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Timeless Wizard

Joined: 30 Jun 2005
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Currently Reading: Just about anything I can get my hands on...grin

PostPosted: Wednesday, 01 October 2008, 7:16 AM    Post subject: IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT WRITING AND POETRY SCAMS Reply with quote

I came across this invaluable tidbit (I know it's long but it can save you alot of tears and rejection slips) or worse acceptance letters that end costing YOU a fortune in time, trouble, and money. I found this on Winning Writers. It is copyrighted material but can be used for fair purposes (such as this) so be sure to give credit and I wouldn't post it on a personal blog without written permission (use your own judgement on that).

Contests and Agencies to Avoid

We suggest you avoid the following contests and organizations. Many appear to be disguised vanity publishers, whose goal is to sell you expensive personalized products and attract you to conferences. Others may charge you membership or service fees for which the benefits are questionable, or which can be obtained elsewhere for free. Winning prizes from these organizations will add little to your resume, and may even make you look amateurish to publishers and other poets.

The Amherst Society
Cader Publishing
Circle of Poets
Famous Poets Society
Iliad Press (an imprint of Cader Publishing)
Iliad Literary Awards Program
International Library of Photography (aka Picture.com, affiliated with Poetry.com, read public comments)
International Library of Poetry (aka Poetry.com)
International Poetry Hall of Fame (aka Poetry.com)
International Society of Poets (aka Poetry.com)
JMW Publishing Company
League of American Poets (poetryamerica.com)
The National Archives
The Nashville International Song and Lyric Competition (aka Paramount Group)
National Library of Poetry (aka Poetry.com)
Noble House (an affiliate of Watermark Press and Poetry.com, see a spoof contest entry and response)
Paramount Group
Picture.com (aka International Library of Photography, affiliated with Poetry.com, read public comments)
Poetry.com (see spoof contest entries and responses, see convention report)
Poetry Laureates
Poetry Press
Poetry Revival Contest
Poetry Unlimited
The Poets' Guild
PoetsOnly.com (see spoof contest entry and response; appears to be defunct)
The Poets' Workshop (www.poets.com, aka Poetry.com)
Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum
Stamford Research
TA.TI. Edizioni
Watermark Press (aka Poetry.com)
White Oak Press (aka Poetry America)

The most common pitch is to make poets buy their anthologies as a condition of publication. Publishers in this category include: Famous Poets Society, Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, The Amherst Society, The Poets' Guild, Poetry Press, Poetry Unlimited, The National Archives, and JMW Publishing. Others try to sell you services, such as manuscript editing or agency representation.

Poetry.com aggressively markets anthologies and products, and goes beyond. They invite poets to expensive "conferences" where they are to receive "awards". We have read several hair-raising stories of poets furious after being lured to one of these affairs. Some attendees do report that they enjoy meeting their fellow poets, but there are many, many other conferences and festivals where you can do this, at less cost and where excellence is truly honored. Poetry.com operates under the following names: Poets.com, the National Library of Poetry, the International Library of Poetry, the International Society of Poets, Watermark Press, and the International Poetry Hall of Fame. It also appears to be affiliated with Noble House.

Vanity contests are characterized by low standards, and are willing to publish most of the submissions they receive (typically half or more). They primarily market their publications to the contestants themselves, often at high prices. Few copies are sold to independent buyers or libraries. A vanity contest is not necessarily a "scam". It may well disclose its terms and selection procedures fully and accurately. Nevertheless, all of the contests above are a waste of your time. There are plenty of better ones to submit to, selective contests that want to promote good work to a wider audience.

More Scam-Fighting Resources
Warning signs of a bad poetry contest
Sites that warn against scams

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
This contest, sponsored by Winning Writers, seeks the best parody poem sent to a 'vanity contest' as a joke. There is no fee to enter. Over $3,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, including a top prize of $1,359. Submissions accepted August 15-April 1. See the guidelines.


The Poets Literary Agency - Avoid
We feel this site is a bad deal for poets because it misrepresents how the poetry publishing market works. Reputable publishing houses use contests and open submission periods to find new poets. The use of agents is very rare. The trade shows and mass mailings that Poets Literary Agency mentions may be valuable for commercial nonfiction, but are not a normal publicity channel for poetry. Moreover, their critique fee (reported to be $74 as of October 2006) is suspiciously high, especially when it's not obvious that the staff has any literary (as opposed to marketing) credentials.

High-Priced Book Promotion Services
Poets and other small press authors should be on the lookout for marketing schemes that charge high fees for book publicity services of dubious value. Winning Writers newsletter editor Jendi Reiter, author of the poetry collection A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003), recently received a mass-mailed sales pitch from Airleaf Publishing & Book Selling. Headed "A National Campaign for A Talent for Sadness!", the letter purported to be a "special invitation" to participate in a national publicity campaign, including television commercials, full-color glossy newspaper inserts, interviews on local radio shows, and telemarketing calls encouraging bookstores to stock her book. All for the rock-bottom price of...$6,996.

While overpriced publicity services are nothing new, we felt this personalized letter crossed an ethical line by creating a false appearance of selectivity. "We recently discovered A Talent for Sadness and we believe it has the potential to be a national bestseller. Your book comes highly recommended and is precisely the kind of book we have had the most success selling." Well, gee. We'd like to think so, but poetry books that aren't written by pop stars or ex-presidents rarely achieve that level of commercial success. The total mismatch between these extravagant promises and the type of book being promoted makes us very suspicious of Airleaf's claim that "we have invited a very select group of authors and are accepting just the first 25." More likely they generated a letter like this for everyone on their mailing list who had a book out, similar to Poetry.com's "semifinalist" letters. (See the website, Airleaf Victims Fight Back!)

Even leaving aside the dishonesty, we feel services like these are generally not a good investment. It's better to do your own targeted research on the bookstores, local radio and TV stations, and performance spaces that would be most appropriate for promoting your book, instead of wasting money on a mass-mailing to markets that aren't appropriate for you. For far less money than Airleaf is charging, you can hire an assistant to help you schedule readings and network with booksellers, if you don't have time to do everything yourself. Pick up a copy of Carolyn Howard-Johnson's The Frugal Book Promoter for some creative ideas.

Brien Jones, formerly an "author consultant" at Airleaf, is now the principal of two similar companies, Jones Harvest Publishing and Author Celebrity Associates, both of Bloomington, Indiana. We suggest you avoid these companies as well.


Franklin Publishing: Unfavorable Terms
In July 2007, a subscriber queried us about whether Franklin Publishing, an independent (and apparently for-profit) publisher of social science and business journals, was a scam. We found their website to be up-front about the terms of publication and the fees charged to authors, but we would still advise authors to avoid this publisher.

Franklin's website states: "Review copies are not available. Authors receive a 15% discount on single issue and annual subscriptions. Author's copies are not available. Authors retain ownership of all manuscripts and therefore no contracts are signed with authors. We do not provide free copies of books, journals, or articles printed in journals or books. Authors are paid for their manuscripts by receiving a 15% discount on books or journals that they purchase." Their journals typically cost $600 for an annual subscription or $60 per issue.

Reputable academic and trade publishers provide a certain number of contributors' copies and reprints at no charge. We refrain from calling Franklin a scam because we have no way to assess how selective their "peer review" process is, but it appears to be primarily a vanity press to generate publication credits, and probably carries little prestige as compared to legitimate academic journals.

Copyright 2001-2008, Winning Writers, Inc. Site design by EyeArchitect.
Beyond fair use, no part of this website may be reproduced without permission.
All rights reserved.

I hope this was a helpful to you as it was to me.

I didn't say it was your FAULT. I said I was going to BLAME you.

In life, no matter what the goal; it is really the journey that matters most.
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Young Dreamer

Joined: 08 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Saturday, 20 December 2008, 23:23 PM    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks very informative but discouraging also

Those who wish to be judged by their succeses.
Should be hesitant to judge others by their failures
Rea '08
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MoonStar Rose
Wise Old Sage

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PostPosted: Wednesday, 14 January 2009, 11:31 AM    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, I am new to this site and am still finding my way around. I ran across your piece and decided to have a look, and am very glad I did! Your information and suggestions were very helpful. I too, was approched by Poetry.com, then Noble house. According to them they asked for permission in publishing my piece's I sent to them. I never bought their book, nor anything else. My daughter claimes she saw my work on display when she went on to the site. I myself have not entered anymore of their contest, no have been back to see if my work was still on there..
So thank you in helping me understand the ways of publishing and whom to avoid..

Yours truly;
~MoonStar Rose~

The most important thing you can do in life is love.
The greatest achievement.. Is to be loved back...

~MoonStar Rose~
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darlene ozley
Leader Of The Industry

Joined: 12 Dec 2005
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Currently Reading: The Bible

PostPosted: Wednesday, 04 February 2009, 6:31 AM    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too, found this to be very helpful.
I have found quite a few places myself, such as
Poetry.com that takes advantage of the writer just starting out.
dozley color

"Remember yesterday, dream about tomorrow, but live today"
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Michelle Obie

Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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Location: Memphis Tn,
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PostPosted: Sunday, 05 July 2009, 14:36 PM    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdmkay, my friend also thanks for the information. As you can remember I had my poetry on poetry.com. They always wanted me to buy the book in order to see the book. Mdmkay have gave you all some wonderful and helpful information. Yes, you will be sad about it. However, you will gain more knowledge and understanding about who is a scam and who isn't.

Thanks (aka chellebaby)

Keep your dreams alive and never give hope.
Michelle- Visit my website at http://www.aboutheavenfashion.com/
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Joined: 11 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 15 September 2009, 3:27 AM    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for posting this information. RE: Poetry.com-- After having several pieces of my poetry published (and paying for the hardback anthology), I stopped the latter realizing the error of my ways. Unfortunately Noble House contacted me and I am still awaiting the copy of the hardback! I do know Poetry.com has shut down as it was purchased on March 7th, 2009 by Lulu.com. Publish today and Noble House Books, the branches of Poetry.com that managed the publishing and printing of their books, have also gone out of business.

Yes, sad to say, a hard lesson to learn as a beginning writer...

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Site Admin

Joined: 16 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tuesday, 15 September 2009, 18:16 PM    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like yourself, Kay, I tried Poetry.com early on . . . once. I submitted only one verse, "A Christmas Sonnet," which immediately got their attention. The next thing I knew, I'd received a request to attend their annual convention in Florida, where I was to recite that poem and receive a sterling silver trophy. A trophy which would only cost me $75.00! (This was in addition to the offer to purchase the anthology and any additional copies I might want in which that poem was being published.)

The only good thing about that experience was that I'd made sure I retained the copyright first; for which they asked me only once. After that, I did a lot more research, as I began getting e-mails from a bunch more poetry websites that were scams as well.

Live and learn. . . .

I'm just an ol' country boy, trying to preserve a dwindling breed, and a vanishing creed.
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Michelle Obie

Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 58
Location: Memphis Tn,
Reputation: 71.3
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PostPosted: Thursday, 17 September 2009, 19:01 PM    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah its hard really because I did poetry .com as well if I wanted my copy for myself. I had to pay for my copy and plus additional.

Keep your dreams alive and never give hope.
Michelle- Visit my website at http://www.aboutheavenfashion.com/
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