IS THE NANOPRESS MODEL FOR YOU?
You’re a poet with at least several dozen individual poems already published by a range of reputable poetry journals. You have compiled a first collection manuscript in which you have confidence.
You have repeatedly submitted your manuscript to different poetry contests, along with hundreds or thousands of others, at $25 or so a try. You have also submitted it to some of the relatively few presses that still read unsolicited manuscripts free.
But you have had no luck. And you are well aware that in both cases the statistical chances of success are tiny and continually dwindling, in the face of growing demand.
One alternative might be to self-publish your manuscript. But you know that self-publication, while it has had some success in some cases, is problematic. Primarily because it lacks that key element of credibility a poetry press brings to a manuscript – the outside editor’s judgment and gravitas, which both affirm and help hone the poet’s vision.
The nanopress model may be for you.
The nanopress is a single-publication, purpose-formed poetry press that brings together, on a one-time basis, an independent editor’s judgment and gravitas and a poet’s manuscript. The combination effectively by-passes both the poetry-contest gamble and the dwindling opportunities offered by existing poetry presses, while still applying credible ‘quality control’ measures to the published work.
How does it work? Read on for the mechanics of the nanopress and a description of five nanopresses established in the last few years.
ITEMS OF INTEREST
More round and round on the poetry contest model in a post at HTML Giant. Comments are worth reading. (July 2013)
Blog post from Sandy Longhorn, a poet in the academic world also frustrated by the poetry contest model, in which she discusses challenges and frustrations related to first book publishing. (July 2013 – cf post dated June 2011 from Sheila Squillante below.)
March 26, 2013 – Blogger/poet Chris Lott writes:
I’m intrigued by the nanopress idea. I like the finite, bounded nature of each publication, the emphasis on quality and collaboration, and the production of a publication in multiple modes. It’s a simple, elegant idea to stake a claim in new media territory. Full blog post.
March 25, 2013 – Blogger/poet Amorak Huey writes:
I was reminded again how much I crave that editor/writer relationship. Maybe not with someone like Lish who will take control of my poetry and make it fit his vision of the future of verse (although maybe, depending), but the gentler hand of a brilliant editor — at once guiding and challenging, pushing and asking and helping me confront my weaknesses and recognize the common threads that bind my work. Helping me shape a pile of poems into a book of poems. Helping me plug the holes and patch the weak spots. The process described by Sebastian and the others who’ve used the nanopress model. Full blog post. (March 2013)
Blog post from Sheila Squillante, a poet in the academic world tired of poetry contests, in which she discusses challenges, frustrations and potential other options related to first book publishing. (June 2011)
Poetry Book Contests Should be Abolished: Why Contests Are the Stupidest Way to Publish First Books by Anis Shivani at Huffington Post (June 2011)
Guest post on nanopress publishing by Nic Sebastian with discussion in comments at Marly Youman’s blog, The Palace at 2am. (June 2011)
Interview with Nic Sebastian in which nanopress publishing is discussed at Coachella Review, by Lindsey Lewis (May 2011).