The first in a series of spring and summer releases from SPARK Publications and its clients, Used Cow for Sale is a provocative, insightful, and wickedly clever collection of poems that highlights the cycle of adult romantic relationships. Love, lust, loss, lunacy, lactation, loneliness, and liberation all play a part. The author is SPARK Publications’ very own Melisa LaVergne, who celebrates nuptials in May and becomes Melisa K. L. Graham. We asked Melisa a few questions about her book and the custom-publishing process.
Where did you get the title?
Sometimes in rural areas, you might see a “used cow for sale” sign hanging on a barn or fence. When my first marriage ended, I felt a little used up and put out to pasture. The image of a sad old cow with a for sale sign around her neck got stuck in my head, particularly after I started dating again and mother reminded me that he’d never buy the cow if the milk was free. So I wrote a poem titled “Used Cow for Sale.” As I pulled the collection of poems together, that one fit perfectly as the title poem.
How would you characterize these poems and who should read them?
They’re mostly dark and sexy but also a little bit funny if you appreciate dark, dry humor. Really dark, really dry humor. As a collection, people who have been through tough breakups or divorces will get the most out of these poems. The organization of the poems represent the cycle of getting out and starting over. But I didn’t write them all from that place in my head, so I think the book is accessible to a wide adult audience.
What was the most surprising thing about the custom publishing process for you?
I’ve been through the process with clients before, but it is a whole different ball game as the author. My own emotions were the biggest surprise for me. I wanted to put my creative work out in the world but had a really hard time letting it go. I didn’t know whether to dance or vomit when it went to press. I have a new level of empathy for our clients as they balance the excitement and anxiety of publishing.
What advice would you like to share with other aspiring authorpreneurs?
Consider working with two editors—two different kinds of editing from two different people. My first editor helped me refine the theme and content. My second editor helped me with final tweaks and caught my typos. Yes, I make errors. Every writer is her own worst editor. Publishing is a team effort.