In The us, poets are held in these kinds of reduced esteem that even the most Honored Agent from Nigeria is not going to hassle scamming us. Culture states to us what Dermot Mulroney says to Julia Roberts in “My Greatest Friend’s Wedding,” that we are “The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”
Even being cheated by Mr. Honorable Minister, however, is preferable to the poetry frauds that have proliferated. Wind Publications’ Literary Scam guidebook has this to say:
Hidden between the numerous sponsors of reputable literary contests marketed on the web lurk these who care minor about literature, its audience, or authors. These companies and folks exist only for income via their so-known as writing or poetry contests. Typically you are going to uncover these “totally free” poetry contests lavishly marketed in your local newspaper.
There is a cottage market of producing scams perpetuated by pus poetry pimps, the main between them Intercontinental Library of Poetry, aka Noble Home Press, aka Poetry.com. They promote in United states Weekend and the Penny Saver–effectively, not the Penny Saver, but they may possibly as well, since that sums up their viewpoint of poets. If you have observed the advertisements or gained a letter that says, “Congratulations, your poem has been picked for our next anthology,” congratulations, you are being cheated.
Like so-referred to as modeling companies or “expertise agents” who prey on the dreams of nubile women wanting to be the subsequent Lindsay Lohan, poetry pyramid schemes exploit the quantity 1 hope of writers: publication, and more importantly, recognition. A lot of outstanding Web websites this sort of as Preditors and Editors and PoetryNotCom element the outrageous mechanics of poetry “anthology” ripoffs, and the notorious Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest by WinningWriters.com cheerfully skewers vainness poetry contests and the submicroorganisms who perpetuate them.
How do you spot a poetry rip-off? Look for…
one. Insane pie in the sky prize quantities.
I ran the DeAnn Lubell Skilled Writers’ Competition. Most poetry contests with reading costs shell out, at most, $one,000, and that is for a book-length manuscript of poetry. For a single poem, the 1st prize pot is generally a whopping $100, $150 tops. A $20 million prize, as dangled by Noble Property, is a big crimson flag. Oh, and no one ever gives poets a likelihood to acquire a planet cruise. It really is usually assumed that we sail around the planet on a Mark Twain raft, a sampan, or a Hemingway skiff.
two. No contest fees.
Wergle Flomp is the only “F*r*e*e” poetry contest. Now, men and women on the World wide web and toiling poets by natural means leap at the word “F*r*e*e”. But, like victims of those modeling scams, you are going to stop up paying out for your minute of bargain looking. Modeling frauds want you to operate with a certain photographer (typically bogus European). Also, poetry ripoffs is not going to let you even see your poem in print unless of course you spend for the anthology. When you do shell out for the anthology, you might question if you just acquired a copy of the Penny Saver, since your poem looks like it was crammed on to the website page to make space for the “Spot the Difference” puzzle and the adult talk lines. Then there are people awards banquets…
three. Phony awards banquets.
10 a long time in the past, no joke, I acquired a mailing from Well-known Poets Society that lured me to fork over the funds to attend an awards banquet and convention. If I compensated my funds, I could be a part of the elite firm of poets this sort of as…Ted Lange of “Really like Boat” fame. Who knew Isaac the bartender was a closet Langston Hughes? Furthermore, I could earn $six,000 in doorway prizes. Now, if you’ve got ever attended a poetry reading through, especially in coffeehouses, you know that poets wear their vow of poverty as proudly as a Che Guevara T-shirt. Just the considered of profitable $twenty five in a poetry slam created my fellow poets and me weep much more cathartically than the contestants on “Offer or No Offer.” And Ted Lange usually does not attend.
4. Questionable popularity or none at all.
In Alex Kime , if you will not have Nikki Giovanni, Czeslaw Milosz or Donald Corridor entrance and middle in your journal, furthermore many angsty Eastern European poets, would-be poets fall you like Oprah dropped James Frey. Search for journals, publishers and poetry contests that publish and are judged by literary lions. It really is Bukowski or bust. And when Poetry.com can’t determine out that Dave Barry and 20/20 are hoaxing them, the joke’s on Poetry.com. Likewise, if a vanity press expenses you $3,000 to $eight,000 to publish your selection of poems, and the top author promoted by Façade Push is an eighteen-calendar year-old composing poems from the point of see of her liver, preserve your funds for the hard perform of in fact distributing your poems to Threepenny Review, or literary journals or publishers that you study about in Writer’s Marketplace or Poets and Writers.
five. Marketing in newspapers and shiny journals.
Actual poetry contests never market in United states of america Weekend–certain, United states of america Weekend might sponsor a teen essay contest, but poetry advertisers? Forget it. Folks never decide up United states Weekend as a literary publication, even even though United states of america Weekend attributes books and authors. If you see a mass contact for poets in a mass marketplace magazine, give it a skip. Actual poetry contests get deluged with submissions as it is. They do not want to fish for more.
6. Sending you a letter of acceptance for a contest you can not keep in mind entering or a publisher you can not remember distributing to.
I admit, as a writer I have issues keeping monitor of what I sent to whom and when–we go into creating to steer clear of paperwork, not do it, though when we are not in the temper, reorganizing data files suddenly becomes as tempting as a day in Cancun. The good news is, Writer’s Marketplace functions a Submission Tracker, and some enterprising bloggers truly submit their submission routine to make the rest of us sigh in unorganized envy. If you can’t discover the include letter/e-question in your file cabinet, on your pc, on your Zip travel (you do again up, proper?), or in your Sent folder, chances are you never ever submitted to Nationwide Library of Poetry or Wordscum.com (apologies if there in fact is a Web site out there referred to as Wordscum.com). Indeed, soon after 300 rejections, getting an acceptance letter may be a increase, but to misquote Groucho Marx, think two times ahead of you accept just any club that will have you as a member. Purpose larger. Envision if JK Rowling had just mentioned, “All right, I will spend a million pounds to have a handful of hundred copies of Harry Potter for my buddies and family members to purchase.”
7. Promising to get your ebook or handsome anthology on the bestseller rack in bookstores.
Amount one particular, PoetryNotCom is one particular of the numerous sites reporting that this claim is bogus. Number two, most folks who go into a bookstore to go through poetry possibly can find the poetry area blindfolded and commit 3 hours debating the symbolism in Whitman over a decaf skinny latte at Borders Café. Amount two, even though receiving your e-book in bookstores is nevertheless the gold normal, Amazon.com and online retailing make it simple for even the tiniest press to get publications observed. Amount three, bookstores are so glutted with stock that they can’t even inventory the POD guides, let by yourself anything at all from ScamPoet Publishing or Poetry.com, and bookstores will not settle for vainness press guides. For that subject, no poet in addition to Ludacris or Jimmy Carter will end up on the bestseller checklist in a bookstore. We never go into poetry to be abundant. We go into poetry to audio our barbaric yawp…and a fellowship or two is nice, also.
Many beginning poets get bilked, but you will not have to. If you happen to be smart and bold, you may be a effective poet with tons of lierary publications and e-zines bearing your byline. Poetry.com and its ilk will often be “The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”