Poetry: At What Cost?

The Easter holidays finished with a bang yesterday with another cracker SpeedPoets event… This was a great end to what was a really productive few days. Yes, I have now finished tinkering with my manuscript for Ocean Hearted and am gearing up for the next phase: design, printing & promotion. With all of the decisions and questions that circle one’s head when entering this phase, I stumbled across an article in Publisher’s Weekly titled, What does it cost to do Poetry?

The article looks at data from 16 publishers in the USA in relation to what it costs to produce your average collection of poems (figures based on a collection being 80 pages, perfect bound with colour cover), how profitable poetry is/or isn’t for the press, what advances and/or royalties the poet receives and the use of prizes as a means of funding the publication of books.

It is an article that you may from the outset think would be one that hands poetry another gloomy report card, but it is an article of hope, with Knopf’s Deborah Garrison concluding, “Poetry’s power, its secret, lies in the fact that it feels outside of that world in which you can sell something to the movies. If it’s good, it’s just not about that other thing. The very thing that makes it hard to sell and makes us say that nobody cares and makes us wonder if we’ll all still be doing this is in another few years is the thing that makes it special and essential.”

As a publisher (Small Change Press and Brisbane New Voices), I found the article insightful and the figures fascinating and it has given me much to think about as I prepare for the release of Ocean Hearted. I hope that many of you check it out as it provides a meaningful insight into the world of publishing.



Filed under poetry & publishing

4 responses to “Poetry: At What Cost?

  1. That is a fascinating and heartening article, both that they are making some money out of poetry and that all of the publishers accept that they would publish poetry anyway.

    • gnunn

      This is the type of article that needs to be getting a large readership as it is so true… the cost of poetry may at times seem unprofitable, but the cost of not publishing it is far greater.

  2. I agree, great to read something that’s positive.

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