WHAT’S REALLY WRONG WITH POETRY BOOK CONTESTS??
by David Alpaugh
With no direct commitment to the poetry it should not surprise us to learn that contest publishers are minimalists when it comes to marketing their winners. Whereas a traditional publisher must sell hundreds of books to remain solvent, and must therefore take potential readership into account when selecting manuscripts, the contest publisher need not be concerned with readers at all. Having met his expenses in advance, and in some cases even turned a profit, he need not sell a single copy of the prizewinning book. The first edition was, in fact, sold-out before it was a tear or twinkle in the judge’s eye to readers who bought it blind, knowing neither title nor author.