Why aren't more people using traditional publishing?
A few weeks ago Karl Wiggins set an interesting question in the forums: why aren’t more of us self-publishing? I recommend it to anyone who missed it (http://www.abctales.com/forum/fri-2014-10-24-1129/why-arent-more-abctalers-self-publishing). It’s a good debate.
That got me asking myself why no-one seems to make a serious attempt at the more traditional route into print via a publisher, especially the poets amongst us. Now, before anyone says it, I already know what most of you are thinking – ‘That’s easier said than done’. And you’d be right but that doesn’t mean more ABCers should not be choosing it, or at least giving it a real go. However, I’m not about to proselytize or waste oxygen talking the talk. On the contrary, if I think it’s such a good idea then I should be prepared to give it a go myself. And that’s exactly what I intend doing.
For a would be poet that means getting a track record with the more reputable literary magazines before trying to get an agent or a publisher interested in a collection. Which leads me to my first problem. Having reread them all, none of my poems (and I’ve got hundreds) are good enough. I’ll have to start from scratch and build up a brand new collection of unpublished poems (that will have to be better than anything I’ve so far written) and start submitting.
Obviously this isn’t going to take place overnight – in fact it may never take place at all. There are things I need to have in place; three things I need to be doing:
- reading more high quality contemporary poetry (the more the better – currently I’m reading Norman MacCaig)
- keeping a notebook and writing in it two or three times a day
- subscribing to some poetry / literary magazines and researching the market
I have already started of course (the notebooks and the reading bit), though it will be a little while longer before I start submitting anything. I’ll give it twelve months and see where things are.
So until then, I must take my leave. I’ll still be popping in and out of ABC and maybe commenting or even posting once in a while. And if I have any successes you’ll be amongst the first to know.