closet / another day / another demon came along

I waited in the park for business / I couldn’t forgot that childhood

joined with a pimp / I waited in the park for business

joined with a pimp / I couldn’t forgot that childhood

I’ve known pain without end / I don’t want an immortal soul / I wanna die

I’ve never been human / I’ve known pain without end

I’ve never been human / I don’t want an immortal soul / I wanna die

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Here’s the first poem from my pamphlet. Like Coleridge’s wedding guest it starts off with someone urgently talking to you.


under the obvious & meaningless sun / the cage & weeds / of London Road

my wounds have yet to heal / under the obvious & meaningless sun

my wounds have yet to heal / the cage & weeds / of London Road

& I want to talk / about everything & life isn’t the vision I had

the man comes after work / with a smoke & I want to talk

the man comes after work / with a smoke & life isn’t the vision I had

I talk / about how I’m ruined / mad & alone wearing a leather hat

how I’m afraid / a puzzle / always failing / I talk / about how I’m ruined

how I’m afraid / a puzzle / always failing / mad & alone wearing a leather hat

& the man watches as I fade / as my hat appears further & further away

the train hurtling with its ironies / & the man watches as I fade

the train hurtling with its ironies / as my hat appears further & further away


‘Self-publication? It’s a perfectly respectable way to get your book into print’

by Rodney Wood

Friday 12th March 2021 7:13 pm

entry picture

Rodney Wood is a long-time poet and co-compere of Write Out Loud Woking. He recently decided to investigate how difficult or easy it is to self-publish your own pamphlet. Here’s how he got on:

“After you’ve been writing a while and sending poems off to magazines you obviously think of the next step, a pamphlet. You try competitions and sending to publishers who may or may not respond. It’s a lot of work, not only finding the right 20 or so poems but also writing about your poetry ‘experience’. For whatever reason, no one was going to take my poems.

What’s my pamphlet about? When working in Guildford I used to meet ‘Steve’; I never found out his real name. We fell into a routine of smoking and ‘Steve’ would tell me stories about his life. It ended when he committed suicide. All the poems share the same looping pattern.

Visiting printers at the moment is out of the question, so if you want to be involved in the process that means print on demand. The advantages? There are no upfront costs, it’s simple, quick and relatively cheap. Self-publishing has been around for years (Virginia Woolf did it, as did Mark Twain and James Joyce. William Blake did nothing else). It’s a perfectly respectable way to get a book into print.

The process is quite simple and you can redo, if necessary, any one of the stages.  The first step is to have the poems ready in Word format (DOCX). Go through them and get friends to go through them to check for typos. At the front of the document I manually added the contents list together with the page numbers on each page. I saved the file in Word format but it could just as easily have been in DOC, HTML or RTF.  In order to get an idea of the overall process read, or print out, the Amazon KDP: Complete Guide to Kindle Direct Publishing (Step-by-Step). I was only interested in a print version – I don’t like the look of poems on a Kindle. I did a mock-up at this point of how I wanted the book to look including the cover, back cover, copyright page and dedication.

The most difficult thing was coming up with the name of the publisher. Ace Press, Aldershot City Press, Applewood Press, Arcadia Publishing, Pond Books, Autumn House Press, Bruyno Press, Beacon Publishing, Bonnier Little Press, Book Publishing Of Farnborough, Bright Skies Press, Little Wood Press? I could have spent weeks trying to think of names. Instead I joined the Independent Publishing Network to solve this little problem, using their name as my publisher. It also gave me an ISBN number, but Amazon can give you this for free anyway.

For the font there was a straight choice between something unfussy and easily readable, Arial or Times New Roman, or else the more interesting looking Garamond, Didot or Perputa. I chose Arial in the end. A size of 8 or 9 point worked fine.

Most pamphlets I have are the same size trim size of (5”x8”). It’s a good idea to change the page size of your Word document to fit this size, and don’t forget to change the margins.

KDP has a Cover Creator tool which proved sufficient. I had already chosen a photo for the cover and I was given a number of different templates for the style and layout.

At this point I could preview and go back to make necessary changes. When I was finally happy I pressed Save and Publish and 12 hours later my book, When Listening Isn’t Enough, was listed on Amazon. I ordered a proof copy to check what it looked like: £1.70 printing costs plus £2.84 postage. The cost of 50 copies of the 24-page pamphlet, including the proof copy, was £95.25. So now I must order 50 copies for myself to swap or sell. And then comes the marketing stage …

Email Rodney at if you have any queries

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The proof copy arrived today. The photo for the cover worked well, a few headings need adjusting and the page numbers in the contents page are a bit ragged (corrected by using tabs rather than spaces. So loaded the amended WORD document and published it. My page shows “Your recent changes are currently under review. Titles are typically reviewed and published within 72 hours. Review times vary and may take longer if publishing rights need to be verified. Meanwhile, the previous version of your title is live on Amazon and is available for purchase.” When I get the email saying this has been done I’ll order 50 copies.



Apparently during the pandemic Amazon has decided to cut down production of paperback books. Which explains why I won’t be getting the proof copy until Tuesday, a week after ordering it. Meanwhile I’ve been going it and making a few changes. The book is available on Amazon now. That last sentence should really be in bold and sound more exciting.

Although the events happened in 2004/05 I didn’t actually start writing it until 2013. I was dissatisfied with my writing and started thinking about inventing my own form. I thought about what I liked. Repetition “in word and phrase and in idea is the very essence of poetry,” Theodore Roethke. The structure of the haiku. Blues lyrics from Leadbelly to Muddy Waters. German grammar where all the verbs go at the end of the phrase. Michael Hamburger’s “The Truth of Poetry”. John Ashbery and repetition. Add some play and viola a form I was happy with. A poem consisting of 4 (don’t ask me why) 3 line stanzas. I thought of those poems I’d written at the time and recast them in the new form. They turned into about a dozen poems called “The Night Cafe” which I submitted to a Pighog Competition where it was shortlisted. It lacked depth. I put it aside for a few years and started adding and taking away poems till they seemed to tell a story. From first meeting, I never got to know his name, through to him telling me about his life, and me witnessing his suicide. It was much more real, more true now. The title, When Listening Isn’t Enough, came very, very late in the process. I’ve had something to do with the Samaritans for a number of years and remember their attempts to stop suicides on the railways. One of the recommendations if you see someone “at risk” was to engage them in small talk. Perhaps if I’d done that with “Steve” it would have turned out differently but I had my own problems back then, mainly to do with work.


The first step was to login to

Where a page like this should face you, without my book details obviously. My aim was to publish say 50 paperback copies. Click on Create a new title +paperback. Then you are taken through a number of options and fields for you to enter: language, book title, your name, description, keywords, and category. The next step is to upload the files containing the poems. It doesn’t like .kdp files only DOC, DOCX, HTML or RTF. Luckily the project folder keeps a DOCX file. It was at this stage I added back page numbers to that file.

Launch cover creator to select your cover photo from the hard drive and look at the available templates, with different positioning of the photo,title etc. It is also at this point you can add material to the back cover – biography, description and your photo. Amazon automatically adds the bar code. It would have been nice to add the price here as well but I couldn’t work out how. Then click the Launch Previewer button. This takes a good few minutes. The resulting panel told me I had a problem. The book I wanted was 5×8 but my DOCX files had a page size of A4; luckily kdp can resize the file for you but if could change some formatting. It is at the point you can see if things aren’t quite right you can you back and put them right in the DOCX file and reload. You don’t have to redo the cover. When you’re satisfied click the Save and Continue button.

The next stage was getting together rights, pricing and financial information which proved a bit of a pain. The result was I have worldwide rights on a books costing £5, similar to most pamphlets, with printing costs of £1.70 and royalty of £1.30; Amazon I assume gets the other £2, I could be wrong though. I was happy with everything so clicked the Save and Publish button. My bookshelf, see above, showed my book’s cover and said that’s it’s status was now In Review. It will take about 72 hours for my book to be ready for me to order proof copies. I’ll let you know what it looks like in the next post.


So I gave the poems a run through and used the Preview feature to see what it looked like on a Tablet and Kindle.

telling me to piss off / the click of the receiver

the last words from stone / telling me to piss off the

last words from stone / the click of the receiver

The ideal would be the above with no lines running on. Alas, just about every poem had to be changed. This is a good thing strangely enough because it means you can tighten the poem up by getting rid of excess fat and find even a few more typos..

I’m ready to go and need the following information available:

  1. Your Kindle Create file: When Listening Isnt Enough_KC2.Kcb created 1 March 2021 (folder for projects kcb file and Word document within that.
  2. Book title When Listening Isn’t Enough
  3. Your cover image (2,813 x 4,500 pixels): from I downloaded a picture 1920 x 2800 pixels
  4. Your book description (4,000 characters or less, including spaces) WHEN LISTENING ISN’T ENOUGH is about my time working in Guildford. After work I used to go to London Road station where I would meet a man called that I called “Steve”. We fell into a routine of smoking a rollie together while “Steve” told stories for a few minutes before the train came. “Steve” had a pig of a life and his only way out was suicide. It might have changed things if I had taken the time to talk back and tell “Steve” that I was also falling apart and failing at work.
  5. Know the category for your book Literature & Fiction/Poetry/British
  6. Keywords (choose up to seven); double keyword phrases count as one keyword, e.g. self-publishing is considered one keyword: poetry, poem,self-publishing, suicide, fiction,21st Century, modern
  7. Your financial information (for your royalty payments): £5 (similar price to other pamphlets)


No problem downloading the Kindle Create app on my Windows computer, or indeed loading the WORD file. It all seems so simple now. The main screen for Kindle Create:left hand column show the structure of the book (+ to expand) and is divided into 5 parts. Title page, Copyright page, Table of Contents (which is created automatically), the actual poems and the back matter. A lot of cutting and pasting and changing formatting (poem title became Chapter Titles). After an hour of two messing about it looked pretty good, The is a preview button on the top right which show me how the finished product would look. It looks ready to go my only concerns are The title page and copyright page are in the Table of Contents, but that’s not really a major issue. The project is now saved. A final ruin through I think before I self publish. More detailed info at


The Independent Publishing Network took their £30 and emailed me back with an ISBN and barcode that should be placed on the bottom right hand corner of the back cover. To me though one of the great advantages of using IPN was that it meant I didn’t have to think up the name of a press. Ace Press, Aldershot City Press, Applewood Press, Arcadia Publishing, Pond Books, Autumn House Press, Bruyno Press, Beacon Publishing, Bonnier Little Press, Book Publishing Of Farnborough, Bright Skies Press. Little Wood Press. I could have spent weeks wasting my time thinking of names.

The useful things I did on my document yesterday were: get rid of any bold (all headings) and italic (twice) styles. For the heading: change to 14pt and centre. Manually insert page numbers at the bottom of the page and centre. There was also the question of which font to use, Garamond, Didot HTF crossed my mind until I found out KDP didn’t like anything fancy, so I stuck with Arial to circle my poems with. I’m so glad the pamphlet is only 24 pages long.

Acknowledgements. There are a number of variations here. Some people seem to be saying that the poems have not been edited since they appeared in a magazine., So I made sure I said “published these poems or versions of them’. There is almost a case for actually naming the editors as well, but no one does, yet at least. When it comes to the magazines some just list them out while others list the magazines and the poem/s that appeared in them. I chose the latter and ended up with: Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to the editors of the following magazines who published these poems, or versions of them: Envoi (‘Youth’, Self-Portrait With Garbo’, ‘Dossing Outside’,’Lonely Nights’, ’Suicide’ and ‘Watching From The Bridge’), Message in a Bottle (‘Methadone’), The Lake (‘Bewildered’ and ‘Good Enough To Bury’), The Reater (‘The Polisher’), Breakfast All Day (’The Dishwasher’), Krax (‘Seeing Himself’ and ‘Arrest’), Prole (‘Consolations’), Headlock (‘Underground’).

Some authors like to thank all the big names they have had a cup of coffee with so you know how well connected they are. Can’t say it impresses me.


The first step must be having something to publish in the first place. I toyed with the idea With the idea of amalgamating my poems about the Black Death but then I thought perhaps I should work on something a little smaller start off with. So I thought about a pamphlet about the groups I saw at the West End Centre, poems with titles from the Gale and Polden back catalogue, from the exhibition Mondo Cane I saw the year before last, or some ekphrastic poems. For some reason, none of them seemed quite right but then I remembered I had a series of about 30 poems about Steve who I used to meet after work and who told me about his life if. That was the one I decided on. I looped closely and decided the 6 poems didn’t fit it and at least three needed major rewriting. I did spend a lot of time thinking of just the right title, “Steve Singing the Black Psalms”, just didn’t seem right other titles I came up with like “Hat in a Hatless World” or even the simple “London Road” didn’t seem to cut it up somehow. But then I thought, after a night’s sleep, I should perhaps change the last poem which was about Steve throwing himself in a river to Steve throwing himself in front of a train and that seemed to chime with what the Samaritans were doing. I’m sure you have seen the notice at railway stations asking you to call the Samaritans to talk before you do anything. “When listening isn’t enough” seemed, right and natural. All I did with Steve was give him a cigarette, letting talk and then I caught the train, I mean I didn’t even know if Steve was his name.

All the poems in the proposed book are in LibreOffice Writer in which you can save files as Word which will then be loaded up to Amazon KDP, which does not recognise, or has limited support for, text boxes, bullets, auto numbering, special fonts, headers and footers, certain word Styles and tables. I inserted 3 pages before the poems. First page is the title and the author which apparently should be centred. The next page should contain the following information:
©2021 Rodney Wood
All rights reserved

9 Monks Close
GU14 7DB
Please direct all enquiries to the author

There is space here to insert the acknowledgements.
Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to the editors of the following magazines who published these poems, or versions of them: Envoi (‘Youth’, Self-Portrait With Garbo’, ‘Dossing Outside’,’Lonely Nights’, ’Suicide’ and ‘Watching From The Bridge’), Message in a Bottle (‘Methadone’), The Lake(‘Bewildered’ and ‘Good Enough To Bury’), The Reater (‘The Polisher’), Breakfast All Day (’The Dishwasher’), Krax (‘Seeing Himself’ and ‘Arrest’), Prole (‘Consolations’),Headlock (‘Underground’).

The third page is for the contents. I created it in LibreOffice using the automatic insert table of contents then cut and pasted it to a blank part of the page and then deleted the table of contents which leftthe title of the poems and the page numbers which had to be justified. The next section was the poems.

I said I’ll come to the ISBN and publisher. For £30 I joined the Independent Publishing Network which gives me an ISBN number and let me list the publisher as the Independent Publishing Network, instead of making up the publisher.