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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Contests & Definitions : Poetic Asides • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Contests & Definitions

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 9:56 am
by ErickMertz
This may seem like a naive series of questions, but better safe than sorry in my experience.

I read countless magazines, articles and recently, all the classifieds for writing contests. I am feeling my oats, ready to submit my work. I am, however, at the same time feeling the need to self-publish. I come from that tradition of small, hand crafted poetry journals and want to make my debut that way.

My plan was to self-publish a 64 page journal ("The Last New Year") containing new and published works in eBook and soft back this summer. I have connections and skills and publishing and thought I could make a really decent go at a quality manuscript, something I could cart around to readings and use to plant a flag. The ultimate goal, aside from readership, is to demonstrate strong work for residency applications and an MFA program.

This recent study of poetry contests has given me pause. Am I cutting myself out of some eligibility by self-publishing? Is this my, in the official world, debut? Here are some of my questions regarding the contest landscape for applicants and hopefully, some winners.

1.) When a contest describes their entry as a chapbook, does that mean the entry is your published chapbook?

2.) If it is not a contest judging the best already published book does that then logically mean that I would grab my poems in the order that I would publish them and submit them (like a massive poetry submission to a magazine)?

3.) In my reading of some contests, the award is publication. Does that mean the organization takes my winning submission and re-publishes it under their umbrella for inclusion on their list?

All of this boggles the poet's brain... thank you in advance.