Read It and Weep

More evidence about how hard it is to get a book published. *sigh*

From Seth Abramson’s blog:

What I did was visit the websites of fully one hundred independent presses, drawing their names from the best-seller lists for the past year at the Poetry Foundation and Small Press Distribution websites. Incredibly (and fortuitously, given my limited mathematical skills), adding up the data from every single press listed in a year's worth of SPD best-seller lists, as well as the current Poetry Foundation best-seller list, got me to exactly 100 independent poetry presses.


Nic Sebastian said…
Discouraging, isn't it!

An idea I had, might be something some would be interested in exploring:

It's a rapidly morphing world, poetry publishing - let's morph it some more! All best, Nic
Catherine said…
Why is it discouraging that there are 100 small independent poetry presses? That is two for every state in the USA, the ratio is not much better in New Zealand (and with more, there is more variety, so you stand a better chance of getting one that is a fit with your work - here, there are a couple of university presses, and about one remaining independent publisher who tends to expect money to bring out your book unless they really, really like you)
January said…
Because only a tiny number of publishers are accepting poetry manuscripts.

Here's my take: There are 300-million-plus people in the U.S. I dare say that there are at least five million poetry readers. Yet emerging writers are having a tough time publishing first and second books. The readership is just not there.

Out of the small number of poetry books published annually, only a few sell more than 2,000 copies. I'm not sure why anyone (including myself) chooses to pursue book publication because the whole process is so darn frustrating.

Maybe it's all relative to where you live, but the numbers are stacked against the poets, the content providers, the keepers of the craft. It's always been that way and yet it's still discouraging.
Catherine said…
2000 copies would be huge in New Zealand. We did a print run of 200 on our book, which sold out - except that we didn't sell 200 copies, because that included complimentary copies and review copies. NZ book publishers brought out a list of the top selling New Zealand titles and I think only one poetry book had ever sold more than 2000 copies. I guess it is discouraging, but there seems to be an audience for poetry, for instance our newspaper includes a poetry column which it didn't a few years ago, and there are readings and so on. I suppose because an individual poem is a small thing, people can get their fix without buying a whole book.
The ratio of publishers to population is probably about the same here, but in some ways marketing might be easier because everyone knows everyone and has the mailing list from the Poets Collective - so I get invited to all the book launches in my city, both new and well-established poets.

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