Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Do You Tell Someone?

I recently had someone send me an e-mail about Poetry.com after seeing me mention that I dealt with them when I was a teenager. I had referred to it as a "scam" and they couldn't figure out why.

How do you bring up a topic like that to someone? Poetry.com is a scam in the sense that they are only out to get your money. Yes, they publish your poem in a book. No, you can't buy it at any bookstores anywhere. It's a giant book that will cost you way too much to purchase, and your poem will probably be small and insignificant in a stream of other poems. Poetry.com will publish anything. People have purposely submitted terrible poetry to them, and they got published!

To cap it all off, they tempt you with awards and honors, then expect you to pay to get them! For more information, see some of the complaints.

So, how do you tell someone so excited about writing that they are falling into a trap? I was just a teenager when they lured me in, but I know many adults who have fallen for it too. I still look at that "published" poem differently now, after I figured it out. I hate to break someone's heart, but part of me thinks that once they figure it out by themselves, they'll be much stronger for it.

7 comments:

Dawn Embers said...

I had this problem with a writing group on a diet web site. At first they didn't believe me when I said that poetry.com is a scam. But I found some web sites that talked about it and posted them. Helps to have evidence.

Laurie said...

I fell for them too. Pre-internet and pre.com.

It's probably better to let people figure it out for themselves (Only if they don't figure it out quickly the terrible embarrassment of having told a million people is added to the anger of being scammed, and the hurt of never being able to look at a piece of poetry the same way.)

Janet, said...

Yes, I agree, it sounds like a scam to me. It reminds me of the who's who books that students get their names in. Their name is put in those, tho, whether you buy the book or not. It's just that the book is so huge and your name and accomplishments are so tiny among all the many others. But vanity sometimes tempts the parents to buy the book.

Auntie Flamingo said...

This is great advice about Poetry.com. However people can take it or leave it. You did your part to inform people and then you need to let them make their own decisions.

If it was someone telling me not to join something I was passionate about I would listen to their advice but I would investigate it further and make my own judgement. Maybe that was what this person was doing?

I welcome advice and comments to help me in both writing and life but in the end I know the decisions are up to me.

Thanks for posting this.
Aunti Flamingo
http://auntieflamingo.blogspot.com/

Holly Jahangiri said...

Well, you tell them that just because Poetry.com publishes crap doesn't mean they're not equally delighted to publish good poetry - getting published by Poetry.com doesn't mean your poetry is crap, it just doesn't serve as a respectable publishing credit.

I know professional writers (as in published book authors who make their primary living through their writing) who think Poetry.com is a fine publisher, and they're proud to claim it. They've been to the conventions and claimed their silver bowls. They networked with other writers (which may, in fact, be one valuable aspect of these things). So, you know - you can give your opinion but once you've said your piece, don't make them feel bad about their choice.

Crystalee said...

Very good point, Holly. I've never heard some one be so diplomatic about it before.

I guess what really annoys me is that they get ahold of some people who aren't informed enough to think about it about the pros and cons. For example, I dealt with them when I was just a naive 14-year-old looking for someone to respect my poetry.

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