Maria Tempany on How She Published Her Poetry Book
Mum Poet Club member Maria Tempany tells us how she went from posting poems on Instagram to publishing her our book and selling hundreds of copies to women all over the world.
My name is Maria Tempany and I’m a mum of two beautiful babies from Dublin, Ireland. I am a doctor by profession and I’ve had many tough roles and difficult shifts throughout my medical career thus far, but nothing I encountered there could have prepared me for the exhausting, yet exhilarating, challenge of becoming a mum.
I’ve always loved writing poems, the rhyming kind. I read a poem aloud at my grandfather’s funeral when I was 14 years old and continued to write throughout my teenage years.
My creative streak dried up somewhat as I journeyed through university, intern year and GP training. I guess the hustle and bustle of everyday life got in the way. However, when pregnant with my son, in 2018, my love for poetry returned. I collated all my wishes for my unborn child into the first poem of my motherhood journey: “To Our Beautiful Baby”.
When pregnant again in 2020, this time with my daughter, as the coronavirus started to take its’ catastrophic toll on the world, my fear and concerns were again expressed through rhyme: my alternate world of comfort and release. With her arrival in May 2020, came an onslaught of thoughts and emotions that I struggled to grasp. Can I do this? Am I enough? I was completely immersed in the most important role I’d ever faced and I questioned my capability daily. Hourly feeds all night long, together with the tantrums of my son, still a baby himself, challenged me greatly and, without the outlet of my poetry and the unwavering support of my husband, I may have entered a very dark place.
In October 2020, after much encouragement from friends and family, I started my poetry page on Instagram: @therhymingone. With one click, I entered a place of pure vulnerability and the confidence I exude in my working environment shrunk right away as I lay bare my words on motherhood for the potentially brutal world of social media.
I quickly found Katherine Perry @themumpoempress and was overwhelmed by the presence of a previously unconceived supportive writing cohort of mums. The encouragement of the marvellous mums in this virtual community inspired and spurred me on, and the poetry flowed: the ups, the downs, the lows, the highs: I had a rhyme for each to my surprise! My way of coping through the tumultuous journey of motherhood was to put pen to paper, and it was more therapeutic than I ever could have imagined.
The reception I received was never anticipated and so humbling. I received messages from mums all over the world to say that my words resonated with them. This was medicine for the soul, and so I kept writing.
“You should write a book,” many said. At first, I laughed, quickly dismissing this absurd idea, but upon reflection and seeing other marvellous mums produce books of their own, I thought: “Why not?”, having always been a fan of the saying: “If you believe it, you can achieve it”.
I entered into the process with the attitude that, if nothing else, it would be a keepsake for my children in years to come and that, in itself, would be worthwhile.
I contacted Emma Dakeyne (@blue_mumday) through the Mum Poem Press for some guidance after the session that was hosted by Katharine on self-publishing, and she pointed me in the direction of the wonderful Rachel Dickens (@lollysnow) for design and editorial guidance.
Her efficiency and talent, alongside my determination, meant that we had my book put together within a few short weeks. All the poems were already there, and Rachel’s design, alongside the contribution of some wonderful illustrators cited in my book, produced a finished product I could never have imagined even a few months prior! I purchased my own ISBN and selected a local printers here in Dublin and soon had a hard copy in my hand.
Initially, I decided to print 200 copies, imagining that I might sell them over the course of my lifetime. To my surprise, those 200 copies sold out within 2 weeks and I placed an order for 400 more. It’s less than 6 weeks since I did my first print run and I have sold over 400 copies to mums all over the world. I’ve also had my book stocked in some online and hospital shops here in Ireland, and I’m in discussions with a book distributer about getting it stocked in some other shops.
It’s such an exciting adventure for me and I’m thoroughly enjoying the process. If my words can offer solace to even one mum who might be struggling and can reassure her that she is not alone, then I feel that I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined.
Find Maria on Instagram @therhymingone and find her poetry books and prints available to buy here: