A Difficult Decision

When this year began, I had two chapbooks under contract. Then, I found out my chapbook Blighted Feast wasn't coming into the world. No one really publishes horror poetry collections, so I have to publish it myself or let it go entirely. No one is at fault.

On December 11th of 2018, my chapbook Body: Blessed & Bitter was accepted by a press I admire. Their books are gorgeous. The editor gets amazing press and seems sweet. I thought I hit the lottery. It's now the last third of 2021, and I pulled my chapbook on Saturday. No work was even started on it.

I told the editor that I want to see if I can make the chapbook into a full collection because other small collections of mine have similar themes. As long as the editor wasn't moving on my work... why not? I understand my chemotherapy took me out for a few months in 2019 (and COVID messed up a lot for people in 2020), but poets had chapbooks published that were accepted far after mine. 

The reports on Yelp, Twitter, and the Better Business Bureau also aided in my decision. I didn't want people to not receive the copies they paid for, even if it was a rare occurrence. Some of the same reasons I was given as to why my book wasn't published were some of the same I saw listed on complaints. I didn't tell the editor/publisher of my concerns, but the reports contributed to my decision. Poets (like me) are also sometimes kept in publication purgatory. 

I feel so dejected now. My career is a joke. I waited so long to publish more than "just" individual poems in literary magazines (though I still celebrate each one). If my chapbook would've come out when it was first, second, or third said to be slated... my mom would've been able to hold a copy in her hands.

Maybe my full-length collection will bear fruit in another couple of years, but I don't hold out much hope for it...


  1. Ugh! So frustrating. Publishing can be such a gamble sometimes. Maybe even more so for poetry. You should take some pride in having had publisher interest at all…that's a kind of validation in and of itself. I hope you someday get a paper edition of your work to hold in your hands. When you do, pop me a link so I can have one, too!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I feel shattered... in an odd way. Maybe time will numb this.