Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Susi Bocks

One idea we had that we thought might be fun is to highlight some of the authors, artists and writers IN Indie Blu(e) Anthologies. So with some regularity that’s the plan. If you have had work in an Indie Blu(e) anthology we’d LOVE to hear from you about your latest work and plug it here.

Indie Blu(e) believes passionately in getting to know our authors/artists/writers and this is one way the rest of you can find out more about the incredible people we’ve had the honor to host in our anthologies. Perhaps it will also bewitch you into purchasing a copy, but first and foremost, we want you to meet our talent.

With that in mind I’d like to introduce you to Susi Bocks who has been in several Indie Blu(e) anthologies including SMITTEN – This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women, Through the Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within and As the World Burns: Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad.

Susi Bocks, writer/author/poet, has self-published two books – Feeling Human and Every Day I Pause. She is also editor of The Short of It which produced an anthology – The Sound of Brilliance. Bocks’ has works published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. Moreover she’s one of the most giving writers out there, always helping out others, as well as having an incredible work ethic. Bocks also edits and has an impressive client list and a superb track-record in helping others bring their works to fruition. Here’s an interview of her.

Work featured in Journals: Down in the DirtEskimo Pie, Fictional CaféProlific PressPure HaikuScarlet Leaf ReviewVita Brevis, she also contributed to the recent Life In Quarantine project.

You can hear her reading here on YouTube.

Email: iwriteherblog@gmail.comWebsite: @SusiBocks

At first glance, Susi’s passion for short poetry might not seem a close match, but good poetry is good poetry and both as a writer and editor herself, Susi has that knack for recognizing talent and writing her own superb poems. She’s had a varied life, working in many fields in many places and maybe this experience has brought a depth to her work that alludes others. Moreover, Susi genuinely loves people and this shows in her continuous promotion of others and generous spirit.

We’d worked with Susi a number of times before she was published in our anthologies but since we first met, we’ve had nothing but positive things to say about her. She’s one of those true workers who just knuckles down and gets it done. Given most of us work from home, this can be easier said than done and watching her produce large volumes of work by herself unaided, is incredibly impressive. Susi is one of those quiet creatives who just ploughs on until she’s finished and then presents something incredible.

"travel to the stars
past conscious experience
into the surreal"
(Published in Pure Haiku) 

We highly recommend you consider following Susi at WordPress via her I Write Her website, which she does a superb job of, and always generously features other poets too. Fun fact, Susi spent a lot of time in Germany and is fluent in German. She’s a wonderfully kind and intelligent human-being and we’re so proud to have writers of her caliber in our anthologies. If your work has been in an Indie Blu(e) publication, drop us a line and let us know a few things about you so we can feature you here. When we promote each other, we promote goodness.

Here Susi Bocks is on SoundCloud reading from SMITTEN

You can purchase all her published works here.

What a joy when we collaborate with talented people we met via WordPress and then get to brag about how great they are, having worked with them and published their work in our anthologies. That’s truly the arc of what’s best about working in publishing and we’re eternally grateful to everyone who submits to an Indie Blu(e) anthology.

Christine’s Tried and True Process for Creating a Poetry Manuscript

Now that I have had a little time to get past the mad 2021 publishing rush and the holidays, I have started thinking about the exciting projects Indie Blu(e) Publishings has lined up for 2022. Every publishing journey starts with a manuscript and creating the first draft of a poetry/prose collection can feel very daunting. I know I felt completely overwhelmed and ill-prepared when my writing mentor suggested that I was ready to put out my first book. Thankfully, I received some fabulous advice from published poets Nicole Lyons and Rana Kelly about how to assemble a manuscript that I still rely on. Creating a manuscript that gets published is a process. This is a process that may take you a long weekend or it could take months- I suggest that you take as much time with this as you need.

Please keep in mind that every publisher will have their own manuscript formatting guidelines and that these should be followed closely.

1. Print out (or at least locate) everything you have written since you started your writing journey. And I mean everything.  I considered over 400 pieces of poetry, prose, and short fiction for my books. I had no idea that I had written so many pieces and I found more than one piece that I had NO memory of having ever written. Some of these were even pretty good!

2. Read each piece and ask yourself if it still speaks to you. Ask yourself if it is your best writing. Then assign each piece to a ‘yes’ pile (or list), a ‘no’ pile (or list), or a ‘maybe’ pile (or list).

3. Put the ‘no’ pile away for a rainy day and the ‘maybe’ pile somewhere more accessible for later.

4. Read the ‘yes’s again and write down the theme(s) each piece addresses (love, loss, identity, etc.). As you read, separate the pieces into piles by the primary theme. True confessions- when I was working on my own books and when I assemble anthologies, I end up with piles of paper on every conceivable surface. It might not be a process you want to start on the dining room table an hour before dinner!

5. Look carefully at the piles- what story is your writing telling?  Some themed piles will be much taller than others. Consider the shorter piles carefully. Can they be rolled into a larger theme?  Are there pieces in your ‘maybe’ pile that fit this theme?  Is this a theme for a future book?

6. Organize the pieces in each themed pile in a way that makes sense to you.  It could be chronological, it could be an evolution of feeling. Really, this is an intuitive process for me.  Ask yourself how similar the pieces are to each other. I found that I use some imagery more regularly than others. Sometimes even word for word. If I expressed something better in one piece than I did in another very similar piece, I removed the very similar piece and put it in the ‘no’ pile.

6.  Re-review your ‘maybe’ pile. Now that you know what themes have emerged from your writing, you may be able to make more concrete decisions about what doesn’t fit, what is already expressed better somewhere else, and what might help fill out a theme with fewer pieces. You are trying to meet two objectives here- you want to build your manuscript around the best/most compelling pieces you have ever written, but you also want to tell a cohesive story. I have some very good pieces set aside for future books because they just didn’t ‘fit’ the predominant themes when I organized my two poetry collections. Hopefully, they’ll work in the future.

7. Organize the themed piles in an order that makes sense to you and create a manuscript. Don’t worry too much about sections at this point- sometimes it makes sense to divide a book into sections, sometimes it doesn’t.  

8. Format the manuscript so it is as clean and easy to read as you can make it for a prospective publisher and/or agent. I prefer to receive manuscripts in 12 point Arial or Times Roman font with 1.5 or 2 line spacing. I prefer page breaks between pieces, not hard returns. Normal Word margins are fine. I recommend that all pieces be aligned to the left. Note: special formatting is torture during book layout; if you choose to use special formatting on any of your writing, make sure it really adds to the impact of a piece.  Otherwise, you are sending the person responsible for laying out your final manuscript to formatting hell.

9. Most publishers will have their own policy about front and back matter. Read and follow their requirements carefully! Frontmatter material usually includes the title page, dedication, and Table of Contents. Back matter material commonly includes an About the Author page. The acknowledgments may go in the back or the front matter. Page numbers are important. I highly recommend putting the manuscript’s proposed title and your name in the header section.

10. Give some thought to your document title when you save the file. Writers and editors send manuscript versions back and forth with great regularity. I recommend incorporating the manuscript title, your last name, and the date of the draft in the file name. Version dates (and sometimes even version time!) can become very important right before final publication.

11. Details matter! Go through your draft manuscript one last time before you submit it to a prospective publisher or agent. Does each piece have a title? Were you consistent with your use of capitalization, punctuation, and verb tenses? Were you consistent with your use of italics, single quotation marks, double quotation marks, em dashes, etc? Was the piece previously published elsewhere? Be sure to acknowledge that. Correct any noticeable typos and spelling errors. A clean, consistent manuscript allows the reader to focus on the writing, not the formatting!

12. When I used to work in academia, I received a critical piece of writing advice from a grant reviewer that I always keep in mind: It is important to write- and format- for your most tired reviewer! Make sure everything the publisher/agent requested is there and in the place they asked for it to be. Messy or confusing manuscripts make a bad first impression. Inability or unwillingness to follow directions makes a bad first impression. Take the time to put the focus on the quality of your writing and your respect for the time and experience of the reviewer.

Wishing you all a safe, peaceful, and creative New Year.


Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Worried poetry is dead and nobody will read your book?

Well you aren’t alone.

One of the most fascinating parts of working in publishing is noticing the similar concerns creatives have toward their work.

I would go further and say, as creatives, we’re pretty good at self-sabotage!

By being too egocentric, well we know how that goes, we can be unaware of how we’re perceived and come across as a fat-head. On the other hand, not having enough confidence is equally damaging. How then, to walk the middle line when you’re an intense, passionate creative?

A few tricks that seem to work for our authors and talent include:

Get real. Don’t believe your work doesn’t need editing because you’re brilliant but equally don’t baulk and despair at edits. Edits are your friend. Every author and poet before you has massively benefited from editing. The process may hurt if you let it, or you could just let your ego go and take onboard what your edit is suggesting because they are on your side. Obviously they’re also human so they can make some suggestions you hate and that’s where you negotiate and grow together. It’s a process. And if you let it, it can improve your writing and your confidence without too much pain.

Fearing ‘being edited‘ is the most common concern people have. It causes them to self-publish over going through a publishing house, for fear of losing control of their product and voice. Understandable. But a good publisher will already know this and a good editor will too. A good editor isn’t BETTER than you are, far from it. A good editor probably couldn’t edit their own work worth a tinkers damn, but they can edit yours. The objectivity of editing work that is not your own is exactly why everyone (and I mean, everyone) needs an editor.

A good editor isn’t going to expunge your vision. They’re going to help you create exactly what you want but also the best that you’re capable of. You know how sometimes you’re reading a book and you think “What was the writer thinking?” It doesn’t invalidate the writer, they may be your favorite writer, but everyone has moments like this. Having an outside force in the shape of an editor resolves that loss of objectivity we all experience from time to time.

It boils down to this; sometimes your gut instinct isn’t right and someone’s going to point it out. We’ve all been there and we’ll be there again. It doesn’t mean you’re always wrong. But all of us get too close to something and when we do we literally can’t see what others can see. That’s where an editor is so invaluable. They’re one step-removed emotionally.

The same goes for a publisher. It’s not our goal to force our ideas upon you. As Editor-in-Chief Christine Ray has often said; we want nothing more than to see our authors flourish and go on to bigger publishing deals. We’re not precious like that and no publisher worth their salt should be. Our goal is to produce excellent books. That will ensure we stay in business and since reputation is everything, giving you the best book possible is the only way we succeed too. In other words, you and I have a vested interest in your success. So we’re all about making that happen.

Now your definition of success might be a little bit starry-eyed and we can’t blame you for that. I remember I thought my first book would sell so much I’d see it in every book store and go on tours across the country. And I’m not even that egocentric but yeah, I really thought that! I think it’s because we all have the Hallmark Channel idea of what publishing a book really means. We’re blissfully unawares of how many people publish, what the competition is like and how hard it is to be noticed in the sea of competing humanity. I know we all want to think we’re special and yeah, we are, kinda. But getting real again, let’s also be honest and recognize we’re one of 7 billion and many of those have also written a book.

Having realistic goals and notions of success helps us maintain the much needed balance necessary to endure the road to becoming a writer. It might not be your first book. It might not be a poetry book. It might not be your 5th book! But if you keep working away, and staying real about how much work that entails by way of self-promotion and networking; then your humble book may one day become a notable book. It’s worth trying because you lose nothing by trying and you gain everything if it happens.

So ask yourself … what do you want? And if that’s your goal then let nothing stop it. But along the way, remember a publishing house isn’t a golden ticket, there is only so much we can do (and believe me, we’ll do that and then some) and a lot of this will be on your shoulders too. Try to see success in steps. If you write a book – wow! You’ve written a book! If you get a publisher, great job, you have a publisher! If you publish your first book, you’ve published your first book! And so it goes on. All these steps, they may seem small but they inch toward your goal and moreover, can be the best part of being a writer. It’s the journey not the destination.

Poetry isn’t dead and people will read your book. But you have to enter the experience without rose-tinted glasses and that means working with your publishing team and editor like family, honing your product, getting it just right and then watching it take off and supporting it as it goes out there into the book-o-sphere. This is a collaborative effort, one better taken with others than alone and we’re experts at publishing gorgeous, unforgettable books and our greatest joy is seeing your vision become a reality.

Even one person reading what you wrote, in a beautiful book of your work, is a success. With all this comparing and contrasting, that’s worthwhile our all remembering. Stay humble grasshopper.

Do you like reading? Books? Small publishers need you!

You might think you’re just one of 7 billion on this planet but you’re so much more than that. Each one of you reading this has the power to help books and ensure future generations continue the love of reading. So if you love books and reading, read on.

As a small publisher, we are Indie Blu(e) have come up close and personal with the diminishment of publishing. By this we mean, less people read books than ever before. We all read more but we read memes, blogs, social media etc. While this has plenty of value it’s not the same as cracking open a book and reading it from cover to cover.

Why does this even matter? Because if you were that child who climbed your tree house and dived into a favorite book away from the cares of the world, or if you are that adult who wants to bequeath that love of reading for your kids or grandchildren then this really does matter.

The dearth of reading has been put down to varied causes: Attention deficit, being too busy, distracted and doing other things, etc.

What does it matter why as much as that it’s happening? And for small publishers like ourselves, it’s a lament to think of a world where reading has become an almost rare activity.

Obviously there are pockets of readers, where books are plentiful, bookstores surge and new publishers spring up. But if we are talking ‘typical’ the typical today is a far cry from even 30 years ago. Sure, progress is great, we love it, but we also harken back to the days where a book could change your life. Because we still think it can.

Indie Blu(e) Publishing attempts pretty successfully to publish books we think can change lives. We began with poetry, because we’re big poetry fans and think poetry is one of if not the, best ways of expressing emotion and experience. We have evolved from publishing poetry-alone to becoming a fully fledged publisher of all necessary words, including fiction, chapbooks and basically anything that makes us salivate.

But we can’t do it alone. Publishers in general are struggling because people are less inclined to spend money on a book as they would say, other things. Once-upon-a-time, investing in a book was really a big thing but nowadays with advances in technology, we could be forgiven for thinking what’s the big deal in owning a book?

The big deal is … you help publishers like us continue to put out works that might otherwise never see the light of day. You also help us keep it real by sourcing those gorgeous voices that might otherwise not seek to be published. We want those special people who electrify you with their minds and their words, the unforgettable, the marginalized, the unique.

When you purchase an Indie Blu(e) title you help us keep going and you support an indie author. If it were a family member you’d not think twice about it, but maybe that Starbucks cup of Joe is more important than being the proud owner of an amazing book? A book that one day might be a classic.

After all … The yellow Wallpaper, The Price Of Salt, even Wuthering Heights, they were all, along with many others, books that started off humble and small and became over time classics we have now all read and adored. That’s the process. We don’t always become famous in our life time, and maybe we don’t seek fame. But good books deserve to live on and that’s what we are attempting to do. Give books a legacy.

So if you can buy a cup of Joe at Starbucks, maybe think of forgoing a cup and supporting a small publisher with a purchase of one of our beautiful books. We promise you won’t regret it and this will be an investment you have for life, to pass on to loved ones, to say ‘hey have you read this? It’s amazing!’ and to inspire you on those dark Winter nights.

That is the crux of why we continue to cherish and adore books and we’re hoping you will join us in ensuring books remain relevant and read. The only way to do that sometimes is to show your support with a purchase. We appreciate that and you – very, very much.

Oh and incase you wondered … we haven’t bought Starbucks in a VERY long time because we at Indie Blu(e) also believe in supporting independent bookstores and authors and we spend a lot of our own personal funds on doing just that. So we’re not asking for anything we don’t do ourselves. Although if someone does have some coffee, we’d definitely say yes to a cup 😉

Happy New Year dear ones. Thank you for supporting an independent publisher. We couldn’t do it without you. And frankly? We wouldn’t want to.

Why Indie Blu(e)?

You’ve got a rough manuscript, you think it’s pretty excellent, what next?

Shopping small publishers can be an exhausting process. How do you know who is good and what you should be looking for?

Indie Blu(e) Publishing stands on our reputation in the indie author community alongside the books we publish, to speak to what we’re capable of.

We offer the personal contact of a small publisher, with big marketing ideas and a heap of faith in our authors. Our passion for publishing seems to be impossible to quell, and no wonder if you check out our catalog. We’ve consistently found some of the best indie authors in today’s scene and brought their works to an ever widening audience.

This is no small feat, given the challenges of these days, but we’re intensely proud of what our authors have produced. If you are a fan of non-formulaic novels and show-stopper poetry collections, you might want to peruse our current catalog and support an indie publisher. Go to for more information.

Why us over another publisher? There are many good small publishers out there. One thing that sets Indie Blu(e) apart is our WHOLE PACKAGE approach to publishing. We don’t think it’s enough to just publish what you give us. We want to help you hone it to be the very best work you’re capable of. Our talented editors know what readers want and how to avoid many of the pitfalls we end up in when we’re self-editing or asking friends. That professionalism really pays off.

You may have noticed our book covers are gorgeous and that’s because we put everything into ensuring that each book’s cover is a beautiful piece of art, and guaranteed to be noticed.

We work closely with our authors throughout the process and we don’t leave you once your book is published. You have continual access to advice, support, and ideas, alongside our own perpetual marketing of our titles on social media and beyond.

We have trusted connections in the publishing world and know who to approach for preview reviews of your work and how to fix issues that come up along the way. We trouble-shoot your concerns until they go away. Working with a team of dedicated publishers helps take the stress of publishing away and puts it in our capable hands.

Our marketing people know how to highlight your work and get it noticed. Obviously, you’re an integral part of any marketing plan, but we can help you utilize your social media to make it work for you.

If you are seeking to create something ever-lasting, then you want to be the best you’re capable of. Trusting a team of professionals who put your needs before profit is the way to go. That’s what sets Indie Blu(e) apart and that’s why we have a strong reputation in the small publishing world.

Our anthologies SMITTEN and The Kali Project both won finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards for this very reason and stand testimony to the quality of Indie Blu(e) Publishing as well as the fine poets and artists we are lucky enough to work with.

Don’t sell your work short. Submit it to a small publisher like Indie Blu(e) where you will get the hand-holding necessary to give you perspective and ensure you publish your best book to date. We work in this industry because we LOVE books and we are your biggest fans. If you think you have what it takes, consider submitting to – we’ve got a few spots open for exceptional talent in 2022.