Foreword for Forever Will End On Thursday by Nic Sebastian
The options for publishing a first book for a poet in my situation (that is, with several dozen individual poems already published by a range of reputable poetry journals) are limited. I could enter the poetry contest stakes and repeatedly submit my manuscript along with hundreds or thousands of others at $25 or so a try. I could also submit to one of the relatively few presses that still read unsolicited manuscripts free. But – the merits or demerits of either option aside – the fact is that in both cases the statistical chances of success are tiny and continually dwindling in the face of growing demand.
A third option might be to self-publish my manuscript, but that process, while it has had success in some cases, is also broadly problematic, in that it lacks that key element of credibility a poetry press brings to a manuscript – the outside editor’s judgment and gravitas, which both affirm and help hone the poet’s vision.
Through the Lordly Dish Nanopress (a single-publication project), editor Jill Alexander Essbaum and I hope to pioneer a new poetry publishing model that brings together, on a one-time basis, an independent editor’s judgment and gravitas and a poet’s manuscript, effectively by-passing the poetry-contest gamble and the dwindling opportunities offered both by big presses and by heroic but limited-capacity no-fee/no-contest small presses.
There are no words to express my gratitude to Jill for so generously volunteering her time during the two years of this project, for her superlative editing skills, her sensitivity and patience, and for her belief in my work. My process notes detailing the tremendous experience of being competently edited can be found at this link. Warmest thanks also go to photographer Paula Grenside for giving permission to use one of her wonderful photos as cover art.
This process has been an intensive learning experience for me on many levels and I look forward to volunteering my own editing skills and experience to a poet looking to publish a first collection under the nanopress paradigm.
Financially – although future nanopress collaborators are obviously free to decide differently on this point – the Lordly Dish Nanopress is a no-profit enterprise. This volume is for sale directly from its print-on-demand publisher at cost-price and is also available online as a free PDF download.
This is about encouraging each other to find creative and credible new ways to get the work of more dedicated poets out past existing publication bottle-necks, while still applying credible ‘quality control’ measures. I hope other poets and one-time editors will adopt the nanopress paradigm. I hope that others still will develop ever more creative publishing paradigms for the benefit of us all.