Reflecting on Submission Guidelines and ...

Reflecting on Submission Guidelines and the Pressures of Limited Resources

May 12, 2023

Today, I want to take a moment to offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of our small press. We find ourselves reflecting on a recent exchange that sparked spirited conversations within our vibrant community—a moment that forced us to revisit our submission guidelines and consider the delicate balance between creative freedom and the limitations of our resources.

Allow me to provide some context. We received an impassioned comment from a concerned individual, a white gentleman who voiced his reservations about our request for exclusive submissions. In his viewpoint, this guideline seemed to perpetuate patriarchal ideals by seemingly limiting poets' options and discouraging them from exploring multiple publishing opportunities simultaneously. To him, it felt like a restriction on creative freedom and an unnecessary burden.

At first, we felt compelled to reevaluate our stance, to question whether we were inadvertently reinforcing patriarchal frameworks within our guidelines. We embarked on thoughtful discussions, meticulously dissecting each element of our submission process and the reasoning behind our requests. It was a moment of introspection, where we sought to uphold our commitment to inclusivity and equal representation.

Throughout this process, we realized that our call for exclusive submissions is not rooted in a desire to control or stifle creative expression. Instead, it stems from the realities of running a small press, where we operate with limited resources and a dedicated team of one—our founder. As a sole individual managing the press, there are practical limitations to consider.

We understand that our fellow poets lead vibrant lives, with multiple opportunities beckoning for their work to be shared. We acknowledge that larger presses, backed by extensive resources, may be able to provide quicker responses and publish at a faster pace. Our intention is not to restrict poets or monopolize their options but to ensure that each submission receives the dedicated attention and thoughtful consideration it deserves.

By requesting exclusive submissions, we aim to create an environment where our founder can diligently read, evaluate, and engage with each piece in a timely manner. This process allows us to honour our commitment to providing a thorough and personalized review for every submission. It is an acknowledgement of the value we place on the work of each poet who entrusts us with their words.

Additionally, our choice to request exclusivity also arises from the complexities of navigating publishing agreements with other presses. We have encountered situations in the past where simultaneous submissions resulted in conflicts with other publishers' demands for first rights or exclusivity. These conflicts not only caused disappointment for our contributors but also posed challenges to our ability to present a cohesive and impactful collection of anti-patriarchal poetry.

We want to emphasize that fostering dialogue and remaining open to diverse perspectives lie at the core of our small press's ethos. The comment from the concerned individual served as a powerful reminder that even with the purest intentions, our actions can be subject to interpretation and critique. It is through such feedback that we grow, learn, and refine our approach.

As we move forward, we invite you, our cherished community, to continue sharing your thoughts and feedback. Your voices play a pivotal role in shaping our evolution, fostering a collective vision that upholds the principles of transparency, inclusivity, and respect.

In closing, we express our profound gratitude for your unwavering support and understanding. Together, let us embrace the essence of exclusivity, recognizing the unique challenges faced by small presses and the importance of ensuring each poet's work is carefully considered.

With love,

Becks, Editor-in-Chief

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