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.
I decided to submit the manuscript to another publisher, on the last day of an extended contest deadline. I think it departed my computer only minutes before the midnight cutoff.
NO idea how good my chances are here, but this is a very active press that publishes a good number of poetry collections each year. We shall see!
Yesterday afternoon I finally figured out how to make my printer work again, after months of its failure to connect with my computer. To celebrate, I decided to put together and print out my next submission of the poetry book! This press requests only 10-15 pages of sample poems from the collection. The process involved, of course, a bit more editing here and there on one of the newer poems that I enclosed. And probably about three versions each of the cover letter and bio/publication list.
Now I just have to see whether I have appropriate-sized envelopes for mailing and enclosing (self-addressed stamped envelope for the almost inevitable return/rejection).
I am shooting high with this submission. But I really respect this publisher and think my work is consonant with their ethos.
Not really, but it’s very quick for response to a book manuscript: no, it’s not a good fit for us. Since this press’s website didn’t give examples of the company’s editorial taste, it’s not surprising.
Still, I’m glad it gave me the impetus to polish up the manuscript. Now I need to look at the options I’ve been collecting over the past couple of years and decide which is my best bet for the next submission.
For now, that is (poems and poetry manuscripts are never done; they just pause for publication).
I stayed up late to work through the manuscript, rereading every poem, editing/tweaking, changing the order (I think it’s much more logical now), adding a couple of items to the glossary. Felt a bit anxious when I was writing the cover letter and suddenly my Submishmash session expired – but when I started over at the publisher’s website, it assured me that my payment had been received and took me back to the page where my manuscript was uploaded. I started the letter again and made it all the way to clicking the “submit” button without further mishap. And I’ve received an automated confirmation.
Oh my. This is a hallelujah moment! Wish I could stay up and celebrate with a nice brandy or port – but must betake myself bedward.
Poetry – $10.00 [reading fee]
We are reading Poetry with social justice themes. Complete collections only. The author will receive 10% of the royalties from book sales and 20 copies of the book. ? Press sells books to authors at a 35% discount, and these copies may be sold directly to customers at readings and events. ? Press will not sell books to authors on a return basis. Books that have been previously published are not eligible. All work must be original work by the author.
Online I saw that the press I’ve been considering submitting my manuscript to is NOT taking submissions at the moment, pending some reorganization. So that’s still a possibility – but in the meantime, I stumbled onto another press’s website today, and it proclaims right up front: “Now reading poetry and fiction – click to submit!” And, as you see above, the editor specifically wants poetry with social justice themes. The reading fee is low, and I’m going to go for it! As in, tweaking/updating the manuscript and submitting it TONIGHT!