For 20 years or so, my life poetic has been steered by a single compass: Poet’s Market. In more recent years, when it occurred to me that all that other stuff I was writing happened to be essays and articles, I became a devotee of Writer’s Market as well. I don’t know how to emphasize the comfort these tomes have brought to me over the years. Not only have they instilled an exhilarating sense of possibility about the vast array of publications seeking every type of writing, but they have also given me a crucial and transformative foothold into the unknowns of the literary and commercial publishing landscapes. I came to these books with my dreams and my fears, and I moved through their pages slowly and over many years into my own print (and online) pages of books and articles and poems that I have been so blessed to share with readers. It is through these books that I have found and continue to find my place in my writing life.
So you can imagine my excitement when a few weeks ago I received two, very special packages direct from the publisher of Poet’s Market 2012 and Writer’s Market 2012 — my contributor copies. My article “Making the Most of the Money You Earn” appears in Writer’s Market 2012 and “Why Poets Need Platforms — And How to Create One” can be found in Poet’s Market 2012. I flipped through the books, giddy about all I would discover in the realm of the 2012 publishing landscape. I took in the treasures of wisdom from poets I admire such as Chloe Yelena Miller, Diane Lockward, Taylor Mali, and Sandra Beasley––and from esteemed authors Marc Acito, I.J. Schecter and Tony Palermo. Both guides are steeped in incredible interviews by Editor Robert Lee Brewer, access to online publisher databases, plus poetry & writing calendars, submission trackers, 60-minute webinars, and more. Suffice it to say, I was both energized by and impressed with what appeared to be the best editions of these guides to date.
Then I lined the books up on my desk front and center so they’d be an arm’s reach away when I needed a shot of submission adrenaline or insight. Looking back at me from those respectable covers was something strangely familiar and yet completely unrecognizable: my name. On the cover of the two very most important books in my writing life: my name. The feeling was like looking into the sun. It’s hard to take in those glossy covers, still.
Since this discovery, I have been experiencing a kind of literary vertigo. I am grateful to Editor Robert Lee Brewer for giving me the opportunity to give service through the books that have given so much to me. And I am humbled by the grace of a lifelong commitment to writing. Today, I can perceive how this craft has imperceptibly shaped me over time, as moving water carves stone, ever so slowly toward my true offering as a writer and a person.
I hope you will find your place in the pages that speak most to you, if that is your calling. But most importantly, I wish you joy in your process and your practice. Because this is our birthright as writers. No publication can accept or reject our dedication to the words that choose us as their pathways into this world.
And should you want guidance and companionship along the way as you seek rightful homes for your writing in places where it can be shared and appreciated by a wider audience, I encourage you to make a small investment in your future with your very own copy of Writer’s Market 2012 and/or Poet’s Market 2012. May 2012 be your year!