1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)
Sure! So my name is Dane Cobain and I write in a range of different genres and formats encompassing fiction, non-fiction and poetry. My books are quirky and a little bit weird, and I like to write things that reflect both my own life and the society in which I live. For example, my first fiction book, a supernatural thriller novella called No Rest for the Wicked, takes a look at the war between science and religion and how we’re all guilty of “sin” to a certain extent. My first full length novel, Former.ly: The Rise and Fall of a Social Network, is about a social networking site for the dead. You sign up, post updates that are visible only to yourself until you die, when your profile goes public.
For my poetry, I memorise and perform it and so it’s generally best read aloud. It uses a lot of stream-of-consciousness and wordplay as well as the sound of language itself to paint pictures. My poetry is arguably the most autobiographical of all of my work, and I’ve written about everything from anxiety disorder to binge drinking and getting freaked out by police dogs at an airport.
2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?
I use a specific productivity routine that allows me to focus on different areas, so the marketing stuff rarely cuts into the writing time. Funnily enough, interviews like these come under my writing time because it involves me writing a bunch of answers, but it doesn’t cut into my time too much.
I’m pretty active on social networking sites and also have a mailing list, but I actually find that the main avenues for me to promote my work are my book blog (www.SocialBookshelves.com) and my BookTube channel (www.youtube.com/danecobain). I use both of them to talk about the books that I read, but it also increases exposure for my own books and helps me to get the word out there.
It’s a balancing act though, and I’d love to be rich enough and famous enough to be able to hire PR and marketing agencies and to only spend my time talking to national TV and radio hosts. At the moment, I’m not. So working on marketing and stuff myself is the only real option.
3, What projects are you working on at present?
As always, I have a bunch of projects on the go. The second book in my series of detective novels is edited and ready to go, but the first one has recently been picked up by a small publisher and so the rest of those are on hold until I figure out the lay of the land. The third one is already written and is currently going through its second of three rounds of edits, so I’m ahead of the game a little bit there.
As for poetry, I’m about 60-70% complete on my second collection, Kiss Kiss Death Death. That should be out within the next year or so, but we’ll see.
Finally, I’m working on a bunch of first drafts and plans for other stuff. My main writing project at the moment is my memoirs, which I’m tentatively calling “My Life in Books”, and after that I’m going to start working on a novel called Real Monsters, which I’ve been describing as Lord of the Rings meets Spinal Tap.
4, What does poetry mean to you?
I think Leonard Cohen put it best when he said, “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”