Last week I made a drastic decision: make Spring Clean come early this year, here at my website that is. The decision did not come unexpected as I will explain to you.
Recently (over the course of the last 12 months) I have noticed a decrease in visitors from Swampyland at my website, whilst the numbers increased for visitors from English speaking countries and world wide. So I collected user statistics and data and realised there weren’t much regular Dutch visitors left during the course of a week and over a prolonged period of time. Why, I asked myself, could it be the Corona crisis?
Declining sale figures
For years I have been using this website mainly as advertisement for my Dutch poetry which I have been writing over the last 17 years and I had a little web shop selling my poetry books to people who liked to buy my work. But I haven’t sold a single book in my own web shop for over a year and I was looking forward to the two-yearly turnover paid to me from sales in book shops by the publishers, I could do with a little bit of money you see?
And then the long expected e-mail from one of the publishers came: there have been only three copies sold of your last book, published in 2019. That is less than two books each year! So I started to combine facts and realised the Dutch were not that keen on reading poetry, at least not mine which is true: whenever I ask a friend or relative the answer is usually confirming, they don’t like to read poetry in general so why would they buy mine? It is a niche market after all.
Although I have been posting about my new books on social media for over 5 years most of my friends, my Dutch friends that is, most of them didn’t even know I wrote more than one book. I know I have followers of my English work from outside Swampyland and I have sold a good number of copies of my English poetry book A taste of love to them and online whereas the sales of the Dutch books declined and stopped altogether. If it weren’t for the publisher going bankrupt that book would have still been available in book shops and online but alas, it is sold out.
Bookshops are unwilling to sell novice authors
After publishing three paperback books I don’t consider myself as a novice writer yet I am still stuck in the printing on demand scene which doesn’t help getting your work known to the larger public. But if advertising on social media doesn’t work and bookshops in this country are not willing to sell poetry books of Dutch novice authors there is no point really in trying, is there?
So maybe you can understand why it is time to close this book for ever to use an appropriate phrase: I will stop writing Dutch poetry for the public from now on and will continue writing English contemporary poetry for the world, I have ample inspiration for years to come anyway. With the Spring Clean at my website the final curtain calls for Dutch poetry from my hand, it is gone for ever.
A thank you to those who love my Dutch poetry
That being said there have been quite a few of my Dutch friends that liked my work, admired it even and some of them even bought one or more of my books. To them I say thank you and I am grateful for their support and love of my work. There has even been a DJ reading my poetry on nation wide radio, how cool is that?! For those friends is the message below, straight from the heart:
When the final curtain calls, you take a bow and thank the public. Thank you.