The Money Pit

I feel good about my manuscript still (manuscript 2, that is). It's been probably a month since I finished it and I don't hate the poems yet. In fact, I wrote to Annie the other day that I was having a hard time thinking of them apart from the collection—that each of them were little cogs in a bigger machine. I like that. I get excited about that.

So, basically, I just want someone else to be excited about it too.

I'm sending out again today. I figure if I send to one contest a month it will be affordable and it will keep me in the game.

The hardest part about ALL of publishing, for me, is the cost. It's really, really expensive for me to constantly send work out, and sending manuscripts out is basically exorbitant. I have some cost-saving measures in place: my brother gifted me a free laser printer a few years back. I try to time my purchases of mailing supplies with holidays where I receive money as gifts.

But I think my argument is larger here: I mean, I have been afforded enough privilege in my life to even be able to send my work out consistently. I consider myself lucky, with the realization that there are people in the world creating wonderful poems, but, because of economics, can't afford to get in the game.


  1. I know what you mean, Charlie, it's really tough. I'm always amazed/awed/stunned when I read/hear stories about poets submitting 40 mss a year. I simply can't do it, it's just not in our budget. I think this is a plus though (at least for me) it makes me less rash when submitting to contests.

    That's great that you still love your ms, really great. It's a good sign--you nailed it. :-)

  2. I think the "privilege" that allows us to send stuff out is not just economic, though that's an important factor -- there's also the social privilege that allows us to say "yes, I belong in those pages too; yes, my book should be on bookstore shelves like all those others; yes, my stories deserve to be told and listened to." We are fortunate in many ways.

    I would like to have a manuscript where all the poems felt like little cogs in a bigger machine -- I am envious! The chapbook mss. I've put together have sometimes given me a sense that the poems work together and are in dialogue with one another, that they work together a bit, but never to the extent that you describe. My manuscripts always feel like temporary little constellations, or like cocktail parties where the poems get together for a while and gossip but they always end up back in their own little separate selves. I want my poems to go home together and live happily ever after.

    Good luck sending out!

  3. When I was younger with two kids and a wife and a shitty ass job. Many years upon years I did not submit manuscripts. When struggling the gear and the 25 bucks a pop can really add up.

    I remember being so pissed at one point that I swore I would never submit again until magazine's and contests took email submissions. And I also swore I'd never pay to enter a contest ever again.

    In the last year I have softened that stance and do submit to magazines that don't take email submissions. But I do remember that struggle, that awful sensation of trying to justify an expendiuture that in the big picture of my life at that time was unjustifiable.

    It was because of such feelings I left teaching...to escape that feeling.

    Somehow I made this more about me...sorry. I just know what you mean and identify. Best of luck with the manuscript...

  4. I'm excited about your ms. Can I see it? :)

    If so, drop me an e-mail. (See my blogger profile.)

    And: chin up, bud.