The Death of Poem In Your Pocket

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way Poem In Your Pocket ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Due to circumstances outside of our control, the Poem In Your Pocket mini-magazine scheduled for publication this April has been canceled.

We would like to thank, and apologize to, the poets who donated work to the project.

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?

Praise for All My Rowdy Friends

Coming soon!

“  . . . none of us/are immune to the light . . . . ” and indeed, none of us are.  In Scott Whitaker’s latest collection, All My Rowdy Friends, an imaginative and often rococo reimagining of the Tiresias legend resituated in the twenty-first century, the reader is challenged not just by the overturning of whatever conventional point of view they may personally hold, but by the shattering of poetic conventions as well.  Whitaker breaks the poetic fourth wall, that single-step remove from the text that situates the reader in a secure place as an (often passive) observer, and insists that the reader participate in that reimagining.  Make no mistake, this is a collection that engages and sometimes repels at the same time, a series of works which will have you pouring over the poet’s copious footnotes like a freshman in search of a citation to crib for an overdue paper.  Brilliant, as the brightest light is brilliant, this is a light to which no one will be immune.  
                   – Jamie Brown, Author of Sakura, 2013 Best Book of Verse,                                                                                         Delaware Press Association

“All My Rowdy Friends is sex appeal met with man’s uncertainty; dark with an edgy bite to it. Love painted stark, pain written thick; a beautiful photograph. There’s a grit to the sex that makes it squirm. Poetry that includes visits to childhood, to mind-altering states and beyond, and a cast of characters that will slice your fingers if you press the page too hard.”

                                 –Jax Miller, best selling author of Freedom’s Child.

Cover Art Needed!

This a call!

This is a call for cover art!

This is a call for cover art for a science fiction short story anthology!

This is…that’s enough of that! If you would like to see your art on the cover of our upcoming anthology Don’t Open Till Doomsday and make $15, then you should definitely drop us an email with a hi-res picture or scan. Seriously, you should.

The particulars:
1. You may submit up to 3 images.
2. Email to: and use “Submission: Cover Art” as the subject.
3. Do not incorporate the title in the art work unless it is worked naturally into the piece (e.g. on a sign).
4. Please note that by submitting you are stating that you own the art in its entirety and that you have the right to sell it.
5. Compensation will be one copy of the book and $15 (US), to be paid upon publication.
6. Deadline: March 21st, 2016 @ midnight (Eastern US)

On "Poem In Your Pocket" and Other Things

Okay, we may have over-reached on the Poem In Your Pocket project, and that’s fine. So we are scaling the idea down to a simpler form. Instead of individual cards with poems on them that you could carry around in your custom designed “poem in your pocket” t-shirt, we are going to offer the same amazing poetry in a mini-magazine that you can stuff in whatever pocket you have available to you! And for about a quarter of the price! That will leave you plenty of extra scratch for some over-priced coffee.

While we are on the topic of things that didn’t work, Melee (a fantasy short story collection), has been cancelled. We appreciate the submissions we received, but there were far too few for us to put together a collection at the level of quality that we desire. Don’t Open Til Doomsday is full steam ahead, though!

Another change in the works is for RoguePoetry Review 2016. Last year, we put together a good cross-section collection of poetry and we strive to make it even better this year. With that in mind, we are switching RoguePoetry to a free online magazine. It will be similar in layout to our upcoming Scindie Magazine. Submissions will open this Spring.

Speaking of Scindie, we are pressing forward with issue 1 and hope to have it available in late Spring. Want to be a part of it?
Click HERE for more information and links.

For the Sake of Future Improvement…

We currently have an open Kickstarter Campaign for pre-sales of our Poem In Your Pocket project. The campaign is failing and that is okay, but we would like to take this opportunity to learn. With that in mind, would you please give us honest feedback as to why you would not order this poetry collection. We appreciate your opinion; it will help us going forward.

Thank you for taking the time!

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.

Scindie Header

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

Value Creativity