In America, poets are held in this sort of reduced esteem that even the most Honored Consultant from Nigeria won’t hassle scamming us. Modern society states to us what Dermot Mulroney says to Julia Roberts in “My Ideal 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, nevertheless, is preferable to the poetry ripoffs that have proliferated. Wind Publications’ Literary Fraud guidebook has this to say:
Concealed amid the several sponsors of respectable literary contests marketed on the world wide web lurk those who care tiny about literature, its audience, or authors. These organizations and people exist only for revenue by means of their so-referred to as composing or poetry contests. Often you’ll locate these “free” poetry contests lavishly marketed in your neighborhood newspaper.
There is a cottage sector of creating scams perpetuated by pus poetry pimps, the chief among them Intercontinental Library of Poetry, aka Noble Property Press, aka Poetry.com. They publicize in United states of america Weekend and the Penny Saver–effectively, not the Penny Saver, but they may possibly as nicely, since that sums up their opinion of poets. If you have seen the ads or obtained a letter that suggests, “Congratulations, your poem has been chosen for our subsequent anthology,” congratulations, you might be getting ripped off.
Like so-named modeling organizations or “expertise brokers” who prey on the goals of nubile ladies seeking to be the subsequent Lindsay Lohan, poetry pyramid schemes exploit the variety one particular hope of writers: publication, and far more importantly, recognition. Many superb World wide web web sites these kinds of as Preditors and Editors and PoetryNotCom detail the outrageous mechanics of poetry “anthology” frauds, and the notorious Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest by WinningWriters.com cheerfully skewers vanity poetry contests and the submicroorganisms who perpetuate them.
How do you location a poetry scam? Look for…
1. Crazy pie in the sky prize quantities.
I ran the DeAnn Lubell Specialist Writers’ Opposition. Most poetry contests with reading expenses shell out, at most, $1,000, and that is for a ebook-duration manuscript of poetry. For a one poem, the very first prize pot is generally a whopping $a hundred, $one hundred fifty tops. A $twenty million prize, as dangled by Noble Residence, is a huge crimson flag. Oh, and no one particular at any time provides poets a chance to get a planet cruise. It truly is usually assumed that we sail close to the planet on a Mark Twain raft, a sampan, or a Hemingway skiff.
2. No contest expenses.
Wergle Flomp is the only “F*r*e*e” poetry contest. Now, people on the World wide web and toiling poets naturally leap at the word “F*r*e*e”. But, like victims of these modeling frauds, you may end up spending for your moment of discount hunting. Modeling ripoffs want you to perform with a certain photographer (normally faux European). Likewise, poetry scams will not likely enable you even see your poem in print unless of course you pay out for the anthology. When you do pay out for the anthology, you might wonder if you just bought a copy of the Penny Saver, simply because your poem looks like it was crammed onto the web page to make space for the “Location the Big difference” puzzle and the adult discuss traces. Then there are these awards banquets…
three. Phony awards banquets.
Ten many years back, no joke, I received a mailing from Renowned Poets Culture that lured me to fork more than the funds to show up at an awards banquet and conference. If I paid out my cash, I could be part of the elite firm of poets such as…Ted Lange of “Adore Boat” fame. Who understood Isaac the bartender was a closet Langston Hughes? Additionally, I could acquire $six,000 in door prizes. Now, if you’ve got at any time attended a poetry reading, specially in coffeehouses, you know that poets dress in 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 more cathartically than the contestants on “Offer or No Offer.” And Ted Lange usually will not show up at.
four. Questionable status or none at all.
In poetry, if you do not have Nikki Giovanni, Czeslaw Milosz or Donald Hall front and middle in your journal, furthermore many angsty Jap European poets, would-be poets drop you like Oprah dropped James Frey. Appear for publications, publishers and poetry contests that publish and are judged by literary lions. It truly is Bukowski or bust. And when Poetry.com are unable to determine out that Dave Barry and twenty/20 are hoaxing them, the joke’s on Poetry.com. In the same way, if a vainness push fees you $three,000 to $eight,000 to publish your collection of poems, and the prime author promoted by Façade Press is an eighteen-12 months-aged composing poems from the position of look at of her liver, help save your cash for the hard operate of actually submitting your poems to Threepenny Review, or literary magazines or publishers that you study about in Writer’s Market or Poets and Writers.
five. Promoting in newspapers and shiny journals.
Genuine poetry contests don’t advertise in United states Weekend–confident, United states Weekend may possibly sponsor a teenager essay contest, but poetry advertisers? Fail to remember it. Alex Kime and women do not choose up United states Weekend as a literary publication, even though United states of america Weekend features books and authors. If you see a mass get in touch with for poets in a mass industry journal, give it a miss out on. Actual poetry contests get deluged with submissions as it is. They never want to fish for much more.
six. Sending you a letter of acceptance for a contest you can’t don’t forget getting into or a publisher you are unable to bear in mind submitting to.
I acknowledge, as a author I have trouble trying to keep monitor of what I despatched to whom and when–we go into writing to keep away from paperwork, not do it, although when we are not in the temper, reorganizing data files out of the blue turns into as tempting as a working day in Cancun. The good news is, Writer’s Market place characteristics a Submission Tracker, and some enterprising bloggers truly publish their submission routine to make the relaxation of us sigh in unorganized envy. If you can not locate the go over letter/e-query in your file cabinet, on your laptop, on your Zip drive (you do back again up, appropriate?), or in your Sent folder, chances are you by no means submitted to Nationwide Library of Poetry or Wordscum.com (apologies if there truly is a Net website out there known as Wordscum.com). Yes, soon after 300 rejections, receiving an acceptance letter might be a enhance, but to misquote Groucho Marx, believe two times before you acknowledge just any club that will have you as a member. Goal higher. Imagine if JK Rowling experienced just explained, “All correct, I am going to spend a million lbs . to have a couple of hundred copies of Harry Potter for my friends and family members to acquire.”
seven. Promising to get your ebook or handsome anthology on the bestseller rack in bookstores.
Number one particular, PoetryNotCom is 1 of the several web sites reporting that this assert is bogus. Amount two, most people who go into a bookstore to go through poetry almost certainly can locate the poetry segment blindfolded and spend a few hrs debating the symbolism in Whitman above a decaf skinny latte at Borders Café. Variety two, though getting your ebook in bookstores is nonetheless the gold regular, Amazon.com and on the web retailing make it straightforward for even the tiniest push to get textbooks discovered. Quantity three, bookstores are so glutted with stock that they can not even inventory the POD guides, enable alone anything from ScamPoet Publishing or Poetry.com, and bookstores will not settle for self-importance press textbooks. For that matter, no poet in addition to Ludacris or Jimmy Carter will end up on the bestseller list in a bookstore. We do not go into poetry to be wealthy. We go into poetry to sound our barbaric yawp…and a fellowship or two is good, as well.
Numerous beginning poets get bilked, but you will not have to. If you happen to be smart and bold, you are going to be a successful poet with tons of lierary publications and e-zines bearing your byline. Poetry.com and its ilk will constantly be “The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”