Monday, August 25, 2008

A Cautionary Tale

For all of us who enter contests on a regular basis, here are some words of warning from poet Stacey Lynn Brown. An excerpt from her blog:

"... I'm telling my story far and wide, to anyone who'll listen, because the poetry world is small, and it's hard enough to get your work seen and taken seriously. Because it's supposed to work out if you're lucky enough to get that phone call and win that prize. Because poetry presses should be in this because they love poetry and want to produce quality books--not because they have issues and poetic insecurities of their own and need to feel validated and in control. I'm telling this story because once you sign a contract and give up your finalist position in other contests, you shouldn't have to start over at square one--all because an unethical press broke the law and its word.

And I'm telling you this because their new book award contest opens for submissions September 1st, and I want every poet out there who is considering sending their manuscripts to reconsider. Your work deserves to be seen and placed in a press with ethics and integrity. I know it's tempting to just blanket the market and hope for the best, but if you hit with this press, it could happen to you, too, as both of the last two contest winners had to enter into legal action against this press--and neither has a book to show for it.

The name of the press? ..."

7 comments:

bostonerin said...

Whoa.

January said...

Sad.

The publisher has sent out a rebuttal but I still think it's good to post about the negative side of what can happen to your manuscript before it goes to print.

Bill Knott said...

. . . most of the comments responding to Brown on her site are commiserating with her, and saluting her bravery in exposing this nonsense——

but none are slamming his honor the Hoagland who bops in to these contests and does his ten minute stint as “judge” and then scoots off with another tick on his resume, another notch on his reputation, who doesn’t give a damn if it’s a scam, he doesn’t care if the process is fair and the press treats its poets properly, all he cares about is cashing that fee and that boost to his ego . . .
Hoagland is a Po-Biz whore who will obviously sell his ass out as a “judge” at every opportunity legitimate or ill- . . .

if you’re going to condemn the presses, you must also damn the “judges” of these contests: they’re part of the scam . . . they don’t give a damn about what happens after they take their money and run . . . Hoagland is as much to blame here as Cider is.

January said...

I don't know, Bill. I have a hard time believing that Hoagland would want to be associated with a bad press. And I can't believe that's true of 99% of the poets judging contests today.

The publishing model for poets today is certainly flawed. Contests are more the norm than the exception. In general, the power lies in the hands of the publishers and not the content providers.

But the fix is simple: poets have to stop entering contests and increase our support of each other on a grassroots level: self publishing, blogs and Web zines, starting reading series, and buying each other’s books.

January said...

Well, maybe the fix is not THAT simple.

Bill Knott said...

january, they want to be "judges" but they don't want to do the work that should entail . . . they know it's a scam but they don't care because that's po-biz . . . they are shameless career whores only interested in promoting their names . . . Hoagland's no different from dozens of others milking this racket———

kj said...

i consider this a public service.

:)

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