Poetry Anthology Publishers & Publishing:
a poetry scam or a genuine opportunity?
Honest Poetry Contests?
If your poetry is above average, enter it in one of our Utmost Christian Poetry Contests and you could win up to $1,000 or other prizes totalling more than $7,000 this year. Our contests are straight-forward and honest. You can see our current contest here.
Our Novice Christian Poetry Contest accepts entries from March 1 – August 31, and offers prizes totalling at least $2000 in cash.
Our Utmost Christian Poetry Contest accepts entries from September 1 – February 28, and offers prizes totalling at least $3,000 in cash.
*Important Update on Poetry.com, Noble House and Lulu
Poetry.com has become a "business failure" and its web site has been purchased by lulu.com. Judging from the notice posted at poetry.com, it's hard to say if Lulu will carry on the tradition of vanity anthologies so long perpetrated by Poetry.com and its many namesakes…including Noble House.
We have received notices from at least a half dozen poets who paid Poetry.com for books and have not received their books. We searched Lulu's site looking for any way to contact Lulu to ask about these orders. We thought they might provide a way to answer questions from concerned people who have paid for a product. Sadly, there is no way to contact anyone from Lulu. We are forced to assume that—like the scoundrels who ran Poetry.com previously—Lulu is interested in only one thing... profit.
We wanted to give Lulu a chance and see how they treated poets and what their business model is.
We now give Lulu a failing grade, and strongly recommend that poets avoid doing business with Lulu. There is no evidence that Lulu is anything other than a new face on a tired old abuser of poets.
If you have any experience with Lulu—we want to hear from you!
Noble House Publishing
We receive a disturbing number of emails from people who claim to have paid Noble House for books and not received them. We receive a nasty notes obviously directed at Noble House by people who feel they have been cheated. We are not affiliated with Noble House. Please do not send your "Noble hate mail" to us.
Below is an email sent from Noble House—a publisher claiming to have offices in London, Paris and New York—to an American poet. Although the letter is from 2003 it is virtually identical to letters sent in 2006 by the same company.
We are interested in hearing from any poets who have actually received a book from Noble House. We have posted some of our comments below the letter.
Office of the Publisher
Dear Hopeful Poet,
As you may know, Noble House is one of the world's foremost publishers of fiction and nonfiction works by new and established authors.*1 Our poetry division in the U.K. has had the honour of publishing the poetry of more than 800 poets over the past twelve years. Recently I had the pleasure of reading the poetry that you have had published in the United States. I congratulate you on this grand endeavour, and propose to you that your singular talent and vision deserves appropriate recognition in Europe as well.*2
For this reason, I have posted this letter to request your permission to include one of your poems in Theatre of the Mind, a new poetry edition that is being published in the U.K. by Noble House and slated for worldwide distribution*3 . . . a collection of poetry that is perhaps unlike any you have ever seen . . . one where each poem is featured on its own page, and one whose quality is reminiscent of the finest 19th century antique poetry books.*4
Hearken back, if you will, to the days of Emily Dickinson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and William Wordsworth . . the age of grand bookmaking. Poetry editions were some of the most highly prized volumes because of their intimate attention to detail - quality typography, fine ivory laid paper, and colourful ornate covers.*5
Hopeful Poet, for this Edition, we've returned to the traditional size, style, and quality of these classic 19th century antique poetry books.*6
Scheduled for release in early Summer 2003, Theatre of the Mind will surely become one of your most treasured keepsakes. Your publication in this edition will establish you as an international author and afford you the respect and admiration attendant to such an honour.*7 International Copyright notice for your poetic artistry will, of course, be in your name, assuring that you will retain worldwide rights to your work of art.*8
Best of all, should you decide to obtain a copy of the edition for your personal library, or as a wonderful personalised gift (you are, naturally, under no obligation to purchase a copy, notwithstanding the publication of your work in this edition), as you proudly turn its pages you'll find it one of the best values on the book market today.*9 At only £28.95 (U.S. $45.55) for a hardbound, 225-page edition printed in two colours on ivory laid vellum, with a highly detailed, finely crafted, ornate cover, and a single poem to a page, this Edition promises to exceed your expectations, and will enjoy pride of place in your home. In fact, its quality is guaranteed. If for any reason you are dissatisfied, your money will be completely refunded in U.S. dollars with proper dispatch.
Hopeful Poet, you may also wish to consider giving the public some insight about you and your artistry for this poetic showcase . . . perhaps the meaning behind your poem, or your own philosophical perspective. Because an entire page in the book is devoted to honouring your poetry, we can feature this additional material about you and your poetry on the recto leaf opposite your poem (you will thus have two full pages devoted to you and your artistry).*10
Hopeful Poet, may we have permission to publish your work in the United Kingdom? Regardless of whether you purchase a copy or not, the international public deserves to see more of your artistic talent.*11
You may submit your poem
P.S. For poets who may wish to obtain supplementary copies for gift-giving, to display, or for merchandising, special case pack discounts are available. Please consult the submission and order form for further details.
Please proceed to next page to submit your poem.
*1 In light of this, we find it interesting that on August 24. 2003, Amazon.com lists no titles published by Noble House. Considering its self-proclaimed status as a "foremost publisher" we find this astounding.
*2 Notice the extravagant flattery aimed at the reader?
*3 We suspect that "worldwide distribution" is to be interpreted rather loosely here. The fact that Noble House will accept pre-paid orders from anywhere in the world probably makes this a "worldwide distribution."
*4 Judging from the sample image displayed at the very spartan Noble House web site, the quality of these books is also reminiscent of Reader's Digest condensed books—which is to say they look a lot like any other hardbound book. It doesn't appear to us that there has been any unusual effort at all. One poem to a page is the usual format for any book of poetry. (We have it on good authority that Nobel House uses electronic print-on-demand technology to put each poet's poem at the very front of the book that poet receives, a technique seemingly intended to flatter each poet into believing that all other recipients of the book are seeing the same thing—which they are not, of course.)
*5 Observe how the letter writer uses names of famous poets that would be recognizable even by persons not well-acquainted with poetry. In this way the reader is not-so-subtley sucked into believing she deserves to be listed alongside these titans of poetry.
*6 A lot of puffing about nothing. And besides, if they're interested in your poetry, why all this talk about the physical appearance of the book. Why these references to deceased famous poets? Can you guess what's coming?
*7 Oh my goodness, international respect and admiration!!! The writer is clearly counting on the ignorance of the reader regarding what is required of a poet in order to acheive such status. Indeed, the writer of this letter presumes the reader knows next-to-nothing about legitimate poetry publishing.
*8 According to the Berne Convention, subscribed to by 96 countries, the work of a poet is automatically copyright from the moment it is produced in a tangible form. Of course if the reader of this letter knows nothing about publishing, this promise of copyright has a magical ring to it.
*9 A great value? You knew it was coming, didn't you? That's the pitch here, to sell you a book based on your vanity. As for value, on April 6, 2003, Amazon.com lists a hardbound copy of noted poet William Stafford's work (304 pages) for $26 US, not including a 25% discount. Considering the relative sizes of the books, Noble House's "best value" is at least twice the price it ought to be.
*10 Yes, and if you go to the Noble House web site you can see just how much this frill will cost you in American dollars. If you choose to have a poem appear with your comments you can expect to pay $69 (US) for your book—plus $8 per book for shipping. Here in Canada, that amounts to about $113 for a 225 page book, at least 4 times the reasonable price for a hard bound book.
*11 This cleverly worded sentence in no way indicates that your work will be printed if you fail to order a copy of the book.
If you have never published poetry with a "real" publisher, here is what a genuine acceptance letter looks like:
We are pleased to inform you that your poem, "Poem Title," has been accepted by Poetry Magazine for publication in our October 2006 issue.
Please find our check enclosed in the amount of $25 for First North American Rights. Upon publication you will also receive two complimentary contributor copies of Poetry Magazine.
Poetry Magazine Editor
You'll notice that in a genuine acceptance letter the absurd flattery is absent, and that they are paying you for the work—not the other way around.
UPDATE: According to latest information there is the possibility that a number of "publishers" operating under various names represent the same people. These companies may be using different "faces" in order to multiply their opportunities to sell poetry anthologies and other merchandise to you. Use common sense and do some research before you send money to a company that promises to publish your poetry. For instance, if you type "Poetry.com complaints" into the Google search engine and read the top results, you should get some idea of other people's experiences.
The following companies may be working in close cooperation, and could include sharing your private information between themselves. In fact, Poetry.com has admitted to us that it has shared its mailing lists with Noble House.
Noble House Publishers
International Library of Poetry
National Library of Poetry
International Society of Poets
International Poetry Hall of Fame
International Society of Photography
Arts and Kids
On October 13, 2003 we addressed a letter to Poetry.com as follows:
As a webmaster for a poetry site, I have been receiving numerous emails asking about your relationship to Noble House Publishers. Although you may have no formal relationship to them, it has become obvious that there is some sort of connection. People whose only poetry publication experience has been through Poetry.com have been contacted directly by Noble House, with specific references to their publication at Poetry.com. This implies a likely connection. I have now received dozens of complaints from poets who have paid Noble House for books and received nothing in return. This possible fraudulent activity has the potential to reflect very badly on Poetry.com, because of the perceived connection between your two companies. Please have someone contact me to discuss this.
On October 15, 2003 we received an email from Eric Mueck at Poetry.com in response. It absolutely confirms that Poetry.com and Noble House are the same entity:
Thank you for your email. Last Spring Poetry.com wanted to give participating poets the opportunity for their poetry to get more exposure internationally. We contacted Noble House Publishers and after their review we were able to provide poets a different type of publishing opportunity.
I've spoken with Nigel Hillary and have been told there are still products to be fulfilled. He told me anyone whose (sic) inquiring to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once again thank you for your email.
It's our experience that Nigel Hillary's email is inoperative. We're not sure there is a Nigel Hillary. If there is, we invite him to contact us personally by phone. We would like to hear his point of view on this.
We occasionally receive letters from poets who do not appreciate our assessment of vanity press such as Noble House and Poetry.com. Here's an example from July 24, 2003:
We want to emphasize that it is not our intention to ridicule people who have had their work appear in vanity anthologies. Most people who are so published are unaware of the nature of the publishers with whom they are dealing. It's our purpose to provide information only. Most of the directors of Utmost Christian Writers Foundation have had their poetry published numerous times in varied publications and we are conducting no personal vendetta based on bitterness or spite.
Compare "P.D.'s" letter above to this note from Deanna Rivera:
I am writing this to inform you that Noble House and "Theatre of the Mind" are a scam. I have been searching for poets published in the book and have found several. They all have three things in common:
Gregory Hargrove is one of the "customers" of Noble House who says he has been cheated. He sent us a copy of his credit card statement which clearly indicates a payment to Noble House. Gregory says he has not received a book. On October 8, he wrote to me as follows:
I have recently read your Noble House assessment on your web-site, as well as the reply by one reader. Just as an FYI, Noble House is a fraud. They have not mailed any copies of their book to any of the authors who were to be published. Actually, we have managed to "find" one person that says they have a copy. It seems that no one had their poem published as promised, but were still charged by their book order. I completely agree with your assessment on your web-page.
Thanks a lot!
Another related link in regards to Poetry.com.