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Posts Tagged ‘submissions’

The poem, as published on The Open Mouse, along with one other poem.

Victoria Kelsey: Two poems.

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Sometimes, you get some pretty harsh lessons.  Let me share one with you, in case you are like myself, and need someone else’s examples of seemingly simple mistakes coming back to haunt them.

I have always been very critical of my own work. I have lived a long life, and have been writing in some form since I was 12 years old.  In all that time, I’ve never had the courage to submit anything for publication.  Oh, I entered my high school and college writing competitions, and back when poetry.com was a brand spanking new thing, I submitted to them before I knew what they were.  But seriously submitting? No, I never had the courage to do it.

Well, I wrote this one piece.  And I really loved it.  And then I edited it for about two years, with feedback from my core group of editors who have worked with me since the days of rec.arts.poems (Oh, how I miss you, Usenet, and your glory days).  One day, in a fit of “If I don’t do it  now, I will never do it”, I decided to submit it.

So I checked out a few sites that friends of mine had been published on.  I swear I read the submission guidelines, but I read about 6 different website versions of guidelines and must have mixed them up.  I thought I only submitted the piece to places that accepted simulataneous submissions.  Except, I didn’t.

I was over the moon when I got an acceptance from Every Day Poets, and also from The Open Mouse.  I can’t actually remember which accepted first, but they were really close to each other.  Their publishing timelines are vastly different, so I was waiting months between the acceptance and the publication.  The result was that the piece was published on the fabulous site, The Open Mouse, first.  Then approximately 6 weeks later, on Every Day Poets.

Within  three days of the publication on Every Day Poets’ website, I was informed that my reading of the submission guidelines was in error, that I was in breach of the contract that I’d signed with Every Day Poets, and given this statement by Kathleen Cassen Mikkelson and the other editors at Every Day Poets:

“As this stands, you are in breach of contract. We have taken your poem down from our site. Additionally, you are no longer eligible to submit to Every Day Poets. We have banned you from the submission system. This was a unanimous decision by our editorial board. We take our contracts seriously and expect our authors to do the same.”

My advice for newly submitting authors and poets:

Do not make a rookie mistake.  Read the submission guidelines.  Read them again.  When you get that acceptance, don’t be so excited by it that you forget to READ THEM AGAIN.  As you can see, there is no room for ignorance. The response is harsh.  Your mistakes cannot be ameliorated by your inexperience, so be careful.

For me, I think I’ll take a break from submitting for a while.  I have plenty of work to keep me busy in other areas of the publishing world. I have always had the most respect for authors who put themselves out there, who take a piece of themselves, create it into something other than themselves, and put it out there for others to examine and critique.

Edit to add: Those who wish to read the poem in question can access it via The Open Mouse, September 2013 archive.

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