Next Year’s Judge, Prof. & Poet, Ms. Lucille Clifton
(Drop her a line, someone? Pass the link on below.)
Well, with one press in particular. Anyone have similar experiences with contests and publishing? Consider an excerpt from the account of Stacey Lynn Brown:
“Anyway, back to my story. Everything was hunky dory with this press, though I was a little surprised and disappointed that I didn’t get one single editorial suggestion from the editor and, in fact, that I had to do the majority of both my own editing as well as the editing for the book as a whole. At last count, I had found and corrected 32 errors–only 3 of which were mine. The other errors were ones made by the editor–jagged margins, dropped italics, misspelled words. But I didn’t mind doing the editing. After all, this was my book, and I wanted it to be right…
But it gets even better.
The letter went on to say that even though they had “revoked” the book award and were not publishing the book, the publishing contract was still valid and in effect and that they owned the rights to my book in all its formats. In order for me to get my rights back, I had to repay them the $1000 prize money I had been given as well as give them the $200 they had spent acquiring the cover art for a book THEY were choosing not to publish.
In short, they were breaching the contract, refusing to publish my book, and holding the rights to my own work hostage.”
And Brown’s nightmare with Cider Press Review continues here. Read on. I would just add that I have enjoyed working with very small presses for my poetry. The editors care (they’re sure not in it for the “money”!) and have religiously worked with me along the way so that I am satisfied with the presentation of my work in the world. Not that I wouldn’t give a larger press a whirl, but so far, my needs have been met, thankfully. And I appreciate folks like Brown sharing such stories so that, wherever I go next, I am warned and aware.
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.