Monday, September 10, 2018

The Practicing Poet Update


My new craft book, The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics, is just about to enter the world. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Organized into ten sections with each devoted to a poetic concept, The Practicing Poet begins with “Discovering New Material,” “Finding the Best Words,” “Making Music,” “Working with Sentences and Line Breaks,” and  “Crafting Surprise.” The concepts become progressively more sophisticated, moving on to “Achieving Tone,” “Dealing with Feelings,” “Transforming Your Poems,” and “Rethinking and Revising.” The final section, “Publishing Your Book,” covers manuscript organization, book promotion, and presentation of a good public reading.

The book includes thirty brief craft essays, each followed by a model poem and analysis of the poem’s craft, then a prompt based on the poem. Ten recyclable bonus prompts are also included. Ten Top Tips lists are each loaded with poetry wisdom from an accomplished poet.

The Practicing Poet pushes poets beyond the basics and encourages the continued reading, learning, and writing of poetry. It is suitable as a textbook in the classroom, a guidebook in a workshop, or an at-home tutorial for the practicing poet working independently.

The craft essays, poems, and top tips lists include the work of 113 contemporary poets.  Here’s a LIST of all the contributors.

The Craft Tips were contributed by 30 accomplished poets, the model poems by another 30 fabulous poets. I’m especially excited about section X, “Publishing Your Book,” which assumes that most poets aspire to have a first or a next book published. April Ossmann and Alberto Rios both contributed outstanding and useful pieces on manuscript organization.

I’m also excited for readers to get their first view of the ten Top Tips lists, one per section. I invited ten amazing poets to each contribute a list of their best pieces of poetry wisdom. You will love these!

Also included are 60 sample poems written to the prompts. You will fall in love with many of these poems, all contributed by subscribers to my monthly Poetry Newsletter. They suggest the directions and possibilities of the prompts.

People keep saying that I’ve gotten this book put together quickly. But really, I’ve been working on it for more than three years. Now I’m just about ready to launch this new baby. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Terrapin Books Now Open for Submissions


I am happy to announce that my poetry press, Terrapin Books, is open for submissions of full-length poetry manuscripts. Our current submission period is August 1 - August 31, 2018.

Be sure to read our Guidelines before submitting. Please note that we request both a bio and a brief descriptive statement with your submission. Be sure to include both.

Most questions are answered in our FAQs, so be sure to read that page also.

Our Guidelines ask for a manuscript of approximately 40-55 poems for a book of approximately 90-110 pages. Page count includes poems, front and back matter, and section pages; it also includes all blank pages. Please note that your book will be longer than your manuscript. Manuscript length and book length are not the same thing. If you have 40-55 poems, go ahead and submit. Let us worry about book length.

Here's some general information about the press:

We publish only poetry books, primarily single-author collections but also an occasional craft book or anthology.

Terrapin Books is committed to publishing outstanding books of poetry by outstanding poets. We intend to fully support our poets. We will edit your manuscript and work with you on revisions. In order to give the kind of individual attention we want to give each author and book, we accept a limited number of manuscripts during each reading period.

We respond to submissions within one month of the close of the submission period. We are also committed to publishing accepted titles within six months of acceptance. We do not maintain a long list of books-in-waiting.

We promote our poets' books. We also expect our poets to actively engage in promoting their books. We require our poets to maintain a dedicated website and to be a member of Facebook.

Our books are 6 x 9, paperback, perfect bound, color cover, with printed spine (poet's name, title, press).

We offer a standard contract, a generous number of author copies, a substantial discount on additional copies purchased by the author, and an annual royalty payment.

We are the proud publisher of collections by Neil Carpathios, Lynne Knight, Christine Stewart-Nunez, Jessica de Koninck, Carolyn Miller, Patricia Clark, Susanna Lang, Hayden Saunier, Michelle Menting, Karen Paul Holmes, Geraldine Connolly, Michael T. Young, Lisa Bellamy, and Paige Riehl.

We welcome submissions from poets at any stage in their career. Some of our poets have a long publication history with multiple books. A few of our poets have two books out. And we are very proud to be the publisher of several debut collections.

We look forward to reading your work.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Summer Journals 2018

Get your mailbox ready to receive good news.



It's that time of year again. During the summer many of us have more time to write and submit, but quite a few journals close their doors to submissions for the summer months. Do not despair. There are still many journals that do read during the summer and some that read only during the summer. This is a list of those journals, all print. Journals come and go and guidelines and reading periods change, so be sure to check websites.

I've added links for your convenience. I've also indicated the number of issues per year, the submission period dates, which journals accept simultaneous submissions, and which ones accept online submissions.

If you find an error, please let me know.


**Indicates that simultaneous submission is ok.
Unless otherwise indicated, the journal accepts online submissions.
If no dates are given, the journal reads all year.


**American Poetry Review—6x-tabloid

**Asheville Poetry Review—3x—Jan. 15-July 15
snail mail

**Atlanta Review—2x—deadlines June 1 & Dec 1
reads all year, but slower in summer
snail mail

**Bat City Review—1x—June 1-Nov 1

**Beloit Poetry Journal—3x—June 1-Aug 31

**Black Warrior Review—2x—June 1-Sept 1

**Briar Cliff Review—1x—deadline Nov 1

email sub ok
$3 reading fee /pays $50



**Columbia Poetry Review—1x—July 1-Nov 1

**Conduit—2x
snail mail

**Cream City Review—2x—Aug 1-Nov 1

Cutthroat—1x—opens July 30


**The Florida Review—2x—Aug 1-May 31 (subscribers all year)

**The Fourth River—1x—opens July 1

**Gigantic Sequins—2x—opens July 1

**Grist—1x—June 15-Sept 15

snail mail

**Hayden’s Ferry—2x—opens for submissions August 1

snail mail

Hudson Review—4x—April 1-June 30 (all year if a subscriber)
snail mail

**Lake Effect—1x


**Lumina—1x—check in July

**MacGuffin—3x
via email attachment

(prefers no sim but will take)

Measure—2x
metrical only



**Minnesota Review—2x—August 1–November 1


**The Mom Egg—1x—June 1-Sept 1

**Naugatuck River Review—2x—July 1-Sept 1
for the winter issue

**Nimrod—2x—Jan 1-Nov 30

Pinyon—2x
via email

**Pleiades—2x—Aug 15-May 15

**Ploughshares—3x—June 3 to January 15

**Poet Lore—2x
snail mail

**Poetry—11x

**Quiddity—2x

**The Raleigh Review—2x—opens July 1

**Rattle—4x

Raven Chronicles—2x—April 1-July 1
snail mail

**Redactions—2x—by email–opens July 1

**Redivider—2x

**Rhino—1x—April 1-Oct 31

**River Styx—3x—May 1 thru Nov 30

**Rosebud—3x
via email


**Salt Hill—2x
August 1-April 1

month of July
via email

**Saw Palm—1x—July 1-Oct. 1
must have a Florida connection

via email



**Southern Humanities Review—4x—Aug 1-Dec 1

snail mail or via their website

**Sugar House Review—2x—Jan 31-July 31

**Tahoma Literary Review—3x—now thru August

**32 Poems—2x

Threepenny Review—4x—reads thru June

**Turnrow—2x
snail mail


US 1 Worksheets—1x—April 15- June 30
snail mail

**Washington Square Review—2x—Aug 1-Oct 15

**West Wind Review—1x—July 1-Sept 1
must have an LA affiliation

**Yemassee—2x


Friday, June 1, 2018

Goodreads Turns Bad, Part 3: Facebook

In my last post, I told you about my experience with an Amazon Giveaway. I have now completed my experimental Facebook Giveaway. Here are the details.

I posted my Giveaway on Facebook on Friday morning, May 25. It ran until 7:00 PM EST on Wednesday, May 30. I posted it around 11:00 AM on my Timeline, the Terrapin page, and my author’s page. I also posted it in four groups I belong to. In addition, there were several Shares from most of these spaces. The ability to post in multiple areas on the site is a definite advantage to a Giveaway at Facebook. At Goodreads you can post only on your own page, and Amazon posts it wherever they post Giveaways. I never even saw it on Amazon.

I asked people to enter the Giveaway by putting in a comment below the announcement. Most just entered their name or a note like “I’m in!” but quite a few posted lovely compliments! Unexpected bonus compliments!

Here are some of the compliments:
     I have the first book and love it.
     Diane, your book sounds amazing!!
     Love & use volume 1 all the time with my classes!
     These guides are sensible, informed, clearly written, and stimulating. What more could a poet want?!
     This looks fantastic.
     I always recommend The Crafty Poet. It's a great resource. Can't wait to read Part II!
     Your workshop books are a must for any practicing poet or teacher of poetry!

These testimonials do not happen with Goodreads or Amazon. I felt real people out there wanting to win, not a sea of faceless strangers. This kind of response really put a smile on my face (see above image).

Here are the statistics:
Total number of entrants: 77 with the bulk of them appearing on my Timeline, but also some in all the groups where I posted. I was happy with this number and suspect that it would have been higher if I hadn't posted on a holiday weekend.
One winner: notified next day, book now in the mail
Total Cost: cost of one book which I had at home, one envelope, $3.19 postage

The Facebook Giveaway is the least expensive. Much less expensive than Goodreads at $119.00 and less than half the Amazon one.

Big boost in sales? No, but that is common to all three Giveaways (and I can hope that some Facebook entrants will later hop on over to Amazon and hit the Buy button--in fact, I did have a few sales shortly after I announced the winner!).

Unexpected perks: 1) One person who saw my post on Facebook asked for a review copy so she could write a review for the paper she works for, 2) Another person asked if she could post my two earlier blog posts on her writing blog = more exposure!

My conclusion is that given the choice between a paid Giveaway at Goodreads, a low-cost one at Amazon, or a free one at Facebook the best option is Facebook—by far. Goodreads leads to more people entering, but at Facebook you have the ability to reach additional people if you have a substantial list of friends. You can extend your reach by sharing to groups and pages on Facebook. You can also set your own time frame—I recommend just a few days as information goes through the feed so fast. Most of my responses came on the first two days. And the cost is less than at Goodreads (by a lot) or at Amazon (by about $10). And you might get a few compliments!


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Goodreads Turns Bad, Part 2: Amazon

In my last post, I complained about the recent elimination of the free Giveaway at Goodreads, now replaced with a costly Giveaway. The fee imposed makes the service prohibitive for poets and small press publishers. I decided that the time was right to try an Amazon Giveaway for my craft book, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. That experiment is now over. Here are the results.

It was easy to set up the Amazon Giveaway and it went into effect immediately as Goodreads now does also (used to be a 7-day wait period). While a Goodreads Giveaway allows the user to select the length of time the Giveaway will run, there is a 7-day time limit on the length of the Amazon Giveaway, but that time will be cut off once a winner has been selected.

There are several options for how a winner is selected. My Giveaway was over within hours of its start time. I selected that there would be one book given and that each entrant had a 1 in 100 chance of winning. I would increase the 100 if I were to do another Amazon Giveaway as that would extend the time.

Amazon provided me with a Giveaway page code, but I never used it as the time was up so fast. They quickly sent me statistics. I had 424 Hits (people who looked at the Giveway), 175 Entrants (people who entered the Giveway), 14 Page Visits (people who went from the Giveway page to the book page).

So the exposure for my book with an Amazon Giveaway was far less than with past giveaways I ran at Goodreads, but I could increase the exposure if I changed the odds. 

I was given the name of the winner as I was with Goodreads, but with Goodreads I had to mail out the book while with Amazon they mailed out the book. Before Goodreads turned bad, the only cost I incurred was the cost of one book, envelope, and postage. Amazon charged me a "setup cost" of $27.09 and later refunded $.06. The price for my book at Amazon is now $18.64 discounted from $21.99. So I was charged $8.39 for postage and handling. It would cost me less if I mailed a copy from my own stash and paid the postage.

Conclusion: I doubt I'll do another Amazon Giveway as I don't see any particular benefit to it. It's far less costly than a Goodreads Giveaway, but had no apparent effect on sales.

But just to continue this experiment one step further, I'm going to try a Giveaway at Facebook.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Goodreads Turns Bad



Back in January Goodreads changed their Giveaway program. Prior to that time, authors could post a Giveaway for a book. No Fee! Members of the site could sign up to win a free copy. After the conclusion of the Giveaway, a winner would be picked, the author would be notified with a name and address, and a free book would go out in the mail. An author could offer multiple free copies and also run subsequent Giveaways.

I liked the program a lot. When I did a Giveaway for any of my poetry books, I’d get around 300 signups. When I did a Giveaway for one of my craft books, I’d get as many as 600 signups. These people who signed up would often indicate "I Want to Read" for the title. My book got in front of a lot of eyes and I felt kind of popular.

I liked the program so much that when I started Terrapin Books one of the promotion suggestions I routinely made to my authors was that they run a Giveaway at Goodreads. I can no longer make that suggestion, nor will I again run a Giveaway for one of my own titles. That’s because since January 8, 2018, authors and publishers are required to pay a fee for the formerly free service. That may be how the business world operates, but poets and poetry publishers simply cannot afford to pay the fees. 

Goodreads now offers two fee options:

1) the Standard package for $119 for up to 100 copies (either Kindle ebook or print book). 

2) the Premium package for $599 is available for either print books or Kindle ebooks. 

Full details can be seen at the Goodreads site. 

I’m not at all convinced that either of these options will generate sales for authors, certainly not for poets and publishers of poetry books. And there is no way that I will pay for the service, nor can I ask my authors to do so.

For one thing, while I liked the program in the past and enjoyed having my book page fill up with Want to Reads, I never saw any spike in sales following a Giveaway. Maybe I’d get one new review. I wondered if other authors shared my feelings and experience. So I put the question out to a Facebook group that I belong to. I asked if authors had found that a Giveaway generated any sales.

Not one person said Yes. Not one. Not one person said she’d pay for the service. These people, by the way, included prose writers as well as poets. One author described her experience as “I did it but I don't think it's made any difference. I will not do i t again.” 

Another said, “I did it and zero effect!” 

Another said, “I did get reviews on Goodreads from my Giveaway but no sales that I could see.” 

A publisher said, “it did not increase the sales at all.“ 

One author who paid for the new service said, “I did it right when they opened it up to ebooks and it was half off! I didn't pay for the 'featured' status or whatever but I ended up there anyway because it was brand new and there weren't many other ebooks. I'm glad I did it then because honestly it was worthless. Will not do it again.

Not too encouraging, is it? I rarely go to the Goodreads website since the change. I wonder if I’m alone in that. 

I also wonder if it would be worth trying out an Amazon Giveaway. So I’m trying it out. I just created an Amazon Giveaway for The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. There’s a form that had to be filled out. Within an hour I received a confirmation of the Giveaway request. That was very similar to a confirmation of a purchase. Then this morning I received notification that my Giveway had gone live. The notification included a link that I can share so that people will sign up, but Amazon also somehow advertises the Giveaway. I just offered one copy. There is a cost for the person running the Giveaway—the price of one book and postage. I expect that the postage fee of $8 will not actually be that high. Amazon, unlike Goodreads, ships out the book. Not free, but more affordable than $119.

I’ll let you know how this goes. In the meantime, feel free to sign up to win at this LINK.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Tribute to Charlotte Mandel

Click for Amazon
Years ago I attended a reading for the poet Charlotte Mandel. That was the first time I'd met her or heard her read. I was at the beginning of my own writing of poetry. Charlotte was in the midst of her long career as poet and publisher. After that first meeting, we met over the years at other poetry events as we're both NJ poets and lived close to each other. Since then, she has moved to the same town I live in and we often attend events together. It is my great pleasure to now call her my friend.

Yesterday I attended a book party for Charlotte's latest book, To Be the Daylight, her tenth collection, a book I was happy to blurb. The reading was held at our local library and was well attended by relatives, people who live in Charlotte's residential complex, students from the local university, and old friends. We all enjoyed a wonderful reading as Charlotte read both form poems and free verse ones—she is equally adept at both.

Here's one of the poems she read, a favorite of mine from her book and which I was proud to first publish in my craft book, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. The form is called Rimas Dissolutas. See if you can figure out its rules.



Of Clocks and Love

The radio reports conceptions of time—
that two clocks traveling at different speeds
can vary by seconds, minutes and hours.
Physicists surf waves on cosmic oceans.

A poet poor in math, I feel stymied
when scientists operate by creeds
near to religion, aiming telescopic power
to digitize mysteries of creation—

as the universe expands, space/time
swirls in a blender, milky ways bleed
ancient fires, one black hole devours
another.  What simple harmonic motion

set off this wild yo-yo we call sublime?
4.3 babies are born every minute. I meet
with joy a great-grandson—and with fears
of drought-shriveled fruits, earthquake implosion.

Still, I cross off calendar days, set a time
the radio sings me awake.  Little one, reach
out your arms to those who will adore
the beauty of your body/soul's creation.


I took some pictures and hope they will give you a sense of the reading.

After the reading, Charlotte was presented with two bouquets, 
one from her family, one from the library

Charlotte selling and signing books

 After the event, Charlotte graciously met with a group of students 
from Caldwell University and was interviewed by them.


This was a lovely day and a wonderful reading. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be in the audience.

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