Still Learning: A Journey Through My Publishing Process by Meggie Royer

In the past few months, two of my first poetry books have been re-released - Survival Songs and Healing Old Wounds With New Stitches. Re-releasing them as new versions is sort of like sending my “children” out into the world again, ready to tangle with new readers and critics alike.

Publishing my first two books was a learning experience, akin to dipping my toes in the water. I had no idea what a contract was, what it was used for, how to send polished business emails, how to even lay out a proper table of contents in a manuscript. I didn’t know what I was doing - but in reality, one of the most important things I learned was that not knowing what I was doing actually meant I did know something. I knew I wanted to be an author; I knew I wanted to graduate from dipping my toes in the water to launching in belly-first.

Countless readers have come to me looking for advice for aspiring writers, words of wisdom that will somehow magically transform them into the author they want to be, into that belly-first launch. And sometimes I want to tell them that I’m still just as lost as they are in the grand scheme of things. I may have five books now, and my first two may be on their second legs, but there is always something new to discover that awes me, seduces me, confuses me about publishing books and spreading my work. Michelangelo said “I am still learning” when he was in his late seventies, and so am I.

Just like Michelangelo’s older work, with these new versions of Survival Songs and Healing Old Wounds With New Stitches, the magic is still there. There may be new poems and new covers, but the allure and excitement I hold for them remains. I still love those books; they’re still like my children. They might be growing up now, and approaching adolescence, but I still remember fondly and with gratitude the day I created them. They’ll change a lot over the years, and those changes will make them all the better.

Meggie Royer is an artist from the Midwest. She is the founder of literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters and has had poems published in Words Dance, The Harpoon Review, and more. In 2013, she won the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ gold medal for poetry and silver medal for her writing portfolio. She was also an Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize. Meggie has had five books published so far of her poetry.

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