Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Getting Published

Preparing to serve on panel for "Publishing, A Seminar for Writers."

The publishing world is changing rapidly, creating a large amount of uncertainty with publishers and writers, and redefining traditional publishing, distribution, and promotion. We hope to focus on these changes and give writers some creative ideas on how to deal with these changes.

Question 1: What are the major changes going on in publishing today and how does it relate to writers' motivations and ambitions?

RS: I recently re-visited YouTube and Billy Collins’ ANIMATED POETRY, which has attracted over 600,000 viewers. One major change is a) the growing size of the audience for poetry, but also b) the tendency of this audience to go online--rather than to the bookstore--with the expectation that they will be entertained along with whatever else they're wanting or expecting from poetry. As for ambition, well, I've never met a person who hasn't, at some time in his or her life, written a poem and thought, fleetingly, of seeing it in print. And now the technology is such that they too can be published on YouTube and elsewhere and, failing that, they can start their own online literary journal. Samples of where you can go online to see these major changes at play:

BTW, I especially like Collins' poem "Forgetfulness," with animation by Julian Grey of Headgear.

What if we are seeing the start of something new, the oral tradition, storytelling--and BTW lyric poetry, too, tells a story--combining now with everything else the Internet makes possible? Hell, it's been going on for years and the technology will continue to evolve and likely change the nature of what we call "reading" and what it means to be a literate person. I'm hopeful... we'll see poetry and fiction, sound and visuals, in combinations and with effects that will broaden the audience for poetry and, at the same time, encourage writers to work in collaboration with computer scientists, wizards of the keyboard, animators, musicians, actors, illustrators and others, including people in the sciences--those, for example, who are exploring the nature of consciousness. Like neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat.

As an illustration of what I'm personally up to:

"Shelby the Dog" - re-defining the nature of the word persona.

I am indebted to my friend, J.J. Webb, creator of Cruzio Café, for the following:

Other resources:
New Literary Magazines
for the latest on new issues & descriptions of traditional hardcopy, literary eZines, News Sites and Blogs,

Mike Neff’s Web del Sol
Coverage of marketing and web-publishing since 1994. Includes 'mini-chaps,' i.e., chapbooks in digital format.

Poets & Writers, primary source of info and guidance for writers, with emphasis on creative writing programs.

Don Selby & Diane Boller's Poetry Daily
2006 Poetry Daily Web Site Statistics:

Total pages viewed: 13.6 million

Total visits: 6 million
Unique hosts: 3 million
Total Hits: 96 million

As for the second part of the question, i.e., "How does it relate to writers' motivations and ambitions?" on a practical level, writers with websites, can easily direct orders to their publisher, to independent bookstores, or, if they prefer, fulfill orders themselves via PayPal. Local examples:


Beau Blue said...

New lit mags will tell me every publisher that paid $175 to be listed. Is that $175 a year? Seems a bit stiff to me.

Webdelsol - overwhelm me with the number of venues that are thought the best on the net. I wonder what lever's used to access the judicial committee, 'cause it sure as hell ain't email. And after following links that lead to disappointing presentations one begins to think, 'oh, well, maybe it's an expectations thing, or I'm just not bright enough to comprehend how things are suppose to be assessed.'

P&W is an info resource also motivated by the selling of paper. And what are the chances they'll even take the time to notice any venues but those of the 'chosen by the gatekeepers'. And they're paper gatekeepers aren't they? Paper gatekeepers are one-eyed blind to online. It's kind of sad in a way.

Does the Poetry Daily take submissions from EJournals like The Cafe? It seems like a slick print mag with links to buying books.

I still haven't figured out if these 'websites to sell paper' are being fair to 'my kind'. Why can't they sell CDs and DVDs too? I don't do paper anymore. Does that leave me out of the REAL poetry world? I'm so distressed I tell ya, I could trail my angst all over northern California. What would Al Gore think of me then. Angst contributes to global warming you know. It's true, I've been told by people who wouldn't lie to me.


Robert said...