February 13, 2005 post from wompo archives
For some time now, I've been looking for ways to create a more accessible publishing capability for the so many terrific poets on wom-po. Here's my idea and proposal:
As you may know, the deadline for the annual Tupelo Press Snowbound (chapbook) competition is February 15th. Beginning this year, I'd like to ask our annual judge, in addition to selecting a winner, to select one or two anonymous wom-po chapbook manuscripts for publication. Tupelo Press would publish these additional chapbooks the same way we do all our chapbooks, which is not at all like a chapbook: except for the French flaps, our chapbooks look and feel just like our regular books perfect bound with one of those gorgeous, matte varnished covers, and offset printed on heavy paper stock. They carry ISBN and LOC numbers, and like our other books, are distributed nationally by Consortium. Nowhere on our chapbooks or catalogue literature are they referred to as chapbooks, and our chapbooks have been accepted as entrants for (and won) annual awards for published full-length books. All additional chapbooks will receive our standard royalty contract, with 25 complimentary books and a 50% discount on all additional copies purchased for personal use.
I'd make this offer subject to the receipt of a sufficient number of subscriptions. There are approximately 500 womponians. Assuming enough of our members are willing to subscribe to one (or two) wompony chapbooks, Tupelo Press will publish one (or two) from this august number every year. Each womponian who subscribes will receive a package containing one or two beautifully shrink-wrapped chapbooks. That said, to make this work, I'd likely need to see a minimum of 400 subscriptions. Depending upon the number of subscriptions, we'd determine whether to publish one or two wompo chapbooks. I'm asking for indications of interest at this point, not money. If we go ahead with this offer and I sure hope we can then I'd ask for paid subscriptions. The chapbooks will cost approximately $12 each, plus postage.
Here is, I believe, a meaningful way to address the dearth of publishing opportunities, and for all of us to be supportive of the poets on this terrific list. I would propose to extend the postmark deadline for wompos one week -- to February 21st. All mss submitted should indicate wompo on the detachable cover page, along with all other required material (including the entry fee). If you have already entered, please send a backchannel note to the address provided at the end of this message. Naturally, all manuscripts will be considered for the principal prize (the one with the prize money attached).
So that I can manage the logistics, please DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS, BUT RATHER TO: firstname.lastname@example.org -- an email address I've set up solely to manage this program.
You should indicate whether you'd be willing to subscribe to (a) one, or (b) two wom-po chapbooks per year. You should also indicate whether you have already submitted a chapbook to the Snowbound competition. I need only have the title.
This is a kind of modified cooperative theory, where we (the press) pay for the production and printing and distribution and such, but the cooperative members agree to purchase the books of other cooperative members. If it works, in a year or two we'll simply do away with the contest entry fee, except for those who wish to remain eligible for the $1,000 Snowbound prize itself.
I'm sure this will generate questions, and I'm happy to try to answer them. But if you think you'd like to give it a try for this year, then go ahead and send in your chapbooks with the WOMPO indication. If we do not get sufficient indications of interest, we'll return entry fees from anyone who entered on the basis of the cooperative idea alone.
I think, among other things, that it will be very, very interesting to discover whether we can create a large, mutually-supportive group to actually do something about the difficulty in getting books published, but just to be clear, I 'll need a very high percentage involvement to make it work, as our production and printing costs are enormous.
February 18, 2005 post from wompo archives
All, We now have 85 prospective founding members of the Wompo Chapbook Collective. Below are the eight most frequently asked questions. I'll take a final tally on Friday afternoon, February 25th, then we'll see where we are. If you haven't yet joined the collective but still wish to, please send a short reply soonest to email@example.com
Q. Must I enter a chapbook in the Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Competition
to joint the collective?
A. No. Anybody who agrees to subscribe to one or more chapbooks is eligible to join the collective. Joining the collective means that your are willing to purchase one or two (your choice) wompo chapbooks per year, and that you have the right to submit a chapbook for consideration.
Q. How much will the chapbooks cost?
A. Approximately $10 - $12 per chapbook.
Q. When will the first Wompo chapbook be published?
A. It takes approximately one year to get a new book into print. We should be able to announce the first one or two selections from among the Wompo submissions by April or May, and the first Wompos book(s) should be published in the spring of 2006.
Q. When must I pay for my subscription?
A. Tupelo Press will bill the members of the collective next January (2006) -- that's an entire year to save up.
Q. Will I be able to pay by credit card?
A. Yes. You may use Visa or MasterCard
Q. For how many years must I commit?
A. One year at a time, to start.
Q. Is there a possibility that the collective will begin to publish full-length books of poetry?
A. Yes, in a year or two, if we get sufficient enrollment. Priority to founding members of the Chapbook Collective.
Q. Does Tupelo Press have a website?
A. Yes. www.tupelopress.org
May 5, 2005 post from wompo archives
I'm getting so many requests for information from Wompos who missed the
chapbook collective thread back in February. Maybe there are others who followed
the thread then, but decided to wait and think about it.
In short, Tupelo Press will publish one or two chapbooks from among the
members of the Wompos Chapbook Collective beginning next spring. Collective
members have the right to participate (i.e., to have chapbooks considered
Collective) in return for the obligation to purchase one or more chapbooks per year.
The chapbooks will cost in the neighborhood of $12 each.
No money is due until January 2006.
The commitment is year-by-year (at least, for now).
Members of the Collective will have first crack at a full-length book collective.
Members of the chapbook collective will be assigned a special place in heaven, assuming that Collective members are not immortal.
If you want to read the key postings from last February, go to the Wompo February archives at:
If you cannot click on the above, then copy and paste it into the browser window. Then scroll down to posting numbered 36, 35, 31, and 33 (read my postings in that order).