It Has Finally Happened
For over 55 years, I have delved, looked into, wondered and written about many things. From a birth to death, from love to hate, sadness to joy, and all points that intersect.
I have written so much, offered up advice to other writer's on how to publish, how to better their own writing, while all during this time, I kept my own writing, so to speak in the background, and for the longest time, unwilling to put myself out there for the world to see, other than here on Prose.
Today, that all comes to a screeching halt.
I have now officially put one of my collections of poetry on a website that distributes to several store fronts for sale. Scattered Thoughts, although it isn't the same Scattered Thoughts I am doing here (I have three Scattered Thoughts collections, hopefully that will take care of any confusion).
I have to give kudo's to a couple people, one being TW, for telling me about D2D (Draft to Digital). The site is easy to navigate and my collection, withiin less than 24 hours was listed with five store fronts. And will more than likely have more added by days end, and the days ahead.
Two others, Voidkin_Killer (who did the design cover for all the Scattered Thoughts and EstherFlowers1 for her contribution ... I couldn't have done this without your help.
So now, it's official, after probably writing a billion or more words in my lifetime (that's just a guess, don't take me literally), I can now say I am a published author.
Over the course of the next three months, I will put up the remaining Scattered Thoughts, as well as a collection of short stories and the first book of my Evil Series. From there it will vary as to what I will submit and when.
It's a good feeling and now comes my shameless plug.
If you like what I write, then I am sure you will like what is in this collection. It's only $2.99. This is the link and right now you have several options with whch store front to purchase from. That can all be found here: https://books2read.com/u/bpzXMk
So I say to all of you writer's and poet's, if you have ever had the thought to make a dream you have come true, this is one of those times when you can finally crosss that threshold and make it a reality. This link can change your life, or at least get you started in the direction you have privately thought about. https://www.draft2digital.com/
And while writing this two more store fronts have been added.
Life suddenly became better.
Breathe, won’t you breathe
through the cold, and through the frost?...
Watch your breath form, and freeze
until forever it is lost.
Breathe, won’t you breathe
at the start of every day?...
Stretching out your aching limbs...
Chasing all cobwebs away!
Breathe, won’t you breathe
after mounting that high hill?...
Pa and Ma are so impressed
by your undisputed skill!
Breathe, won’t you breathe
through the lungs when you’re knocked down?...
Life can be a constant test,
it can topple off your crown...
Breathe, won’t you breathe,
flying high up on your swing?...
Your brilliant smile lights the stars,
and it makes the playful sparrows sing!
Breathe, won’t you breathe
laughing with a new found friend...
Stolen moments seize our lives,
forcing time to suspend.
Previously Published Work
In the prior two posts (links below), we talked about where you can get short stories and poetry published, each with a how-to.
This, the third and last installment, will answer questions of what constitutes material published before, including Prose.
It is common practice for journals and literary agents to reject previously published writing, but what exactly does “previously published” mean? Why are most literary agents and editors unwilling to take a chance on work that has already appeared elsewhere? When is it appropriate to submit previously published work?
There has been a lot of questions/concerns lately about posting work online and can it be considered as previously published by an editor/publishing firm. After doing some research, I’ve come up with this. It should answer any and all questions or concerns you have.
This should be of concern for anyone on Prose contemplating getting their work into print. I would also ask that when you read this, repost it so others on Prose can see this. I’m not concerned about anyone liking this as most of you normally would when you read.
I would also advise anyone who finds this interesting to either bookmark this page or print it out for future reference.
1) The definition of previously published:
Back when print publishing was the sole option for sharing work, previously published was a black-and-white term. If your poems, stories, or essays appeared in a book, journal, anthology, textbook, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, or any other publication, your work was considered published. If it didn’t, it wasn’t. Simple. But now, more complicated questions arise.
2) Previously published poems, stories, and essays:
Literary journals don’t want previously published writing because editors want to ensure that their publications are fresh, new, and unique. In other words, editors want to be first to discover your writing. Also, editors would prefer to stay away from any rights entanglements.
3) Is work considered previously published if posted on a blog, web site, large social-networking site, or online literary journal?
If you’ve posted your writing on any of the above sites, it is generally considered previously published.
4) Is my work considered previously published if posted in a writing forum or web board?
If the forum or web board is private and intended for the purposes of encouraging feedback or community support, then most editors and literary agents will consider the work unpublished. But just in case, you may want to take it down once you’ve received feedback, so it doesn’t appear online.
If the forum in question is public (that is, if nonmembers can see what you’ve written), then your work will likely be considered previously published.
5) Is a hard copy self-published book considered previously published for the purpose of finding a literary agent?
The subtext of the question above is: “Can I pitch my self-published book to literary agents?” If you’ve published a book or novel on your own or with a third-party POD publishing house, and you still retain the copyright, you can pitch it to most literary agents. That said, always be forthcoming about your book’s history.
6) Is a self-published book offered in electronic format considered previously published?
The majority of literary agents are willing to consider a book that has been published electronically (published in a digital, nonprint format) as long as the author holds all rights. However, you may need to remove your book from online bookstores and take your book down from the Internet.
7) If I publish an excerpt from my book online or in print, does that mean the work is considered previously published?
Generally speaking, it’s okay to publish excerpts online, as long as they are on the short side (relative to the work in question). Be sure you maintain the copyright if you’re going to publish a portion of your book prior to publishing the whole thing! Otherwise you could end up publishing your book, minus your previously published first chapter!
8) The flip side: Publishing your work online can be beneficial.
The Internet can be a wonderful resource, especially for those who don’t have critique groups or workshops available in their area. Unfortunately, very talented writers who just happened to workshop their writing online are getting caught in the cross fire between editors, agents, and the rapidly evolving question of “What is previously published writing?”
There are journal editors and literary agents who don’t really care about work published on small Web sites. Did you put a story up on a message board for critique? Have you posted a chapter of your manuscript on your blog? As long as the work isn’t plagiarized from someone else, some literary agents and editors don’t mind if the writing has appeared online.
But until the industry fully adjusts to the presence of the Internet, many literary agents and editors are going to simply reject work they consider to be previously published. At this point, the best option for writers is to play it safe until the rules become clearer.
I would like to point out Previously Published is about its availability to the public, not whether you got paid for it. It is not published (available to the public) if you give paper or electronic copies to people you trust to not send it around. If you post it on a website for strangers to read it, talk about it, praise it, or condemn it, you should tell any agent or publisher or you are lying to them, and they will then be influenced by what happened there.
9) What if I published my work on my blog or other Web site, but then I take it down before submitting it—is that considered previously published?
This can be tricky. Try not to publish your work online if you plan to submit it elsewhere (like print journals). If you did post online, no one can stop you from taking your work down and then submitting it, but be warned: Editors may not like this tactic.
Once your work is removed from the Internet, do a search of random lines from the work to make sure it is not appearing anywhere.
(Warning: Google and other search engines will often archive old web pages, so simply deleting something from the Web doesn’t mean it’s gone). If an editor finds your “unpublished” work online, you might look irresponsible or, worse, devious.
10) If I publish an excerpt online, does that mean the whole work or part of the work is considered previously published?
Generally speaking, excerpts are okay to publish online, as long as they are on the short side (relative to the work in question).
11) Previously published novels and books:
The rules for determining what is previously published change when you move into the book-publishing business. Literary agents and publishers at traditional publishing houses have different expectations and goals than editors of literary magazines, so the concept of what it means to be previously published can shift.
It’s no secret that literary agents are keen marketing experts. The success of their business relies almost entirely on their ability to find and represent books that are not only well-written but also potentially lucrative. Because of this, work that is available online can sometimes be unappealing for a number of reasons. First, if the book is already being published and the writer is making money, the agent is cut out of those profits. Second, if a book is posted online as a free download, why would readers pay to read it?
The laws (and the industry jargon) are still trying to catch up to the technology. Keep in mind that the following points are general guidelines: Each literary agent or editor may have his or her own definition of what is considered previously published.
With that said, always, always, always ... ask for their guidelines. Guidelines are a must. If their guidelines are online, read tham over carefully.
If a publisher puts out mystery novels and you have a western, though it isn't a good fit, you may find their guidelines have something in there about future publications that is looking for a western. But never ever never send a manuscript blindly just because it's the best thing since the creation of chocolate. It'll get 86'd (trashed) faster than you can blink an eye. This is why reading the guidelines are important.
This is all need to know stuff ... some of it are basics, others require a writer to be in the know, and I also advise keeping up with changing trends.
My Creative Writing book/chapter link lists last known small print/magazine publishers.
Looking For A Publisher II: Your Poetry
A short while back, I listed publishers for novel submissions which pretty much covered where to submit your work.
This time around, the focus is on poetry.
First, I want to debunk a myth. Granted, you will never become wealthy writing poetry, but you can make a decent living from it. A Poet, Lyricist or Creative Writer can get an average wage ranging between $48,000 to $72,000 based on tenure—just don’t expect that kind of money right away. It takes time, perseverance, and patience, yet alone writing some of the best damn poetry on the planet.
Now, you think, wow—that’s more money than I make now, but keep in mind all the expenses, bills, rent, food, hospital bills, car and gas allowance and incidentals—well, it doesn’t last long.
My advice: self-publish.
Thankfully, self-published books have a much, much higher royalty rate than traditional publishers because you get to keep anywhere from 50—70% of your book’s profits. With a traditional publisher, they take much more, and you only end up with 10% maybe 12% after years of proving yourself as an author.
But let’s say you are ready to submit your work finally. Another bit of advice: their guidelines on what they expect. Do they want to see a completed poetry book(65—110 pages)? A chapbook (20—50 pages)? Perhaps only submit 2-3 pieces? They may have a specific agenda or a specific theme each month?
It is never and I highlight—never a good idea to submit something to a publisher you have not looked into first. To not do so first, will practically kill your chances of just not being published but also where an editor won’t even take the time to read what you submitted. Research them, find out what they like, what they print, what they want.
Later on, I will have a post on previously published work, but for now, I want to share with you a dozen of the best places to submit your work—but remember, research them, get their guidelines, ask them questions.
Keep in mind one thing: be it poetry, short story, or a novel, each time something you write goes into print, like a job, you are building a resume. The more this happens, the better off you will be, when possibly one day down the road, you strike the moment you have been waiting for to have that novel or collection of poetry listed on the New York Times Best Seller’s List.
Thrush Poetry Journal is a bimonthly publication of “eclectic, moving, surprising” poetry. Named after the thrush, a bird with “the most beautiful voice in the world,” the magazine sponsors poets both new and established — just let your poems sing.
3Elements Literary Review posts a call for submissions each quarter. All poems have to involve the three elements that the journal chooses; as an example, from the Summer of 2020, the elements were “trapeze, pinprick, calico.” 3Elements publishes poems that combine these elements in effective and unusual ways, and this publication provides a great and challenging prompt.
Poetry has never been nerdier than over at FreezeRay. This journal specializes in pop culture poetry, publishing anything inspired by modern media, making it a unique place to submit poetry online. From video games to horror to modern film, let today’s media landscape prompt you into writing FreezeRay’s next great poetry feature.
Barren Magazine publishes monthly issues of literature in all genres. Their preferences lean toward poetry that is introspective, original, and participates in a larger literary conversation. Barren also puts out a fun selection of merchandise and has plans for future online poetry and fiction contests.
Ghost City Review, an offshoot of Ghost City Press, is regularly accepting poetry submissions from new and established writers. Their tastes are eclectic and embrace both the contemporary and the experimental. Ghost City also sponsors the literary community and remains active in uplifting other publications and keeping money inside the publishing world, so be sure to check out their online poetry submissions process as well as their free e-book series.
Rising Phoenix Review loves poetry that is “visceral” with “stunning, concrete imagery.” Their tastes lean toward the contemporary, sponsoring poetry that uplifts diverse voices and imagines a better world. They are an offshoot of Rising Phoenix Press, which occasionally publishes poetry chapbooks as well.
Eunoia Review may be the fastest poetry journal on the internet, as it responds to all submissions within 24 hours. Their poetry tastes range from the eclectic to the storytelling, and they are always open for online poetry submissions.
Little Death Lit puts out quarterly publications with unique themes. They enjoy poetry that is macabre and gothic, as well as poems that are unconventional and play with the quarterly prompt. This is a great journal for seeing and interacting with new and emerging voices in poetry.
Palette Poetry is among the best places to submit poetry online because it has options for everyone. For published writers seeking to highlight their already published work, Palette Poetry offers a “Previously Published Poem Prize.” Out of the poetry magazines that pay, Palette Poetry has the biggest pay-out, with first place being a whopping $2,500 cash prize plus publication; second place being a $300 cash prize plus publication; and third place being a $200 cash prize plus publication.
For experienced, unpublished writers, Palette regularly features poems online, and for those who are able to become “partner poets,” there is a $50 to $150 payout per poem. Palette also hosts a “Community Feedback Monthly Editorial” which gives new and experienced writers an opportunity to engage with—and get extremely valuable feedback from other poets.
Rattle: Poetry is another great poetry magazine that pays. The journal puts out several popular contests and publication opportunities, including a monthly ekphrastic challenge, a weekly news-writing challenge, and an annual best poem prize. Payouts range from anywhere between $50-$200; if you’re the lucky winner of the Rattle Poetry Prize, this year’s payout is $15,000.
Wildness Journal, an offshoot of Platypus Press, publishes a quarterly journal for well-crafted, mystifying poems. Their tastes lean toward the highly literary, preferring works that are inventive and well-constructed. In addition to its journal for online poetry submissions, Platypus Press also publishes poetry manuscripts of at least 35 pages in length.
The Adroit Journal’s mission is to sponsor the next generation of poets, so their resources are often dedicated to youth poets and college-age writers. They seek works that are bold, eclectic, obscure, and daring. In addition to their poetry publications, The Adroit Journal also offers scholarships and awards for young and emerging writers.
This is a late addition but was referred to me by MountCarnelPub (a Proser) but instead of an explanation, you can go right to their website to view the opportunities made available. https://www.awpwriter.org/
You will find helpful tips for just about any of your needs. Keep in mind that the best ammunition you can have is information to strengthen your dedication to writing at AWP.
Now once more, a quick review of what you need to do.
It’s good practice to read what the journal has published in the past. Though many online poetry journals accept a wide range of styles and forms, poetry editors still have preferences for what kind of poetry they like to read and publish. Examine the journal’s past publications with a critical eye, and consider whether or not your poem fits among the journal’s ranks.
When poetry magazines accept online submissions, they often include formatting guidelines alongside their submission rules. It’s best to follow these guidelines, as well as general MLA formatting rules. Use 1-inch margins, a 12-point serif font, and double space stanzas. Taking the time to properly format demonstrates a seriousness about your poetry, whereas unformatted poems may not receive proper attention.
The journal’s reader is looking for something that grabs their attention right away. A well-titled poem with a stand-out first line will be far more eye-catching than an untitled poem with a slow start. Remember, the reader goes through hundreds of submissions every month, so poetry submissions should stand out from the beginning.
The publishing world is tough, fast, and competitive. The internet has expanded poetry’s readership and writership; this is a good thing, but with so many other voices, it can be hard to know where to submit your poetry to add your voice to the conversation. You may encounter one rejection, five rejections, or fifty rejections before you find a home for your poem. Don’t let this deter you.
Often, a rejection of your poetry submission has nothing to do with the quality of your work. Rather, poetry editors have a limited amount of space per publication, and they look to publish poems that, when read together, create a bigger conversation. A rejection can simply mean your poems didn’t work for that month’s issue, for reasons completely out of your control.
Finally, poetry journals are subjective in their treatment of the poetry submissions they receive. After all, journals are run by humans, and although many humans try to be objective in their tastes and preferences, objectivity is impossible in the arts. Don’t think of a rejection letter as a “rejection.” Think of it as follows:
There are other places to submit poetry, and there is a better home for my poetry.
I do hope this helps you.
Previous post mentioned: https://theprose.com/post/400622/looking-for-a-publisher
My Creative Writing book/chapter link: https://theprose.com/post/229114/creative-writing-phase-fourteen (lists last known small print/magazine publishers)
Looking For A Publisher?
I have scoured the Internet to bring you what I feel is a quality list of publishers for those of you who are ready, or near-ready to submit and have your manuscript published. I have omitted those who are either out of business or no longer taking submissions. None of these will charge you a penny to have your book put to print.
Black and White Publishing
What they publish:
commercial women’s fiction (chick lit, saga, romance)
crime and psychological thriller
children’s fiction and Young Adult
sport (UK and Ireland in particular)
humor, gift, and activity books
food and drink
Chicago Review Press
They are interested in publishing high-quality nonfiction that will sell year after year. They look for books with a well-defined, passionate target audience.
Chronicle Books publishes an eclectic mixture of traditional and innovative children’s books. We are looking for projects that have a unique bent—be it in subject matter, writing style, or illustrative technique—and that will lend our list a distinctive flair. We are interested in fiction and nonfiction books for children of all ages, as well as board books, decks, activity kits, and other unusual or “novelty” formats.
On the Adult Trade side, we publish a wide range of books, stationery, kits, calendars, and novelty formats. Our list includes cookbooks, fine art, design, photography, pop culture, craft, fashion, beauty, home décor, relationships, lifestyle, and innovative formats such as interactive journals, kits, decks, stationery, and much more.
They have been around forever. They are exclusive to the science fiction/fantasy genre.
Felony and Mayhem Press
They publish mystery fiction for adults.
They are always on the lookout for strikingly unconventional manuscripts and book proposals. A well-written novel with an off-the-wall editorial premise? That’s Quirk. A playful cookbook or craft book with cool photography or crazy illustrations? That’s Quirk, too. They publish across a broad range of categories—always with the goal of delivering innovative books to discerning readers.
Put more simply, they publish books that are smart, original, cool, and fun.
Source Books – Casablanca Imprints
They are actively acquiring agented and unagented Romance fiction for their Casablanca imprint. They are looking for strong writers who are excited about marketing their books and building their community of readers, and whose books have something fresh to offer in the genre of Romance.
Relatively new (started in 2018), they appear to have a lot to offer. Sadly, they have not been taking new submissions since 2019 other than to Black writer’s as it states on their webpage, but I put this here as a reminder to you, that they do offer updates on their website and appear upbeat and positive.
They are primarily considering novel-length works in any speculative fiction genre including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other sub-genres, but we’re also open to other works of interest to the community of science fiction/fantasy readers.
Also, in my book, Creative Writing, I give a list of other publishers and where to find their guidelines. You can find that here:
If you found this interesting and/or helpful, I can continue this at a future date.
The Fisherman by Boudin
Fairish man waitin’...
On the hawkish and dreary shore
Only God knows wen...fish begin a’baitin’...
Always looking serenely with much adore!
The Fisherman by Troyon
Through the sullied clouds...the man stands
Gods imagining of open, dehiscent hands
The fisherman abates...clouds splitin’
Heavens holy gate illumina’tin’
On the rocky, gagged shores...man’s sufferance
The utopia of Greek Isles, givin’ no utterance
Contact me when your book launches
Let me help you get the word out about your new novel. Send me your name, title & launch date 4-6 weeks early. I’ll post it on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jslstories
“No charge; no promises.” — j.s.lamb
PS-1: Also give me your Twtter name so I can follow you and vice versa.
PS-2: Please share.
Letters to a Courageous Coward Part 1
January 12, 2018
What's your name? I don't think you'll like me calling you soldier. It's kinda weird. Like it could be anyone, not just you. There's lots of Soldiers...
My name is Emily, but you can call me Em. I don't mind. It's only a name after all. Only a title you'll use until the end then you'll get a new one. I wonder what mine will be...
My doctor said that this would be good for me. Fun too. I think it will. Exciting even to read about what the war is really like not just its righteous or they're brave. I want to hear about the fears the overcomings.
Your suppose to write about what it's like fighting in the war. It scary, right? You must be brave. Or maybe just stupid.
What do you aim for? What are your wishes? Why do you fight? What do you get in return?
I'm suppose to write about my life as well but I don't wanna do that. I don't really like doing what I'm suppose to do. So I'll write my stories instead.
In my stories, my name is something cool. Like Serenity or Grace. I don't like those. They're normal and normal is boring. Those names are black and white and I'd much rather like a name with color.
So my name will be Anarchy, it fits me, my life, my thoughts, just right. Not black and white but a bright crimson red mixed with yellow and orange. Like fire.
Have you ever been scared of anything? I am. But not in my stories, in my stories I am fearless and naive. Because if I knew nothing then I'd have nothing to be afraid of.
I've always associated the words brave and foolish as one of the same. Courageous and naive. A fool. To rush into the unknown without a clue what to do and how to do it.
I wish I was a fool like everyone else. My parents are fools. So are my doctors, nurses, and everyone else that comes into my room. Lucky them, those ignorant fools.
Are you a fool?
Or are you brave?
Till next time,
January 30, 2018
It would be weird to call me soldier. There's hundred of soldiers but then there's me. I wanna be different than all of them. I'm going to be a hero someday.
My name is Will. Will Lance. Just call me Lance.
My first day is in a week. Finally here in the glorious army. My old man was in the army you know. Fought for years. My destiny was set the moment I was declared a boy.
'That's my boy.' He'd say, 'that's my little soldier'. He'd brag about me to his friends and look at me with pride in his forest green eyes.
Now here I am, earning my badges and making my Dad proud. I made it here after finally getting my diploma from high school. If I can get through that I can get through anything.
The bus is very packed, lots of small town boys trying to be something. But I am going to be something. I'm gonna be someone. It's going to happen someday.
Blank terrain is the training arena. I just want to get to the exciting part. Taking down enemy soldiers and being a hero, you know?
Ma would've wanted this for me too. She's probably up there cheering me on. Just like always. She was beautiful you know, pretty blue eyes and red hair like mine. She always did cheer me on, always will.
There's not much to say just yet. We haven't done much. We signed up and waited for a day or two then we packed up and headed to the bus. We've stopped a few times but not very many.
To answer your question, I'm brave. The bravest of them all. One day I'll go home to Dad and show him all my medals and awards. They'd be saying 'War Hero' and 'Saved us All'!
I just can't wait until I go home and make my father proud. I think pride is the best present any man could earn. Because that's the one thing you can't be given but has to be earned.
I won't say much in my letters to begin with. I haven't got much to say just yet. But I will, just you wait. Just wait after I've earned my glory to take home to my Dad.
Pitmad is going on now for those that are interested. Good luck to all the writers that give it a try.
For those of you with a book looking for an agent #pitmad (Pitch Madness on Twitter) is September 7th. A chance to pitch your book to agents on Twitter using 140 characters or less. Check out the link for details.