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Ok, I would like to explain some truths about and Lulu and many other vanity publishers.

Vanity publishers have been around for many and many a year, they fulfill a great need in the publishing world, and nearly every politician on the planet uses vanity publishers, as well as ghost writers to get their ideas out. If anyone thinks these politicians write their own books, they need to go to Washington DC and if you are a decent writer, you can get many jobs ghost writing and that is a fact.

But about, it has been with us in various forms for many a year, and it is not about to go away anytime soon. Some writers hate it, but most writers of any level of intellegence use it to their advantage. ALMOST EVERY MAJOR WRITER ON THE PLANET got their start with or other vanity publishers, and that is also a fact.

I myself,even though I was selling poetry and fiction, used a couple of times, and yes I did order the book/annuals they sold, both I believe for $30.00. Each of the books was very well manufactured, some of the finest bound books and printed I have ever seen. They had hundreds of poems from unknown poets, I read both books, not cover to cover, but I read them a lot. They contain some of the finest poetry I have ever read, and were well worth the $30.00 to me. I still read both of them from time to time.

The idea, which is very simple and up front, is to have poets send in their poems, and they will publish it. They publish all of it they receive. Then they attempt to get the poets to purchase the books/annuals they publish. NOW WHO IN GODS WORLD AND IN THEIR RIGHT MIND is going to tell a poet their poem sucks, but please buy our book anyway? Only an idiot would even consider such honesty. It would be akin to Ligget and Myer telling people their cigarettes would give you cancer or CPOD and they will both kill you,, but please smoke anyway.

Oh yeh, the congress of the United States indeed did a deep investigation into, and in the end decided they indeed provided a greatly needed service to everyone except the cry babies.

I have to be honest in stating that I have NEVER READ A BAD POEM, I have read some I do not like, nor have I ever heard a bad song. Saying these things is just putting your best ignorance of public display, and there is NO DOUBT IN MY MIND ABOUT THIS FACT. Maybe you don't like such a poem, maybe you hate so and so song, but neither fact gives ANYONE the right to say it is not a good poem or a good song. I challange anyone to prove me wrong in these statements, you just can never do it. Never.

Fort Knox, KY

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The following comments are for "Vanity Press--How American Publishing Works"
by veebdosa

Here it is, Veeb
To quote Dave Mason: " there ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys, there's only you and me and we just disagree

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: November 24, 2011 )

surprise surprise!
In some regards - I agree with this article. I believe if it makes someone happy to be a chump then ... more power to them! How often are we frustrated by people's stupidity? Seen any reality shows lately? I'll take a book of badly written poems over that shlock any day ... why? Because I don't have it clogging my brainwaves everywhere I look!

So what if some people want to be told they're fabulous and will pay for the tributes? Like this doesn't happen in all manner of venues?

You can fool some of the people some of the time ... ... blah blah blah.

knock yourself out veebdosa ...

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: November 25, 2011 )

correction on quote
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)
16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: November 25, 2011 )

Quality will out
"I have to be honest in stating that I have NEVER READ A BAD POEM, I have read some I do not like, nor have I ever heard a bad song."

Obviously, you missed Leonard Nimoy singing "Bilbo Baggins."

( Posted by: Poeteye [Member] On: November 25, 2011 )

British Standards
"I have to be honest in stating that I have NEVER READ A GOOD POEM, I have read some I like, nor have I ever heard a good song."

Does this mean there is no Hot or Cold. Wet or Dry. Happy or Sad?

It supports my own theories that everything is only at best relevant to whatever standards are being applied...

Some are more easily pleased than others hahaha

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: November 25, 2011 )

Sideways agreement
Good topic...

In one way, I agree with you. In that poetry can be a very healthy outlet for emotion, there is no bad poetry. In that it is a way to reveal yourself to others, there is no bad poetry. In that it is a genuine expression of self, art, creativity and imagination, there is no bad poetry.

On the other hand, there are three ways, I believe, in which a poem can be "bad," and that a system or publication which rewards/praises it is therefore being less than helpful.

1. If a person is honestly desiring to improve his writing craft, there is absolutely no shame in writing bad poetry, acknowledging it as bad, and commenting on it as such. It is "bad" only in that the product (the final words of a specific piece) are seen to be less of a destination, and more as part of a process. Writing one really goo, powerful, meaningful poem that touches the minds and hearts of many will require the writing and dissection of dozens, if not hundreds, of bad ones. It is how we learn. In this case, if a poem is praised as being good -- not "this is a good effort" or "this step you're taking is an important one" -- but if the poem itself is said to be, as an end product, really worth reading/studying... you do a disservice to the poet. If someone is honestly trying to improve, denying helpful critique is, I think, cowardly and lazy. The problem is, that it is often hard to tell if someone really is desiring this kind of criticism, or if their poetry is, for them, a psychological or emotional outlet; in these cases, criticism of the poetry can be seen as being of the person. We are all often very connected to what we write, and writers who are young in their craft often have a hard time distancing the work from the ego. That's not a bad thing; it's just the way it is. In this case, it behooves the critic to make sure s/he is providing the kind of response that is most appropriate. I would never call any work here on "bad" in a derogatory way... that's not how we roll. But if someone honestly wants help to improve their writing, they need to acknowledge that any piece can benefit from help, and that any lifelong process of art is going to begin with results that are well shy of where they (hopefully) will end up.

2. If a publication (and I'm not saying does this... I don't know enough about it to comment) preys on the honest and naive emotions of writers/poets in order to sell them products... I find that unhelpful, bordering on distasteful. We are all adults here. We don't need a nanny system that keeps us from buying crap we don't need (I do it all the time). And we don't need someone to hold our hands every time we make a decision. That being said, if a publication convinces someone that their current efforts are publishable in a major, paid venue and that the vanity press is a good stepping stone... that can be a problem for two reasons. First, it is highly unlikely that their work will be read by the editors at established, paying journals. Second, by convincing a poet that their current work is of high-quality, they may dissuade them from taking the necessary (and often hard) steps and doing the work that really good writing requires.

3. If a less accomplished poem is held up as being good -- and by "good," let's simply say that it means "worth spending your time reading/studying" -- to other poets, it can provide a negative/bad example. There is a reason we study the greats in school and hold them up as great -- they are, frankly, better poets than their contemporaries whom we do not study. They said more interesting things, in more interesting ways, in deeper currents, and with greater artistry and craft. To suggest that the first poem of someone who is casually trying their hand at the craft is "as good" as Eliot's "The Wasteland" or Donne's "The Flea," is cultural relativism in the extreme. Is there value in that first poem? Yes. Should the young poet be helped, nurtured and praised for the effort? Yes. Should s/he be lauded for taking up a craft that is often difficult and rarely appreciated? Of course. But that first poem -- and many that come after it -- will only be "good" in that they are examplars of a journey, not anything close to a final destination.

Regardless of the feeling, good intention, emotion and love that goes into a poem, we must, at some level, honor the idea that some work is more thoughtful, deep, meaningful, communicative, lyrical and beautiful than others. If not, then a random set of comments, plucked from YouTube and rearranged, is as much "poetry" as the work of our greatest luminaries. I can't believe that. Partly because it seems inherently bizarre. And partly because it minimizes the hard work that many writers -- including many on this site -- have put into their craft over hundreds of poems and decades of effort.

No... there is no "bad poem" in that there is no bad impetus to poetry. But we, and our writing, deserve better than to rank every poem as "wonderful" and worthy of study. It cheapens us and it cheapens the efforts of even the very newest, greenest poet. We deserve our own best efforts, and we deserve the respect that comes with working to make any good effort into a truly good final product.

( Posted by: andyhavens [Member] On: November 27, 2011 )

Vanity press
Ah, yes.Vanity press. I did one of those a few years back. For $20 I got my poem in a book, and for only an extra $10, I got a cassette with about 15 poems on it being read out loud - naturally my poem was on there.

To say there is something wrong with vanity press is to say there is something wrong with vanity as a whole. To get rid of the press, you might as well get rid of all forms of makeup, mirrors, and flashy cars.

People spend money on the things that make them feel good, no matter the form. Vanity press not only helps the individual feel good, but in the case of poetry collections will introduce people to alternate ways of writing (as the author mentioned.)

The only thing to worry about with vanity press is if people get addicted. I can see someone spending their rent money, or food money on that "one last issue", hoping to get discovered. Only then is vanity press a poor option.

( Posted by: scherecwich [Member] On: November 30, 2011 )

Right on Andy!
That's exactly what I was trying to say in the original thread that started this discussion...but you said it so much better!!!

I was targeting young students, who when published in these venues,decide there is no need for further study, and their teachers don't recognize their talents...look...I've been PUBLISHED...I'm a poet!!


( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: December 1, 2011 )

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