A poetry publisher for poets over 60 is running its annual competition. I figure even though I won’t turn 60 for another week-plus, I can go ahead & enter! :-) Their reading period doesn’t end till August 31, & winners are announced by the end of the year; by then I’ll be accustomed to being 60, heehee!
This is the only place I’ve recently submitted that accepts only printouts. So I’ve printed out my manuscript, & sometime Wednesday I’ll be making a trek to the post office to send this off.
I took a sick day because of digestive issues (hopefully the ultrasound tomorrow will shed some light on them). After messing around with favorite electronic games for quite a while, I decided to make some more productive use of my time.
One of the publishers is in Florida, where LOTS of Colombian immigrants have settled. Of course that doesn’t mean these editors will automatically see my Colombia-rooted collection in a positive light, but it can’t hurt.
& several rejections (which I’m not taking personally – it’s normal), I’m going to submit the manuscript again tonight. Today I saw an invitation from a university-related poetry press that sounded unusually welcoming to poets who don’t have tons of book publications already. And it’s located in California, where my Latin American setting & intermittent use of Spanish might be more welcome than elsewhere.
& taking it tomorrow morning to my meeting with M & the managing editor of a local company. They do publish a few poetry books now, & my book would be a great companion to the mostly photography book that M & I will be plugging. Here & there it may be “too Christian” for this socialist company – but my faith is where my progressive politics come from, & there are definitely Christian socialists in the world, so I’ll let them be the ones to make that call!
I don’t think I’ll attach a cover note. My name & contact info are on the front page. If she wants to share the manuscript with fellow editors & needs a cover letter from me, she’ll let me know.
so I will need to look at whether & how they fit into the manuscript.
None of the publishers I sent it to last year showed interest. Now it’s time to work on finding a publisher again; what with the exhibitions & presentations coming up in the coming year(s), there will be more of a market, one that the right publisher will want to take advantage of.
Ten days from now M & I have an appointment with the managing editor at a local publisher for whom I often do freelance editing. We get along very well, I love the books her company publishes, & she donated to help make our Colombia trip possible. So we are going to sound her out about publishing the photography/text book that we will be constructing based on the trip. It would fit well with the publisher’s ethos; we just need to see whether they’d be up for doing a book that is largely photography, since their current books are not artsy. They are doing well even in this iffy time in the book industry, plus they have branched out to begin publishing poetry books in the last couple of years. So I think they might be up for the challenge.
During our discussion, I’ll let J know that I also have this manuscript of poems rooted in Colombia. Oh heck, I’m going to print it out & bring it along. It would make a LOT of sense to publish these two books at the same time, as our exhibit audiences will likely be interested in both.
I am finishing up the editing on a memoir by a poet. She has added in the sources for her own poems that she’s including in the text . . . and the 2013 book she lists is put out by a publisher that I knew of, but not as a poetry publisher.
So I have gone to the press’s website and read about its imprints. Turns out that it has a remarkably agile print-on-demand operation and prides itself in being able to publish books that are worthy but aren’t expected to sell tons of copies. And recently that has broadened to include poetry!
One reason I think this might be a good place for me to submit my manuscript is that it’s mostly known for publishing theology and biblical studies books. My poems in the current collection are not in-your-face “religious,” but at certain points they express my faith, because it’s an integral part of who I am. I suspect that some editors will be leery of my manuscript for this reason. But it wouldn’t be a problem for the company I’m now considering – and this company might well be able to present my poems to a larger readership than I’d get through a tiny literary press. And it is publishing some books from my theological tradition, Mennonite, which tends to be politically progressive and espouses nonviolent social change.
Plus I won’t have to pay a contest or reading fee!
I am thrilled about this new possibility. I’ll be putting together a submission/proposal in the next week or two – unless it takes me longer than that to revise in accordance with my poetry teacher’s input, which hasn’t arrived yet.
(FINALLY the 43T site has stopped being impossibly slow, yay! That kept me away for quite a while.)
I attended my favorite poetry workshop last week and studied with a celebrated poet who proved to be amazingly generous, not only responding at length to e-mails and reading poems outside of class but also asking to go to lunch and dinner with workshop participants rather than holing up in solitude or with other faculty. Must be an extrovert. You’d never know his first book of poems, which came out a few years ago, has sold in the tens of thousands – numbers almost unknown for poetry in our day and age.
Because the week was too crammed to allow him to meet with very many of us individually, he proposed doing the remaining conferences over e-mail or Skype this week. Yesterday, when I e-mailed to follow up on that, he proposed, instead of Skyping, that I send him my current manuscript and he would read through it and respond.
What a privilege! I made a few more revisions :-) and sent it off to him last night.
Knowing the kind of person he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he not only gives me helpful feedback for further revising but also suggests a few publishers that might be interested in this kind of work.
I’m so blessed.
(Oh, also: last week I heard back from an editor at one publisher with an open reading period in June; turns out they are enthusiastic about language-hybrid poems despite their specification of “manuscripts written in English.” So I submitted my manuscript to them too!)
After a marathon of freelance work over the past couple of weeks (even including an all-nighter! I don’t think I had pulled one of those since I was in my 20s!), I dedicated this weekend to submissions.
Of course first I had to go through the whole manuscript yet again (these things are never finished). I actually completely rewrote my introductory essay to make it much shorter and more evocative, rather than journalistic. Now it’s just over a page long. Then I made small tweaks to a number of poems and changed the order of two of them.
Financially I was able to handle the contest fees this time around. A good friend who has just published her second book told me she was sure I could get mine published, but I would have to be very disciplined about sending it out. She said she would systematically send hers to 6-8 publishers at a time. Because most of them charge contest or reading fees (one of the main ways they keep afloat), it can definitely get pricy. Because most small presses now accept simultaneous submissions, I won’t have to wait till I hear from the current set; next month, for example, I could send another set. Or each time I see a promising possibility, I could just take the time to send one.
I don’t have high hopes; I think this will be a slog. But people are really loving my poems in Spanish, or that incorporate some Spanish, so that’s encouraging.
It is wonderful to apply my newfound happiness-energy to this project, just as I am to exercise and thoughtful eating!
with a deadline coming up midmonth. I know the work of the final judge, and I think he’d be positive toward my book. Though I have tons of stuff to do in the next couple of weeks, I think I have to try for this!
Last year I submitted the manuscript to (1) my ideal publisher and (2) a competition at another very active literary press. The #2 publisher just posted an announcement about the winner of the competition on FB, and it wasn’t me. :-) And I haven’t heard anything from #1.
Sometime soon I need to do some more exploring, decide on the next target, and send my baby out again.