Sunday, February 19, 2023

Publication and Its Predators

Twitter tells me that I have a Twitter anniversary today, which I verified by looking up my blog post about joining Twitter back in 2020.  Joining Twitter has not enriched my life the way that blogging has.  I started both activities thinking I was doing so in service to some sort of poetry "career" that I thought that I had and wanted to enlarge.  Blogging may have done a bit of that, but I am almost certain that Twitter has not, even before all the changes that Elon Musk enacted when he bought a social media platform that he no longer wanted.

In some ways, I'm very lucky.  If my poetry career never enlarges further, I'll be fine.  I don't have tenure decisions riding on my poetry publications.  I haven't signed a book deal with publishers who are hoping I'll write the same thing which brought fame and fortune before.  Trust me, if I knew what to write to bring fame and fortune, I'd have written it already, and I'd be working on that follow up.

I'm also lucky in that I'm not desperate, which means I'm less likely to fall victim to predators that are out there.  I read this piece which made me think about my younger years, and how I might have taken the bait offered by certain types of scammers.  Apparently there are people out there who buy small publishers and then use that platform to prey on writers.  I feel lucky to have avoided that mess.  It also seems like a strange kind of con.  Of course, I used to say the same thing about the real estate market.

I still do--these are cons and scams that seem like more work than just doing honest labor to earn money.  But what do I know?

Decades ago, my approach to publication was different than it is today.  Decades ago, I submitted almost endlessly to journals that may or may not have been a good match, to journals where my odds may or may not have been good.  Back then, submission was the cost of some stamps.  Even today's $3 submission fee is higher than the cost of some stamps, so I tend not to submit much.  But I also try to stay open to possibilities.  I still have that dream of being plucked from obscurity, as yesterday's e-mail to a professor demonstrates (we were discussing future papers, and I am interested in the variety of call stories that the Gospel of Luke gives us:  Mary's, Jesus', Peter's, Zacchaeus', Martha's, on and on I could go):

"I'll continue thinking about calls and responses, and I'll plan to do my exegesis on Mary and see what develops.

I love the idea of a Master's thesis (or a dissertation for a PhD that I have yet to start!), but I'm also intrigued by the idea of writing something (at some later point) with a more general audience in mind, a surprise best seller that prompts book reviewers to say, "Who knew that the population was so hungry for a book that describes different ways to answer the call of God?" Should I ever write a surprise best seller that is rooted in our class discussions, you can be sure I'll give you a giant thank you in the credits and invite you to go with me to all the talk shows and giant conventions to speak to everyone who wants to hear more about it."

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