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Vanity presses and other uncertain waters...

Poetry Fool

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Jun 6, 2008, 2:27am Top

I am not trying to offend anyone with this, just don't want to see anyone hurt unnecessarily. If you know all this, and want to do this sort of thing anyway, go ahead, have fun with it. (8

An acquaintance of mine just told me today that he's been writing poetry... and that his first book is coming out from PublishAmerica. This is fine with me if he knows what he's doing; he's an adult; but I want to point out to folks that there are tradeoffs with this sort of thing. The print on demand and the vanity presses don't really hook into the distribution system, so you're going to have a harder time getting the big chain stores and websites to carry your work, or so I am made to understand. (Not that bricks-and-mortar stores carry enough poetry anyway, but that's another matter....) If that is an issue you happen to care about, please check out your press carefully.

Similarly, beware of "contests" that get you publication in an anthology you then have to pay $50 to get a copy of. This is the traditional scam of Poetry.com/International Library of Poetry/International Society of Poets/International Poetry Hall of Fame. Publish in your local newspaper and little magazines; much cheaper and people will actually read it.

There is some information in the AAP FAQ. The science-fiction community is also all over this with a warning from SFWA and a publishers' list compiled by Piers Anthony.

Jun 6, 2008, 4:49am Top

I was going to publish my vanity, but it turned out I hadn't sufficient funds to pay for a multi-volume set.

(Is someone being funny in here?)

Jun 6, 2008, 8:56am Top

What about publishing on the internet. There seem to be a lot of web sites that publish poetry. Are these poems read? Is it safe to post your poems or will some one re-publish them under their name?

Jun 7, 2008, 3:01am Top

#3 --

Self-publishing also has it negatives. And websites that publish poetry, without a "gatekeeper" -- and editor -- are probably using it to draw traffic from which to make money. In that case "your" work is making someone else money.

Jun 7, 2008, 4:37am Top

I very much doubt anyone will re-publish them under their name; people who might want to are writing their own anyway, and certainly they're not going to have a profit motive. So it's probably "safe" from that point of view.

However, if you want a few people to read them and give you feedback, you probably want a discussion group or virtual workshop etc., not just a posting site; and if you want hundreds of people to read them, you probably need to get it accepted by some kind of magazine (online or print).

Jun 7, 2008, 7:22am Top

Message #2, love, love, love, it

Jun 7, 2008, 8:58am Top

>1 chellerystick:

(Not that bricks-and-mortar stores carry enough poetry anyway, but that's another matter...

I don't know what "bricks-and-mortar" stores you go to, but where I live, the independents, at least, carry plenty of poetry.

Jun 7, 2008, 8:59am Top

> 3

Is it safe to post your poems or will some one re-publish them under their name?

Yes, they will. It happened to a friend a mine.

Jun 8, 2008, 11:03am Top

#7 --

Borders' poetry shelves are overflowing to bursting. But they're all recent poets who are established, therefore a safe risk: Walt Whitman, Edgar Alan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Longfellow, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante -- the usual "poetry slam" crowd.

Jun 9, 2008, 9:37am Top

Borders and barnes & noble have shrunk their poetry sections in the past 2, maybe 3 years, at least around here, to less than half they were. one has to assume this reflects the sales they weren't having, that it's possib;e the poetry revival that seemed to burst forth around the turn of the century has died down. oh well, so it goes. still, this may give the independent bookstores a chance to gain back some of their market share. and the world goes 'round . . .

Jun 9, 2008, 10:14am Top

#10 --

The Borders to which I refer, owing to an exceptional "orders" department, has a depth unusual in a megachain bookstore (superior to Barnes & Noble), so the poetry section is the same now as it was some years ago. I stopped buying at Borders several years ago, though, as they do not deal with complaints.

Well, they do deal with them, sorta: after a half dozen unresolved complaints have accumulated, the latter five usually concerning the first not having been addressed, they finally "address" the first -- as means to avoid the latter five.

In addition, the prices from Amazon are usually much better, as for everything but bestselling hardcovers Borders charges full list.

Sep 27, 2008, 9:12pm Top

as to someone republishing poems from the internet. If that has happened to someone, it is likely just copying to another site and putting their name on it. As (well at least in the USA) a work is copywritten as soon as it is created, the person just has the burden of proof that they created it on a certain day and internet posting generally provides a time stamp to postings.

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