Since Fly on the Wall opened for chapbook submissions, I have been flooded with a wealth of talent and support for the press (so truly, thank you). However, from the poets submitting to submission call one, just 34% of poets had ever read a book published by Fly on the Wall.
This is a trend across the indie publishing industry, from magazines to book publishers. How do these writers know that they wish to be published by a press which they have never observed the quality of, never read the style of and never supported?
Poetry and publishing is a crowded market and so there is a lot of choice for writers wanting to submit their work for publication. This choice is a great thing but can sometimes encourage writers to spread their work too thinly, in the hope that the more publications they submit to, the more likely they are to be published. I would argue that this is often not the case.
It is immediately clear to me when poets submit work without reading the mission statement of Fly on the Wall – to publish socially conscious work. It is immediately clear when poets have not read my anthologies because their work does not stand for any political statement or attempt to rectify the under presentation of marginalised voices – it is instead solipsistic.
Of course, poets are not made of money. In fact, we rarely get paid a fair wage for our art. However, Fly on the Wall's ebooks are just £2.99. That’s less than a festive coffee from Starbucks. That’s also conserving your precious time – because your submission will be accurate to the style and voice of the press. It’s also money to charity and funding for that very same book you want published. (Fly on the Wall Press is a not for profit, which means any funds from book sales go back into publishing books.)
The real problem facing the publishing industry, particularly poetry publishing, is that writers are not buying from the very same presses they want their royalties from.
Please – if you are considering submitting to any independent press, buy a book first. It genuinely makes a world of difference to both parties!