Category Archives: blog

The Death of PunksWritePoemsPress

As our second year as a publisher comes to a close, and after much internal debating, I have decided to close down PunksWritePoemsPress. The experience of working on our books and getting to know the authors in the process has been a positive and rewarding one for me, but the time, energy, and money required to properly continue is too great for me to handle.

Book listings on Amazon will remain through January 2017. Our online bookstore is already closed.

Thank you to everyone who supported us!

Be well and have a successful 2017!

Recommended Reading: creepy little death poems

0921160659creepy little death poems (Dreality Press) is a quick, quirky collection of poems by Tiffany Tang. On the surface they are witty and funny, and could easily have crossed the line into gimmicky, but they never do! The use of Death as a character in everyday situations works amazingly well. Tang writes each piece as a separate anecdote with Death playing the role of friend/partner. They bake cookies together, write poetry about one another, and tour art museums. But nothing about any of that is normal, despite how relatable the conversations they have are. And that is where these poems really work…that uncomfortable subsurface of trying to function during the commonplace with depression as your faithful companion.

One of the heavier poems in the book is “20”. And it is the one that drives home the idea that while there may be lots of laughs before and after, there was a moment when things changed. There was a moment when death became Death.

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Have no doubt, this is a book about depression. An excellent book of poetry that will make you smile and laugh, and frown and think. So what are you waiting for? Go get it!

You say “Exposure” like it’s a Dirty Word

To make a living as a writer is near impossible and it’s not because publishers are tyrants bent on stealing your words for filthy lucre. It’s simply economics. And to stand firm on the “pay the damned writer” side of the current “should writers get paid?” argument shows a general lack of common sense. I understand where this has come from, so before you bring up Harlan Ellison and Wil Wheaton, let’s establish that we all agree that a company that is turning over consistent profit on the strength of the creative content they publish should pay the people who have created that content.

Every writer needs to draw a line for themselves.

Every publisher needs to do the same.  

As a writer, if I want to get paid for every piece of my creative output that gets published, then I need to seek out the publishers and lit journals that pay their contributors in cold, hard cash. These markets will have higher circulations and lower acceptance rates, and my writing, as well as my projected public self, will need to be professional-level all the time. In the process, I will eschew the vast majority of online journals and many of the well-established university-affiliated journals. If, however, I understand that exposure won’t pay the rent but that’s okay, then I have a much broader marketplace to work within. Sometimes I will get paid. Sometimes I won’t. I maintain control of what markets I want to support. I can submit to a free online journal just as easily as I can throw a middle finger at Ploughshares. Point being: not all paying markets are advantageous and not all non-paying markets are scrubs. In any event, the decision is wholly the writer’s. I have to decide what is best for me and my goals as a writer, and choose where I submit accordingly.

As a publisher, I have to decide if I can pay for the content that I’m asking for and adjust my publications accordingly. This is something that I have recently struggled with, but to maintain the integrity of the company, decisions had to be made. In the case of RoguePoetry Review, the decision has been made to switch it from a print only book to a free online magazine. The driving reason behind the decision? We could not afford to pay for the content, so we should not be selling the content. So that is our line. We pay our writers for single author collections. We are paying the writers and cover artist in Don’t Open Till Doomsday.

Let’s see if we can straighten this all out now. A writer who gets paid is not necessarily a better writer than one who doesn’t. A market that pays is not necessarily a better market than one that doesn’t. It’s all about where you–be you writer or publisher–draw your lines and what your goals are. So can we stop with the condescension? Can we try supporting our literary communities instead?

Another Crazy Idea…or, Scindie Magazine: In the Shower

Sometimes when I’m in the shower, I stand for long pauses letting the water hit that spot on my neck just below my hairline and I zone out. I don’t lose time, but the only way I can estimate how long I’m out is by gauging how much colder the water has gotten since my skin last sent a single that my brain received. While I’m in this pose, naked and wet and warm, head slightly bowed, I have some of my oddest thoughts. Not like “wouldn’t a miniature pink and green swirled elephant be a totally bizarre thing ” kind of odd thoughts. More like life choices and career choices and story ideas. I’ve often composed entire poems in these moments and then desperately tried to make some record of them before they get lost in the ever-changing maze in my head.

I decided to self-publish a book while in the shower and even gave it a title. Soon after I was arranging spoons on the kitchen counter and taking photos of them.

I came up with the concept for This Is Not a Movement in the shower.

In my birthday suit, I made the decision to start a publishing company.

Concepts for Split 7″ (a novella project that did not work…yet) and Don’t Open Till Doomsday and Melee came to me then, as well.

I even proposed to my wife in the shower…not really! But I did make the decision to do it while showering.

Point is: I’ve learned to trust these moments. To go with them and see what comes out of it.

So the other day, I zoned out and begin to conceptualize a solution to a problem. It is super hard to obtain reviews for poetry books. Next to promotion/marketing, soliciting reviews is the most frustrating part of running a small indie press. And, really, reviews are part of the promotion/marketing aspect. The obvious solution might be to knuckle down and keep sending out inquiries and keep feeling like the return isn’t worth the investment.

But I am not a big fan of asking politely into the void. I prefer to take a more direct approach to the problem as a whole and, in this case, the solution doesn’t really help me with the review problem.

The beginnings of Scindie Magazine were forming. PunksWritePoemsPress could start an online magazine for reviews of small press and self-pub authors. But there are so many websites for reviews!!! I know it, so ours has to be different.

How will it be different?

  • We will ask you, the writer/editor/creative-force-behind-totally-awesome-thing, to request that we review your thing through a simple form. You don’t have to contact us “cold”.
  • You can also request that we interview you for the magazine.
  • Or you can fill out our “Five Quick Questions” form and our readers can get a glimpse into your world.
  • Do you have a fun real-life story or helpful anecdote that you think other people like you would enjoy? We will have a submission form for editorial/article pitches!
  • We will be asking that if we review your thing, that you be willing to provide a review of another’s thing for a later issue.
  • The magazine will look like a magazine! It will not be a blog that you scroll through. It will be an online magazine…with pages…that you have to turn! And it will be free. Free to read. Free to download. Free to print, staple together, and leave at your favorite hang out.

Why do I keep saying “thing” instead of book? Because, I want this to be open to not just authors, but bands and film makers and visual artists. We want to embrace the spirit of being truly independent, no matter what the creative endeavor.

And in that spirit, we will offer ridiculously low (probably free) advertising space for your thing, as well.

The vision will become clearer as we move forward, but I think this is a good start.

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What is Scindie, anyway? I wrote a post on tumblr several months ago in which I coined the word “scindie” as being a “second class independent” publisher. That’s what we are. So I’m embracing it! Scindie Magazine will be for and about the independent creative people who fall outside of what independent publishing has become.

An Interview with Benjamin Schmitt

Benjamin Schmitt dropped the manuscript for Dinner Table Refuge into the PunksWritePoems inbox a few months ago, and I knew I wanted to publish it when I got to When zombies attack part 9. The pieces are deeply personal but accessible and often humorous. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Benjamin about poetry, Kevin Costner, the Packers, and his job as a reviewer for At the Inkwell.

Continue reading An Interview with Benjamin Schmitt

Does Anyone Write Medieval Fantasy Short Fiction?

With a name like PunksWritePoemsPress, you would think we would just be content to stick to poetry. You would think…but we’re not! Instead, we have been kicking around/mulling over/contemplating the idea of putting out a few different short story collections. One of the more interesting ideas was to dedicate a book to Medieval Fantasy short fiction.  Perhaps you have a story idea in which Sean Bean has long hair, carries a sword and doesn’t get killed?

 

 
Maybe your damsel is the cause of distress?

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Does Anyone Write Medieval Fantasy Short Fiction?

"Write For Yourself" Is a Lie

What? you say.
How dare you say something like that about one of the long-standing pillars of writing!? you mean.

I said it is a lie! Well, perhaps it is more misnomer than outright lie, but an untruth nonetheless. If you, as you will be playing the role of “writer” in this production of a blog post, write for yourself, then how would I, as I will be playing the role of “reader”, even know that you are a writer?

You may write a diary or personal journal for yourself, but if you go to the significant trouble of concocting and writing out an entire story, then it is a good bet that you did so with the intention of someone else reading it. That intention may manifest as a fantasy in which your story is, by a series of unlikely but believable events, read by [fill in favorite author’s name] and [fifan] invites you to come with him/her on some crazy rock-n-roll book tour that [fifan] is currently on. In this fantasy you become wildly famous and rich and all the critics love you. Or, your intention might be to share your story with your Mom or best friend or to post it online or to send it to every lit mag listed on Duotrope. And those choices are all equally noble and can be equally frightening.

Continue reading "Write For Yourself" Is a Lie

…About Six Months…

I’m not a blogger. I do not know how to write a blog that will somehow capture an audience with wit and charm and possibly some profound insight. But I do know that PunksWritePoemsPress has existed for just about six months now and I’ve never felt more proud or accomplished regarding any personal achievements than I do right now.
Sure, the “wildest dreams” scenario hasn’t played out…yet! You haven’t seen my face all glossy and smooth on the cover of some indie publishing magazine, nor on one for savvy entrepreneurs. Our first title – This Is Not a Movement –  has done well and I am happy to have been a part of making it a real book, printed on the screams of many a felled tree, but it will not get mention in conversations of breakthrough titles in poetry for 2015. (Side note: Is that a conversation that anyone actually has? If it is, we should all make a pact right now that if we overhear/are part of/read a conversation about the breakthrough titles in poetry for 2015, we will interject/say/comment that any such conversation that does not include This Is Not a Movement is a waste of everyone’s time. Can we agree to that? I won’t make you take a blood oath or even spit-shake. We can just agree to the TINaM Pact and use the trusted old honor system. Side note over.)
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The point is: I love that book and will consider it a success even if it never sells another copy. Even if it never makes it into the aforementioned conversations about breakthrough poetry titles. Even if you think it is a mess. It is a success because publishing that title and founding this indie Press on the back of it means that we get to do more of it.
We get to read and publish Janelle Rainer’s Two Cups of Tomatoes. It is a beautiful collection of poems that hint at the larger stories beyond the words on the page.
We got to read hundreds of submissions for RoguePoetry and are extremely proud to publish the selections we’ve chosen. It is a strange mix of styles and perspectives, and that is how we like it.
So there it is…halfway through our first year and I’m happy. Now go read a post from a better blogger while I go do my publishing thing.