Poems & Sabotage: Are you guilty?

I was talking with a friend last week when she expressed interest in seeing my blog. She wanted to see my poetry.

That’s one thing you won’t find on this blog — my poetry.

But Lori! You write a poetry blog! What are you thinking not putting your own poems on it?

I’m thinking I want to my poems to be published by journals and magazines, that’s what I’m thinking.

If you look at any poetry journal or magazine’s guidelines, you’ll see this little tidbit:

Poems previously published are not accepted.

Yes, Virginia. That includes your blog. Maybe more so because guess what? Your blog is online and, if it’s like most blogs, the contents aren’t hidden behind a paywall or a password-protected barrier.

Why It Matters

Think of it this way — suppose you wrote a book and your publisher was paying you $2 a copy, with sales expected to climb to 50,000. However, right before publication, the publisher decided to just publish the entire thing on their website as a free offering. Within a week, your free book has 30,000 views.

And now you’re left hoping that the remaining 20,000 people actually buy your book before they find out it’s a freebie. Sucks, doesn’t it?

Of course, you’d have a book contract and your publisher would have some explaining to do (and you’d have some legally sound arguments for being compensated for those lost sales).

That’s what it’s like when a journal agrees to publish your work only to find out that they aren’t getting traffic or sales because your work is already old news to those who can access your blog. It’s unfair.

Yes, even if they’re not paying for your poetry. If you agree it’s not published elsewhere, it can’t be.

What if you take it down? That would be up to the publisher, frankly. I can’t advise you other than to tell you to ask them if it’s okay to take it down. And I’d do so well before submitting anything for consideration.

So that’s why you won’t find my poems on my poetry website.

Have you published your work online? If so, have you tried placing it afterward? What’s the response been?

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