Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Poets & Writers

Publishing Poetry

When I published my poetry book, I didn’t expect many people would buy it (same with my novel); so, I have them both available in free editions, along with the ones folks can buy.

Publishing Poetry

Image Courtesy of Ulrik De Wachter ~

Basically, I don’t see giving my books away as some marketing ploy (though, some of the “experts” claim it helps sell books)—I just hope folks will read them

Yesterday, my Best Friend sent me a link for possible use on this blog—Manic D Press Gives Poetry an Address.

I’d already found an address for my poetry at FastPencil Press; but, this blog isn’t just about what I do in my writing career :-)

The article in Poets & Writers begins with:

In 1984, after being told by a New York literary agent, ‘Take up stamp collecting. No one publishes poetry anymore…. Shakespeare probably couldn’t get published today’, poet Jennifer Joseph decided to self-publish her poetry collection as the first title from San Francisco–based Manic D Press. ‘I wanted my poems to have a place to live’, Joseph says. ‘They needed their own address where they could be found in the future.’”

The article continues with:

“Over thirty years later, Manic D Press, run by Joseph and a handful of interns, is still publishing the work of ‘those who have been shunned by the traditional publishing establishment for lacking commercial viability.’”

Manic D publishes six to ten titles of poetry a year; plus, fiction, nonfiction, cultural studies, children’s books, graphic novels, humor, and art and music books.

Here are the Submission Guidelines for Manic D Press.

And, here is an interesting note from those Guidelines:

“The best way to learn if it’s worth your time and energy to submit your writing is to READ THE BOOKS WE’VE ALREADY PUBLISHED…” :-)

I’l finish this post with a link to Poets & Writers Database of Small Presses.
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Writers & Money ~ What A Lovely Affair

Are you a writer?

Do you know one?

Are they rich?

So much these days in the press about writers and money

I published a post back in 2011 called, Simple Question ~ Can Writers Make Money?, and said that it depends on what kind of writer you are

So, for instance, a writer who wants to devote their life to fiction but would like to make more money might want to consider freelancing in some form of reality-article hacking

As far as fiction writers achieving monetary success, in the past post, What Are A Writer’s Odds of “Success”?, I said:

“Who made it seem success wasn’t merely the next stage, from which further action becomes possible, but rather a pinnacle of achievement that leaves all other contenders breathless on the sides of the conquered mountain? So, who did that? Business people? Fundamentalist religious folk? Football coaches?”

But, in spite of the slim odds of fiction writers having a string of blockbusting books, they can, by working very hard, make some decent money.

And, thanks to my Best Friend‘s gentle reminders, I’ll share some resources from one of her favorite sites.

It’s Poets & Writers, been around since 1970, and their mandate is to serve poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers.

And, even though you could take that last link and find what they call “Tools for Writers”, let me put the links right here :-)

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The Very Best Way To Learn To Be A Writer?

I’ll answer the question in that title up there at the end of the post

On the way to answering it, I’ll give you a few ways to tap into what this blog has said about the issue in its nearly three years of publication.

First, click on this link writing advice  :-)

The next way would be to look toward the top right of this blog and find the search box—then, type in the words “how to write<— or, click that link—or, put some other phrase in the search box that more nearly describes what you want to know

If you’d like to hear from an archetypical aspiring writer who’s reaching out for help, try this particular post:

Letter from A Neglected Writer

Or, if you’d like my opinion on books about how to write, try this post:

Learning How To Be An Author Means Much More Than Reading About How To Write

And, even though I feel there’s much more to learning to write than reading about how to learn to write, my Best Friend gave me a link to a great place to find books on the subject—as of this writing, 139 books:

Poets & Writers Best Books for Writers

So, my answer to the question in the title of this post?

Go ahead and read a few books about writing—read as many as it takes to get tired of reading about how to write.

Then, write—then, write—then, write

And, while doing all that writing, read some of the best writers you can find—but, don’t read what they said about how to write—read their novels or short stories or poetry

And, finally, write
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Select as many as you like:


Inspiration for Writers ~ How Do YOU Find It?

inspiration for writers To In-Spire—To Breathe Into

All but the most hackneyed writing needs inspiration.

Where do writers find it?

Some still attribute it to a “Muse”—“the (legendary) source of inspiration for a creative artist”.

Some claim a few bottles of beer is just the ticket.

Last July I published the post, What Are The Best Books for Writers?; but, I’m not saying books are the best source of inspiration, though authors like Stephen King do recommend reading as training for writing; although, not reading books about writing. :-)

The reason I mentioned that previous post was to recall my recommending one of my best friend’s favorite magazines—Poets & Writers.

Poets & Writers has a fascinating space called Writers Recommend.

Here’s what they say about it:

“In this online exclusive we ask authors to share books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired them in their writing. We see this as a place for writers to turn to for ideas that will help feed their creative process.”

As of this post, there are 187 entries

I’ll give you some snippets from the first 10:

“Like lots of fiction writers, I rely on research to reduce the odds of embarrassing myself….Research gives you the chance to be a magpie, spotting those irresistibly shiny bits and pieces.”

“I love big cities for the energy, the people-watching, the access to art and culture, the ability to feel anonymous. But I also need a daily ‘forest bath,’ as the Japanese call it.”

“On Saturdays I go look at art, partly because I wish I had become a visual artist. I’m not looking for narrative work, just powerful images that will push me out of my storytelling head.”

“My list of creativity-stimulators is long. It includes coffee, meditation, a giant hula-hoop, a standing desk, Salter, Duras, Eliot (George), Milton, Carson, Robinson, Hazzard, Gardam, Bishop, Munro, Arvo Pärt, Bach, Tristan und Isolde, baby-hugs, my gigantic compendium of Shakespeare’s plays, dogs (when I have one), weeping, naps, and gratitude.”

“I recommend getting to know the time of day when you write best and guard it as zealously as possible.”

“Mary Shelley and Louise Bourgeois. All I have to do, and I could do this every day of my writing life for the rest of my life, is open up Frankenstein to any page, or open up my book of Louise Bourgeois drawings, and my gut-heart-strum is activated.”

“Viewing visual art—works that deal with ripping off the polite skin of society—stimulates me.”

“Before I was a writer, I was a traveler; as it turned out, almost all of my stories (and unfinished novels, and bad poems, and personal essays) evolved from journeying away from home.”

“I listen to music (with lyrics!) when I write, and I often need coffee and chocolate to get me into the chair. There’s all that, yes. But at the risk of sounding like an Om-loving yoga teacher, I have to admit that, lately, what’s inspired me to write is feeling grateful.”

“When it comes to inspiration, I’m an omnivore, an art whore: I’ll take it wherever I can get it.”

So, each of those 10 writers has more to say about inspiration, if you take that link to Writers Recommend, and there are 177 more entries :-)

Go check it out—take a few days or weeks to consider all the experience they share

Then, come back and let us know what you most appreciated in our Comments.

Or, don’t go there and just share YOUR favorite form of writing-inspiration in the Comments.

OR, do both! :-)
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Literary Magazines On Twitter

My best friend is a true fan of Poets & Writers magazine.

Here’s what they say about themselves:

“Poets & Writers, Inc., is the primary source of information, support, and guidance for creative writers. Founded in 1970, it is the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers.”

And, here’s their Twitter address: @pwlitmagster

Some folks might think it strange to direct those who explore literary magazines to their Twitter stream—being literary in 140 characters?

Here’s what Poets & Writers says:

“If you’re looking for news from the literary magazine universe, these twenty-five feeds offer frequent updates about the writing they’re publishing, the events they’re hosting, and the news they find interesting.”

And, before I list those feeds, I’ll urge you to go to P&W’s article, Twenty-Five Literary Magazine Twitter Feeds to Follow, to read their descriptions of these magazines; though, some of you might want to just click the first link in each pair of links below and explore the magazines’ sites before signing up to their Twitter feed with the @-link :-)

A Public Space

Black Clock




Electric Literature



Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts

Hayden’s Ferry Review

Indiana Review

InDigest Magazine

Kenyon Review

Narrative Magazine

New England Review

Oxford American


Prairie Schooner

The Believer

The Missouri Review

The Paris Review

Tin House


Virginia Quarterly Review


I’d love to hear about your explorations in the Comments :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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