Yesterday's conference was interesting.
Apparently I was the only person in the room (world?) who doesn't consider posting a poem on a blog or personal website to be the equivalent of publishing in a magazine (either online or print).
If I printed 500 copies of a poem on a sheet of paper and handed them out to people on the street, is that poem published too?
No, of course not. That's not publishing, that's sharing.
Oh wait, are we talking paper or cardstock? Maybe that could be considered a broadside.
If I recorded a poem and posted the audio on my blog, I'm told that isn't considered publishing.
Just as if I read a poem at a reading in front of 100 people, that poem isn't considered published either.
Of course those above ways of sharing a poem may very well reach a much larger audience that publication in a number of magazines.
I understand things get blurry -- but this is poetry. Nobody, aside from the estates of a handful of long dead poets is making any money. Would the sharing of my own poem on my very own blog beforehand cost a future publisher of that same poem sales, circulation or traffic?
If you liked poems I've posted here in the past, would that make you more or less likely to check out my work in other venues? More or less likely to buy my book? If you happen to come across a poem in a magazine or a book that you read before in some form on my blog, do you throw the book down in disgust? Puke on your keyboard?
You know, I have a book coming out this fall. Like 80% of those poems have been previously published -- and around 70-80% of those are online. If you spent the time, you could read over half the poems in that upcoming book for FREE.
Or you could ask your library to order the book and read the entire thing for FREE. Or ask a bookstore to order it, never pick it up and wait for it to be shelved and then stand in the store and read it for FREE. Or tell your friend to buy it and borrow his copy. Or you could write me and say you're going to review it -- I'm such a sucker, I'd very likely send you a copy for FREE. Probably accompanied with some kiss ass note about how I hope you like it.
Or you could write me your hard luck story, about how you lost it all playing nickel slots and I'd send the PDF -- for FREE.
Cause in the end, I really just want you to read the poems. As much as I'm going to encourage you to BUY the book, to support the press publishing it, to support me -- if you're such a psychotic that you're willing to go to all lengths to acquire the opportunity to read those poems on your own terms -- YOU'RE GOING TO WIN!
Almost three years ago I wrote a poem called "That's Not Butter" and posted it to this blog. A few months later it was accepted for publication in MiPOesias
and a few months after that it appeared in their Gabe Gudding issue. When it appeared in MiPO
, I took the poem off my blog and replaced it with a link to the magazine -- cause it looked so much cooler there. A year after that it appeared in BAP
(rightfully) received the first publication credit in the anthology, not Cackling Jackal
and not "first appeared in an e-mail to Shafer Hall" (the first place it truly saw print) or any other place the poem had been shared beforehand. Cause MiPO
was the first outside (non-me) supporter/promoter of that poem.
Now when I'm publishing other poets' work in No Tell Motel
, I don't want those poems to be already published in another magazine -- either online or print. I don't want to have the same work as another magazine. I guess that means in some way, I view other magazines as a competition of some sort. Well, not exactly competition, but I want No Tell
to be different, unique that all other magazines. To this date I'm aware of two poems that No Tell
unknowingly republished -- and I'm not happy about that -- especially one situation when I confronted the author and he outright lied and said he had no idea the first magazine printed his work (I would have been a lot more sympathetic to "I forgot" or "I screwed up"). The sneaky lying is what burns me most.
I bet you have no idea what two poems I'm speaking of. The poems are still up -- you could spend hours, days, weeks, Google researching -- you'd definitely discover at least one of the poems, maybe both. Are you going to bother to do that? Somehow I really doubt it. Somehow I doubt anyone other than me, the other editors involved, the poets and the three people I regularly bitch to have any idea what poems I'm talking about.
Poets' personal blogs and websites are not No Tell's
competition. In fact, they're No Tell's
biggest traffic referrers. Blogs and personal websites are the constant sources of new readers for the magazine. If a handful of No Tell
readers are familiar with a certain poem via the author beforehand, why would that bother me? Shouldn't I be happy that particular poet is developing an audience? An audience that would be likely to transfer to my magazine (and other poets No Tell
Think of me like a girlfriend. I don't so much care what you do by yourself, it's when the other girls get in the mix that I start to get snippy and territorial. You say the others don't matter, it's me you really love -- but it's too late, I'm hurt and scrawling your e-mail on the stalls of rest stops.
I'm in the minority on this issue, I realize that. And when sending out my work, if it once appeared on my blog or someone's wedding program, I make a point in telling the editor beforehand. In the end, it's their magazine and they make the rules for their own roost and I always honor that. Clearly I'm not a purist either, I draw the line work that's appeared in other magazines, already selected by other editors. The way I see it is that as an editor I'm one extension that a poet can use to distribute her work. I have no interest in limiting that poet's ability to do so. We're talking poetry, remember, teeny tiny audience, nobody receiving any financial profit, viritually zero fame, prestige, "cultural capital", whatever.
Just be respectful of the work I do as an editor, let me be your "first" magazine publisher -- give me that one bragging right (cause that's the only payment I get doing this) -- and if that poem does succeed to "bigger and better" things, grant me that acknowledgment, always remember the little people (editors/publishers).