Ideas for the field: Poetry chapbooks and PDFs

A reader recently wrote in to LDS Publisher asking, “Is there any hope of selling a poetry collection to any publisher?

The answer, of course, is: No.

LDS Publisher puts it more diplomatically, of course:

The only way you’re going to sell a book of poetry to an LDS publisher is if it’s a gift book, a children’s picture book, or part of an anthology (like Especially for Mormons)–but even those are tough sells.

In my comment, I point out that even though Signature stills publishes about one volume of poetry a year, if you are simply looking to publish Mormon poetry, then Dialogue, Irreantum, Sunstone, Segullah and BYU Studies are really your only options.

This brought to my mind Kent Larsen’s posts on poetry chapbooks — News: Poetry Chapbook from MAG and The Importance of Chapbooks — both are must reads for Mormon poets. Continue reading “Ideas for the field: Poetry chapbooks and PDFs”

Ideas for the field: Online creative rights database

One of my early frustrations with trying to get up-to-speed with the world of Mormon narrative fiction was the lack of published plays. If one has access to an academic library (which I did for the first 9 years of my engagement with the field), it’s easy to get novels and short story collections through InterLibrary Loan. And oftentimes you could even get photocopies of individual short stories. However, other than Sunstone, no one really publishes Mormon plays.

My next idea for the field, then, is the creation of a Mormon-themed creative rights database. This is content that isn’t easy to acquire from libraries and that could reasonably expect some sort of usage fee to use and/or view the work. Continue reading “Ideas for the field: Online creative rights database”

Ideas for the field: reader-oriented e-commerce site

Note: this is the third in a series of posts of ideas for improving/growing/sustaining the field of Mormon narrative arts.

There are plenty of online stores selling Mormon fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. From the various LDS publishers Web sites to Mormon-oriented stores like LDS Living and Latter-day Harvest to national super sellers like Amazon.com.

The problem with publishers Web sites is that the selection is limited to what they publish ““ and often they only have a few titles of fiction or a few titles in a fiction category each year. Deseret Book has the widest selection, but even their offerings are limited and although somewhat organized by genre, they still don’t ofter a ton of support to the genre fan. And, of course, you can find almost anything on Amazon or, if it’s not there, Half.com.

What is missing is a way for readers who are in to a particular genre to become engaged with a specific genre ““ to become fans who keep up on the latest titles and news about authors, trends in the field, etc. Deseret Book does solicit comments on individual titles, but you have to know to seek out that title to read what people are saying. Continue reading “Ideas for the field: reader-oriented e-commerce site”

Ideas for the field: writers co-op

Note: this is the second in a series of posts of ideas for improving/growing/sustaining the field of Mormon narrative arts.

A writers co-op can come in a variety of forms and levels of investment. In fact, the Mormon market already has a co-op: LDStorymakers. This is what I would term a “weak” co-op in that you have to be a published author to join and you pay a yearly membership fee, but the cooperative effort is in the form of discussion, mentoring, marketing advice, sharing experience with publishers, etc. The group also organizes a yearly . I think that considering the Mormon market, LDStorymakers is a good response to the needs of working authors (although I’d like to see them branch out and offer a contest for unpublished writers). Continue reading “Ideas for the field: writers co-op”

Ideas for the field: small press distributor

In my Diversity or Dilution? post, I wrote “But I’m going to think about this and see if any brilliant ideas pop into my head.” No brilliant ideas yet. I wasn’t expecting any. However, I have begun thinking about all the various things I can think of for helping out the field. I’m not an expert on any of them — and so far my list is up to 9. So rather than doing a lengthy analysis, my plan is do a series of short posts with a very brief pros and cons analysis. First up: a small press distributor. Continue reading “Ideas for the field: small press distributor”