Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Sam Riedel has written an excellent brief history of the chapbook from the Middle Ages onward. All you want to know in a pleasant ten-minute read. Recommended.


How do readers find books? Or, more importantly, how will they find your book? According to this poll on the MobileRead forum, readers find books in the following ways (in order):

  •  Recommendations from friends or other readers
  • Recommendations from online forums, blogs, or message boards
  • Bookstore browsing
  • Amazon reviews/recommendations
  • Interesting covers or blurbs
  • Free download or bargain price
  • Library browsing
  • Mainstream media reviews
  • Kobo
  • MobileRead
  • Bestseller lists
  • Author sites
  • Award lists

So, if you want to sell your book, you have to somehow tap into the huge informal system of friends talking to friends, either in person or online. Everything else is secondary.


A recent conversation started on Facebook by Alfred Corn alerted me to this old (2007) but excellent article by David Orr. Orr’s main topic is the $200 million endowment the Poetry Foundation received in 2001. But he also sardonically analyzes the poetry published by the New Yorker, the one market that virtually every poet in the country longs to crack. How to get into the New Yorker? First, be a Great Dead Poet. Or, second, Orr says, make it as a Big Name and then let the New Yorker publish your worst work. Or, perhaps easiest of all, just work for the magazine. Easy peasy. Recommended. (Photo by Susan Sermoneta.)

John Deming at Coldfront has an excellent summary of the twists and turns of the BlazeVOX pay-to-play imbroglio. As of today, BlazeVOX will not close and will continue its pay-for-publication practice. In email today, BlazeVOX’s editor, Geoffrey Gatza, admitted he was using the press as a source of personal income and that payments from authors would be used to pay for the time he spends producing books. Gatza is certainly not getting rich this way–as everyone knows, there is little money in poetry–but his practice does seem a bit unusual: most small-press editors donate their time.

Pay-to-publish and the end of BlazeVOX books

Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2011 in Publishing

Disturbing news from Buffalo: BlazeVOX Books apparently now requires a $250 “donation” from the author before publishing a book. See the news  here.  (Thanks to Christopher Higgs and HTMLGiant for posting the story.)

Times are certainly hard for independent presses these days, but charging authors to publish should never be an option.

A weird, bad and incomprehensible move by BlazeVOX.

Update: Look here for the original post that broke the story…

Update: Looks like BlazeVOX will cease publication at the end of the year. See the announcement here.

Barbara Hoffert at Library Journal provides a nice preview of upcoming poetry publications here.


  • Alice Notley, one of the most experimental and visionary poets working today, will publish  a new book, Songs and Stories of the Ghouls.
  • A new Selected by Nobel Prize winner, Czeslaw Milsosz, Selected and Last Poems: 1931-2004, includes 40 late poems, including a number translated by his son.
  • A new Selected by the great German Expressionist, George Trakl,  Song of the Departed: Selected Poems of Georg Trakl, translated by Robert Firmage.
  • Plus new books by D. A. Powell, Nathaniel Mackey, Yves Bonnefoy and many others…

The Portable MFA in Creative Writing, written by instructors from the New York Writer’s Workshop, is currently available for FREE in Kindle format at Check the link.

The book is 280 pages long and contains chapters on writing fiction, poetry, plays, memoir and magazine articles. I haven’t read the book and so can’t personally recommend it, but the reviews at amazon seem pretty good and the book is, after all, free.

If you haven’t tried Kindle books yet, note that you don’t have to have a Kindle device to read them–you can read Kindle books on your laptop, your IPad, whatever.

Why Do We Care About Literary Awards?

Excellent question. Mark O’ Connor argues that expecting literary prizes to be about literary achievement makes about as much sense as arguing that Grammies should award a prize to The Minutemen.

When you put it that way…  I mean, who can argue?


“They’re great for the publishing industry, …the handful of writers who win them… But I don’t think anyone …should be looking for them to accurately reflect what’s really happening — what is truly vital and new and exciting — in contemporary fiction… ”

Recommended–well worth reading.

See Blake Butler‘s interesting piece on what he learned from the process of submitting his work to literary journals. Well worth the 10 minutes it will take to read. Link here. The major takeaway: Love conquers all. Only submit what you really love to journals you really love.  The other major takeaway: Not even love makes publication matter that much, after awhile. The work is the deal.

OK! Karyna McGlynn offers up some refreshingly cheeky–yet practical–tips on submitting your work to journals and magazines. Takeaways:

— Use the journal’s own font as a means of subconsciously prejudicing the editor in your favor

— Skip the cover letter

— Keep the bio short and to the point

— Research journals you appear in to find more places to publish

— Make submitting a game

Much more at the link. Well worth reading. McGlynn, by the way, is the author of a very cool book of poems called I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl. Recommended.