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Author: Subject: Poetry.com Scam / Warning : Poetry.com What's It All About?
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[*] posted on 2/14/2009 at 09:44 PM
Poetry.com Scam / Warning : Poetry.com What's It All About?


http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/64855/poetrycom_whats_it_a...

As an editor, both acquisitions and pre-publication content editing, I receive a lot of questions from aspiring writers, novelists, and poets. One of the most frequent comments I hear is when an excited and newly published poet tells me, “I’ve been published by Poetry .com and am a semi-finalist in one of their contests!”

One of the most painful moments for me as an editor is when I explain to that poet why bragging about this is not necessarily a good thing in the publishing world.

First, a word about Poetry.com. If you are an amateur poet and have no desire to be a poet or a writer for a living or even as a lucrative hobby, and your only desire is to have a place on the internet where you can have a page and display your poetry, then Poetry.com might be exactly what you are looking for. Poetry.com does indeed publish anthologies of poetry, and if you submit to them, your poem will indeed be included in a book of poetry.

However, that’s about as far as it goes, and if you are expecting anything more than just a fun place to post and the chance to have your poem in a book somewhere, then you will be disappointed in Poetry.com.

First of all, please understand that on Poetry.com everyone is a winner. They do not refuse any poem sent in, no matter how bad it might be. Don't believe me? Sign up and post an atrocious poem, and I guarantee you will receive a letter in the mail saying you are semi finalist and your poem is going to be published in a book.

After this, you can plan to receive many emails from Poetry.com, in addition to the third party sites they will sell your address to (Read the FAQs. They admit to this.) as well as a couple of different mailings, both via email and USPS. The first piece of mail you will receive is what is called a “proof copy” of your poem, asking you to make any necessary editing changes to your poem and return it to them by the due date in order to be included in the anthology for which your poem was selected. Along with this proof page will be a form to ask you to order the book that your poem will appear in, which sells anywhere from about $40-60 bucks.

For those who have never been published, or for those who may have chosen to use a vanity or print press publisher, you should know that a legitimate trade or reputable publisher will provide to a con
tracted author at least one to five author's copies of your book at no charge and many give you more than that. At the very least, most publishers will sell you the book at an author's discount or at wholesale (without royalties). Additionally, trade publishers or traditional publishers will never charge you to print or market and distribute your book.

Poetry.com doesn't do this, because they do not provide author’s contracts or royalties. In fact, you will receive no payment whatsoever for publishing your poem with them, and there are no royalties.

Yes, your poem will indeed appear in a book, but you will have to pay a hefty sum for that book if you want a copy. They will also try to 'sell' you an extended author's bio that will be included on the facing page of your poem. I have several printed books in publication as well as several ebooks, and every single publisher provided me an author’s bio in the book at no cost to me whatsoever. This is how it should be in the publishing world. Poetry.com’s price for this extended author’s bio will vary depending on how long and what you want included. If you want a picture included, it can cost a small fortune.

After the proof form is sent back to Poetry.com, that’s when the hard core solicitations begin. In addition to the expensive copy of the book, they will also try to sell you the audio version of the book in which your poetry appears - and this is upward of $75-175 bucks for the 'collection'.

After that, they will send you something telling you that you have won a prize - but you have to pay for it too. Sometimes it's a plaque and sometimes it's a silver bowl, and sometimes it's other things, but the cost for the prize averages a measly $175 bucks. No, this is not the value of the prize, this is the actual cost that you, the winning poet, will have to pay in order to have your prize shipped to you. Have you ever heard of a prize you won costing you anything other than maybe taxes or shipping? $175 bucks?

That’s when the real push begins and you will inundated with letters and emails stating that you are a winner, that you are a finalist, and all you have to do is come to their annual awards cere
mony, where you can meet the infamous Florence Henderson, or another more obscure celebrity, who will host the convention. Not only do you have to pay to attend the convention (and it's a hefty sum) but you have to arrange your own air fare, hotel, and other accommodations. Sure, you can set up a booth there to display your poetry and such, but that's another hefty fee too.

Poetry.com is all about making money, not about getting people published or promoting authors or poets.

Now, in their defense, what little of it I managed to find during my research, the coffee table books they print are very attractive and high quality books. The audio recordings are clear and well put together. However, for the price and considering the author has to pay to purchase anything, Poetry.com has a very lucrative business, in which the only person who profits is not the author, but Poetry.com itself.

There is one good thing about Poetry.com though. Best I can tell from my research, you retain the copyright to your poem and therefore, you still own it. There is no contract assigning rights, even first publication rights, to Poetry.com. You can republish the poem or try to sell it somewhere else... because you still own it; it’s still yours. That's just about the only redeeming quality to this particular ‘contest.’

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I'm not saying that people don't win cash prizes. I'm sure that every year someone out there does indeed win, or they would have been shut down by now. But with a contest that boasts free entry and over 51 million poems, the likelihood of you winning that contest, especially if you never purchase anything and do not attend the convention, are actually less than the odds of winning the same dollar amount playing your state lottery.

While it is usually the goal of every business to make money, most businesses do indeed offer some type of a service. In my opinion, if you check out their site, you'll see it's heavily-ridden with advertising. Poetry.com’s primary function is not necessarily providing a service. They're goal is nothing more than making money, and the way they think to do that, in the opinion of this author/poet/editor, is to get as many poor saps who want to be published so badly to enter their poems in what I loosely call a contest. Being a publisher, and I’m also using that term very loosely in this instance, is a very distant second to selling their products and convention seats.

Don't feel bad though if you fell for their ways. You are not alone, because with more than 51 million
poems boasted, many people have fallen for this money making website. Hopefully, you didn't lose too much money, and at the very least, you did get a poem in a book. However, if you are a serious writer, be leery of using that as a portfolio tool - people in the publishing industry are fully aware of Poetry.com's tactics and most editors and publishers will not take an author/poet seriously if they use Poetry.com as one of their portfolio items.

To sum this up, Poetry.com is a great and fun place for an amateur poet or writer who has no intention of ever selling or making a profit or career out of writing. If all you want to do is play around and have some poetry up for people to read on the internet and have your name printed in a fancy book that costs a small fortune, and enjoy playing the odds at maybe winning the meager prizes, then Poetry.com might just be the place for you to hang out and do that.

If, however, you take your writing career seriously and are in it for more than just a little fun and gambling, Poetry.com can actually be detrimental to your writing career. Before entering any contest, especially a contest that is so prolific and uses so much paid advertising online as Poetry.com does, be sure to check them out carefully. Writers Beware and Preditors & Editors both have wonderful sites with alerts and warnings about companies that offer contests, publishers, agents, and other writing industry information. Be sure to check out both sites and ask around in the local writer’s groups or internet forums before sending your work to any contest or publisher.

Good luck with your writing or poetry career!

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/64855/poetrycom_whats_it_a...




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[*] posted on 2/14/2009 at 11:28 PM


Glad you put the warning up, Michy. I wrote a poem to The Sweety this Valentine’s Day. I didn’t realize until I saw the mist in her eyes and the curl of her smile what a masterpiece I had written:

How Dew I Love Thee

How dew I love thee, let me count the weighs:
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23, 24
If I was not so tired of counting , I’d love you even more.

I was just about to send the poem to Poetry.com. I’ll try the Writer’s Digest Poetry Contest instead.




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[*] posted on 2/14/2009 at 11:36 PM


yes, amber found this site when she was 13 or 14...wanted me to buy the book.... we could not afford it.



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[*] posted on 2/15/2009 at 12:07 AM


Real publishers will give you AT VERY MINIMUM one free author's copy. Most give you more. When I was pubbed in the anthology, I got two copies for free and the rest at a discount. When I was pubbed by Koboca, I got 50 free copies. The Path got me 20 free copies.

A real publisher won't charge you to at least see one copy of YOUR book - and they sure won't charge as much as Poetry dot com does!




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[*] posted on 2/24/2010 at 11:56 PM
Poetry.com 'Scam' Warning


If you guys still haven't heard about Poetry.com and why they are a vanity contest and perhaps even so much as a scam, you should read this. It'll clear it up for you:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/64855/poetrycom_whats_it_a...




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[*] posted on 2/25/2010 at 12:56 AM


Before I ever did any delving into publishing and really pursuing this I posted one there. I realized quickly it was just another money making scheme, albeit a clever one. I think Stephanna put one there too back then.



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[*] posted on 2/25/2010 at 01:56 AM


It's okay, Laurie... years ago, before I knew about them and before the internet was what it is now, I submitted to them too - that's how old and longstanding this scam is.

It's a shame - they could, with all they are, actually do REAL stuff.... (shaking head)




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[*] posted on 2/25/2010 at 11:14 AM


Thanks for the info. It really ticks me off when places like that take advantage of writers who are trying to get established. What a shame.



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[*] posted on 3/5/2010 at 04:29 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Michy  
It's okay, Laurie... years ago, before I knew about them and before the internet was what it is now, I submitted to them too - that's how old and longstanding this scam is.

It's a shame - they could, with all they are, actually do REAL stuff.... (shaking head)


Why would they when they can sell off crappy anthologies for $40 a pop?

It is a shame, I agree. I got a couple of poems published in their books and I even bought said books before it occurred to me, "hey, I'm not good enough to get published." That was a hard realization at the time-huge blow to my ego-but I'm glad it came before I attended one of their conferences.

My only regret is that I let them feed my hubris and it kept me from improving for a couple years. I didn't spend enough cash for me to worry about it but the time, man, that's something I can't get back.

Would-be authors stay away, stay away, stay away. They've got nothing to offer you and no matter your skill level you deserve better.




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[*] posted on 1/9/2011 at 12:42 PM


I fell for it too :( I wish it wasn't a scam. Makes me sad...
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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 02:48 PM
Yay! I'm a WINNER - NOT....


OK>>>Just opened a piece of (snail) mail that arrived today. And I'm a WINNER with one of my poems. It is going to be published in "Stars in Our Hearts," ISBN 978....

Apparently, I am a semi-finalist, with an excellent chance of winning one of 116 cash or gift prizes, including the $1,000 GRAND PRIZE!!! Yay!!!

No obligation, of course. There was NO entry fee. But I can buy the book that features my "poetry artistry." For $49.95. (Special price, as the publisher's list price is $69.96, so I save $20.) Plus shipping, I guess, but if I order two or more the shipping is FREE! Yippee!

Oops..here it is...$5.00 shipping, even to Canada! Wow!!!!

Funny thing is, I've had SO MANY poetry rejects lately that my emails are almost blocked solid with those rejects! Yet...I open my snail mail, and I'm a "winner." Unreal, eh???

According to the form letter: they feel I have "a special talent." If I want to add my "motivations, the meaning poetry has in my life, the story behind my poem, or my personal philosophical point of view"....they "must charge a nominal typesetting fee"...not sure how much that is...letter doesn't say.

OH>>>>and I "should be genuinely proud" of my "accomplishment"...."of the thousands of poems we read each year, only a fraction can be published." Hey...I'm one of them!!!!

Wow!!! Anyone want to loan me the $49.95????




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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 02:59 PM


Only a fraction can be published because only a fraction prove to be gullible enough to sent in the $49.95....



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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 03:07 PM


Quote: Originally posted by RobertArend  
Only a fraction can be published because only a fraction prove to be gullible enough to sent in the $49.95....


ha ha ha!!! I did NOT realize this was the type of contest when I sent in my poem!!!!

Now Granny has to get another glass of Vino...LOL!!!




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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 03:26 PM


True story, to make you feel better:

In our local writers guild, we have a woman who tells us constantly that she is nominated for major poetry prizes along with the likes of Maya Angelou, by her chinese publisher. And she sends press releases to the local newspapers...




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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 03:39 PM


Just think how much they would make if they could get each contestant to buy two or three books... in each lanuage they are printed in. Sad that they must sell enough to keep the con going.

Even sadder if they con a person like you whose works should have been gotten to the public to be read. It sickens me to think that there might be a Hemmingway, or an Azimov that gave up because they got swindled. Another horrid though is there may be stories burried by charlitans that never were published lying unread in a dustbin.




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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 03:56 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Thomas Forthe (Tom)  
Just think how much they would make if they could get each contestant to buy two or three books... in each lanuage they are printed in. Sad that they must sell enough to keep the con going.

Even sadder if they con a person like you whose works should have been gotten to the public to be read. It sickens me to think that there might be a Hemmingway, or an Azimov that gave up because they got swindled. Another horrid though is there may be stories burried by charlitans that never were published lying unread in a dustbin.


Yes, it is very sad.

When my daughter was 16 or so, she "won" a contest. I'm not sure if this is the same company or not, but she had to buy the expensive book. Her poem WAS really good, and I'm not just saying that because she is my daughter. We were both SO excited, but I was a little bit leery, so I called my father and explained the situation, and he set me straight. I was about to fork over the $$$ on her behalf. She was heart-broken!




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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 04:29 PM


Reading further in the "documents" in the mail.....first prize is GREAT - $1,000 cash. 40 first prizes are medals worth $125 each, 74 second prizes are medals worth $60 each. OK>>> I don't want a medal worth probably $2.00 each...I want the $1,000...and what are my chances!!!



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[*] posted on 9/7/2011 at 04:58 PM


It's just another iteration of poetry.com - total scammers. Don't do it, even if it doesn't cost you a penny, don't do it.





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[*] posted on 9/8/2011 at 02:13 PM


Quote: Originally posted by moonshadow68  
True story, to make you feel better:

In our local writers guild, we have a woman who tells us constantly that she is nominated for major poetry prizes along with the likes of Maya Angelou, by her chinese publisher. And she sends press releases to the local newspapers...


That is just sad. Has anyone tried to explain it to her?




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[*] posted on 9/8/2011 at 02:40 PM


There's one of those in my local writers group. She won the 'opportunity' to be published, along with Wayne Dwyer and other famous people, in a motivational anthology. All she had to do was buy 200 books, @$10 each. For another $2000 she could have had her name on the cover of the book. She's still peddling those books, but at least she got something out of it, and can get her money back by selling the books. What she doesn't understand is that the claim it is a 'best selling' book can be attributed to the fact that each author had to buy 200 books to get in it. That alone will put the book higher on the sales lists. 20 authors would equal 4000 books sold before it was even printed.



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