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from the Publisher...
08/29/09
For a poet, there is nothing more frustrating than to send out his/her precious poems only to wait and wait and wait for a response from the editor. I've "been there, done that" and when I started miller's pond I was determined to be a "better" editor / publisher. Well, guess what. I'm not.

Right now I'm sitting in my office chair (which happens to be the livingroom recliner) and staring at a BOX full of submissions that have been gathering dust since 2008. I didn't mean to let those submissions pile so high. And to this date I haven't published the 2009 issue.

Am I going to do a 2009 issue? It wasn't in my plans. Publishing takes money and this year money has been especially tight (as you all are experiencing that yourselves). No one buys poetry anymore, it seems....but they all want to be published.

I empathize. I sympathize. But I doubt I can change the world. It has always been like that.

As you may or may not know, I make my living as a webmaster. I have over 70 clients scattered across the U.S. and my first priority is always with them. When there are "slumps" in the field of webmaster work, that is when I concentrate on doing something with mp. There just hasn't been any slumps for me in that area lately, however. I lost 2 important clients last year - one came back after he realized the "better deal" he was getting with his new webmaster wasn't such a "deal" afterall and the other one just went out of business. But, where one business fails, another crops up and I got a new client in the process. So I've evened out there. But the work load has increased, leaving me less time than usual to attend to mp and editor David Cazden wanted to do other things with his time, which left me with no editor to pawn that BOX off on. And as of this writing I noticed I haven't even posted the 2008 edition on the order page - so I've fallen down that rabbit hole in Wonderland and transformed into Alice's White Rabbit, forever late!

Well, bear with me while I juggle my schedule and see what I can do to give mp the attention it deserves. There's much more to come, I promise.

12/30/08
 Where does the time go?  I turn around and not only has another year gone by, but this web site is sorely out of date.  I don't even have the 2008 print issue of mp posted, and it has been out since late summer.
 
Seems like there's always something taking me away from attending to this web site.  Good thing Web Editor Julie Damerell is willing to step in and get new editions of the web issues posted.  For that reason, I've changed the look of the web site and made the menu more automated so when a new page is posted, it reflects in the menu.  That's something I should have done a long time ago.
 
What's been keeping me busy this past year is my health.  I've had 4 surgeries this year and 5 hospitalizations.  My last surgery was another hip replacement - which is scheduled to be redone because it popped out of socket!  So I'll be back in the hospital for 3 days followed by two weeks of rehabilitation beginning Jan. 10.  Hopefully that will be the end of it for a long, long time.
 
Because of my health issues, I've been a bit slower at my "day job," which always takes priority,  and given there's only 24 hours in a day, the day job eats up nearly all of my time. 
On a sad note, I've had to suspend the print issue for 2009 due to time constraints as well as the fact that there just aren't enough poets supporting the magazine.  Seems EVERYONE wants to get published in miller's pond, but NOBODY wants to purchase an issue - not even the poets who have been published in mp.  Oh, there are the rare poets like Robert Cooperman who year after year buy a couple of copies, and god bless them for it.  
 
Many people don't realize that miller's pond is simply a labor of love for me.  The time and money involved in making this magazine happen comes totally out of my pocket.  I get no grants, I have no sponsors to off-set the costs.  Between the website hosting and the cost of printing an issue of mp, I spend well over $500 a year to make this magazine exist.  If you want to see mp continue, and you'd like to see print issues resume in 2010, purchase a past issue or two, or better yet, send a donation and I'll see to it that you get your money's worth.
 
03/23/07
 

Well, here it is, another year gone by and another issue of mp is now in print.  Yes, mp 2007 is back from the printer and is being prepared for mailing.  In a very short time you will be able to order the latest issue right from our store on the web.  Contributors, of course, will be receiving their comp copies in the mail within two to three weeks, along with the opportunity to order additional copies at a 50% discount.  But whether or not you are a contributor, I urge you to buy a copy to help keep mp in business.  I have decided if I do not get adequate sales from this issue, it will be mp's last hard copy issue.  If poets are not willing to help support mp, mp can't be willing to help support them by publishing them in a magazine they are not interested in buying.  Sad but true fact.

Speaking of contributors, there are a number of submissions still laying on my desk that have not been answered with even a rejection letter.  I apologize for the long wait.  But you may find it comforting to know that if you sent a submission from Sept. through now, at least you aren't being rejected on the quality of the poem, but rather on the fact that mp filled its pages and there was simply no room to accept any more at this time.  Sorry for the delay in responding to submissions, but mp is simply a labor of love, we don't make our living off of it and it must take a back seat to our real day jobs.  Even the editors receive only a few copies for all their hard work.

A curious thing happened in this issue I have to gripe about.  This year our accepted poets were asked to email a copy of the accepted poem/s to help cut down on typos and expedite the publication process.  What I received back from many of the poets (most of the poets, in fact), were poems which had been edited and changed from the poems that had originally been accepted.  Words and entire lines were taken out, new stanzas were inserted, etc.  This made the process of proofreading the poems all but impossible.  If you are one of the contributors who sent back an edited poem and you find an error in your poem that appears in print, you have no one to blame but yourself.  DON'T make the editors and publishers any crazier than they already are - if you are asked to submit an accepted poem via email, then send the poem as you originally submitted it in hard copy.  It boggles my mind that any poet would do otherwise.

 
11/23/06
 

Today I tweaked some of the pages -  the guidelines for submissions, mostly.  We did away with the electronic forms.  They weren't working too well, anyway.  Now it is just a matter of sending emails to Julie at the appropriate address (in the guidelines) to submit to the web version.  To submit to the hard copy, we ask for hard copy of poems be sent to the miller's pond address (also in guidelines).  READ the guidelines carefully to know what to submit.

Happy writing and Happy Thanksgiving.


 
10/27/06
 

The front page of mp has changed a little.  After a long pondering on what, exactly, the front page should contain, I've come up with the idea of featuring a poem.  How original, eh?  And you are probably wondering why such a "no-brainer" took so long to arrive.  To tell the truth, I've concentrated on the web sites other pages, first, leaving the all important face for last.  Not the approach a number of editors would have chosen, I grant you.  What can I say?  I march to a different drum, I guess.

Then again, don't all poets?  It is probably one of the reasons people become poets in the first place, they hear a different beat than the mainstream audience hears.  Ah, well, better late than never, wouldn't you say?

Chatterings are in the wind that Web Editor Julie Damerell is getting ready with another edition of poetry from the masses.  Check back soon to see it.

While I'm on the subject of editors, I wonder how many of you have caught, in the Editors section, that David Cazden is no longer the editor of the hard copy of mp.  He has decided to take a year off to pursue his MFA.  Replacing him is Bea O'Brien, poet and author of several chapbooks of poetry, including Loon Lake Journal from H&H Press and a novel, One Track.  More info on Bea can be found at her website: http://members.tripod.com/~poetstheater/bea.html

9/20/06

It's amazing to me how many submissions I receive that are clearly not miller's pond material.  I doubt the poets who send such stuff even bother to read our guidelines before submitting.  For instance, the other day I got a complete manuscript I was suppose to "read and select" poems from.  Really, if there are more than 5 pages of poetry I simply stuff the material back inside the SASE and mail it back, (if there even is one, in this case there wasn't so it went into the trash).  Another poet sent 3 poems - all hand written.  Another sure-fire way to NOT get read.

Another thing that bugs me is the lack of appropriate stamps on the return envelope.  Many poets send in 5 poems, plus a cover letter, then have the postage on the return envelope for 5 pages, not six.  So I am to leave off the coverletter?  And not include a rejection letter?  What does a poet think when she/he gets the envelope back without either the cover letter or a rejection slip from me?  And if one of the poems is a two page poem, bringing the total to 6 pages of poetry, what am I to leave out then?  It's clearly a toss-up on my part on what goes in that envelope and what doesn't.  Most of the time I must hand write that the postage wasn't adequate to return all of the previous contents.  Makes me feel like an evil editor to leave poems out.  Before sending your work out, imagine yourself as the editor, opening the slush pile, trying to decide what goes, what stays and what to say to the poet in question.

 2/26/06 

In revising the website, I was amazed that nearly three years has passed since I made an entry to Ponderings.  While I'm still renovating the site, I will make a couple of quick observations here today.

David Cazden has completed and submitted the 2006 issue of mp for publication.  Now it is just a matter of time before the magazine is printed and shipped.

This issue contains a few changes.  There will be no Contest winners announced.  This is because there was only one entry that qualified for the Loella Cady Lamphier Prize for Poetry Contest.  By qualified I mean that the entries were submitted correctly according to the LCL Contest Rules.  Of the entries that were submitted but did not qualify, they either had the poet's name and/or address on the poems, did not use the required specifications for paper/font/font size/poem length/etc., or were not accompanied by the reading fee.  It amazes me how many poets do not bother to follow the guidelines of our magazine or contests before submitting. 

Of the one poet who DID submit to the contest correctly, her "reward" for doing so will be a free copy of mp - and I'll be sending her uncashed check back to her, as well.  I'll announce who that is at a later date, but for now, if she's reading this, I'm sure she already knows.


 6/23/03 

Today is the first day we've awakened to clear skies since May 1!  It's been so long since we've had decent weather that I forgot what it is like.  Such a long, cool, wet spring and (so far) summer makes for miserable dispositions, and your's truly is Queen of Misery right now.  Hopefully the sun will stick around long enough to lift my (and everyone else's) spirits.

The good news, however, is that the 2003 edition of mp is available and is one of the best issues ever.  The printer did an excellent job and I'm as proud as any parent can be of this baby. 
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 2/04/03 

So here it is, the second month into 2003 already!  Have you taken steps to fulfill your New Year's Writing Resolution yet?  Get at it, and submit!

You can't get published if you don't submit. 

The nation mourns the loss of more heroes with the tragedy of the Columbia space shuttle.  As with 9/11/01, I'm sure much of our healing will be through words, be they in story, song or poetic form.

The next issue of mp is being prepared for the press as I write this.  The pond, once again, sparkles with a stunning school of poets selected by Editor David Cazden.

The winners of the 2003 Loella Cady Lamphier Prize for Poetry Contest have been announced - the list is visible on the 2003 Print Issue page.  There were so many great poems in the contest this year, Judge Vivian Shipley actually chose 14 Honorable Mentions instead of the usual 10.  My congratulations to each poet who entered, for the competition was as stiff as a February wind.

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 11/10/02 

Hello, again, Dear Poets.

The year is quickly coming to an end, and the 2003 issue is now closed to submissions.  We have a great line-up of Poets for you - some familiar, as well as some new to the Pond.  Robert Cooperman returns with an interesting ballad from the old West and our Featured Poet has made more appearances in on-line publications than in print magazines, so I'm pleased to give her work the exposure it deserves on the printed page.

The winners of the Loella Cady Lamphier Prize for Poetry has also been selected, and Judge Vivian Shipley had quite a task of choosing from all the excellent poems submitted.  I'll announce the winners in Dec.  If you sent in an SASE for a list of the winners, look for it in your mail box soon.

Keep checking the Guidelines often for the latest changes in our policies.  Our reading period has changed, and soon the mailing address will change for those who prefer to submit for our hard copy version via U.S. mail instead of electronically.  A reminder, though:  both editors now prefer to deal with electronic submissions, so if you haven't tried to use our on-line submission form, please do so.

As much as we'd like to go to press twice a year, we are still currently an annual magazine.  This remains so due to a number of factors.  Based on the volume of quality submissions we receive, coupled with the number of copies sold, we could either produce two smaller issues a year, or publish one double issue.  We opted for the latter, as it is more cost-effective for us.  In effect, our subscribers are getting the same number of great poems in a single issue once a year that they would get if the magazine were published twice a year, but at a lower price than if they had to pay for a 2-issue subscription.  If you would like to see the hard copy version of miller's pond published twice a year, help spread the word...and buy a copy today!
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 8/18/02 

Editor Dave Cazden tells me some of the submissions he's recently looked at have contained SASE's with the old postage rate.  Because we are a VERY small publishing house, with an even smaller budget, we cannot afford to pay the extra postage on these submissions when we return them, so in all likelyhood, they will either be returned to the sender as Postage Due, or the postoffice will refuse to deliver them.  If you sent us a submission several months ago, prior to the postage rates increase, and you didn't take into account that your submission would be returned after the postage rates increased, you need to be aware of this fact.  You also need to be aware that we DO post a reading period, and that submissions sent prior to or after that period may take longer to respond to than submissions sent during the reading period.  If you are not familiar with this reading period, please read our  Guidelines- the link is conveniently on the left side of this web page.

If you haven't purchased a copy of the 2003 Poets Market published by Writer's Digest Books, do so.  It not only has a terrific interview with me in it - providing you with a ton a valuable insights into the publishing world of small press magazines, but there are lots of terrific interviews by other authors, editors, and publishers, plus hundreds of markets, both on-line and in-print, for you to submit your work to.  It's definitely one of the most valuable reference books you should have on your shelf!
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 5/20/02 

The moment you have all been waiting for - very patiently, I might add, has finally arrived.  miller's pond 2002 is back from the printer and will be in your mailbox soon, if you ordered a copy, that is.

It seems no matter how many proof-readers I have, including myself, and no matter how many times we each read the issue before it goes to the printer, we are inevitably disappointed to find errors we missed when we get the magazine back in our hands.  Is there a magazine or book publisher out there that has ever produced a 100% perfect publication?  If so, I'd like to know.  On the other hand, maybe I don't.  Our only consolation on the matter of typos is that other publishers share the same plight.  We are, afterall, only human (sad, but true).

Enough about our faults.  For some good news, new print editor David Cazden's info is on his page (check out Editor's Log on the left column on your screen).

I will be working on the Loella Cady Lamphier Prize for Poetry Contest, lining up the judge, etc. within the next couple of weeks, and will be making periodic progress anouncements right here as always.

And Web Editor Julie Damerell tells me there is another issue of miller's pond ready to post on the web.

So stay tuned.  Terrific things are happening.

CJ
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 4/19/02 

The changes have begun!  I'm nearly done with reading all the poetry that had been submitted for mp 2002, and am looking forward to finalizing the magazine for the printer.

To that end, miller's pond is pleased to announce David Cazden is the new poetry editor for the hard copy of miller's pond magazine.  His poetry has been published on this web site, as well as many other places.  A web page with his bio is forthcoming.

David will be accepting submissions for the magazine via our special web form.  There is also a special web form for submissions to the web version of miller's pond.  I'm pleased to say Julie Damerell remains the editor of miller's pond on the web.  If you go to Guidelines, you will be able to submit to David or Julie using the appropriate form.  You can also submit via the traditional U.S. Mail to me.

In reading the vast amount of submissions mp has received in the past year, I've found it pertinent that a "Tips" page be included here.  Far too many writers are submitting inappropriate material to mp.  This slows down the process of reading (and accepting/rejecting) poems for miller's pond and does not make me happy.  If you are submitting to miller's pond, believe me, you WANT to do all you can to make me happy with your submissions.  Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and money on stamps, paper, ink, and envelopes and you really ought to think about taking up a different hobby, like fishing.
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 4/1/02 

Yes, it's me again.  It's 6 a.m. and I'm sitting at the desk in my office that has finally been thrown back together after being disassembled since Memorial Weekend of 2001.  We moved - not more than a mile from our former residence, but the move had caused me to pack up my books, your submissions, and of course all my "tools" necessary to run miller's pond and my other writing endeavors.  (I know I promised last month not to make excuses, and you just got one....get over it.) Progress has been made, slow but sure.  I now have electricity - adequate enough for my computer, etc. - where there was none before.  And heat.  Now that I'm only weeks away from not needing it.

My office is still a jumbled mess, with boxes strewn here and there with god-knows-what in them.  Of the boxes I've been able to unpack, I've been pleased to find some important office paraphernalia essential for miller's pond and H&H Press.  But with each passing weekend I'm getting closer to my goal of becoming organized and efficient once more.

And the real news is, I have whittled down the stack of submissions.  If you haven't received a rejection, that's because I'm still mulling and choosing.  This issue will mark the 5th anniversary of miller's pond and I want it to be the best yet. 

And in the course of all this, I've decided to make some important changes to the magazine.  I'm still going to print a hard copy, along with a separate and distinct web version - new web issue will be going up on the site this week, as a matter of fact.  The changes, however, deal with submissions policies.  I'm bringing on board another editor, and will be accepting submissions via the web for both magazines.

Plus I'm going to offer a second contest, and strive to have two issues published a year instead of one starting in 2003. The second contest will be a chapbook contest, and the winner will get her/his chapbook published, and 25 free copies, plus a web page under handhpress.com for promoting the chapbook.

So many changes.  Now that you know what's coming, I hope you are as excited as I am.  Stay tuned and Enjoy!
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 3/02/02 

I don't know about you, but it seems the older I get, the faster time flies by.  About now it's traveling at the speed of sound - at least in my life.  While some people are anticipating spring just around the corner, I'm scratching my head and wondering what happened to Thanksgiving and Christmas?  What, we HAD those holidays already?  I must have blinked, because I don't remember.  Well, okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration.  And what I'm trying to say in a very wordy way (to quote the White Rabbit) is, "I'm Late, I'm Late!"

A lot of you are wondering if the 2002 edition of miller's pond has been published yet.  A lot more of you are wondering if it is going to be published.  And even more of you are just plain angry that you've sent me poetry months and months ago with narry a response.

Personally, I don't blame you one bit for being angry.  I absolutely hate to send my poems to some magazine for consideration and wait for months for a response.  I have become the editor I vowed when I started this magazine I would NOT become.  I have plenty of excuses, but that doesn't help your situation any, so I'm not going to go there.

You have my sincere apologies for making you wait.

And you have my promise.

miller's pond will be coming out...I'm going to say by April.  Hopefully sooner, but I had aspirations of having it out by Jan. and you know what happened to that!

Well, I have poems to read.  Lots and lots of poems.  So I'd better get at it.

C.J.
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 12/06/01 

With the year 2002 upon us, miller's pond celebrates its 5th anniversary with an interview with Judith Sornberger and a dazzling array of poets, including our top three winners in the Loella Cady Lamphier Prize for Poetry Contest. Throughout these past five years, I have had the privilege to meet many fine poets and enjoy their works.  I have also had the opportunity to make several observations concerning the publishing world of poetry, which I would like to share with you dear readers at this time.

While miller's pond has consistently received larger numbers of submissions with each passing year, enabling us to consistently publish larger volumes of quality poetry each year, the number of our sales has proportionally diminished.  In talking with editors of other poetry magazines, I find this is becoming the norm, and that saddens me.

Small, independent presses like H&H Press can only continue to publish magazines if it has adequate support from its readers and contributors.  We do not have the financial backing of an educational institution to keep us afloat.  Nor are we non-profit organizations that can request grants for publication purposes.  Our income comes from subscribers.  And it is only that income, plus our own personal "donations" which enables us to continue publishing. 

If you are a poet, and submit your work to magazines, please be aware that those magazines are as dependent on your support financially, as you are dependent on those magazines to provide you with a place to send your work for publication.   It is a coexistence in which neither can exist for very long without the other.  Granted, there are many markets out there to submit to, and if one magazine folds, there are always others to take its place.  But what happens in the long run is that as the market base shrinks, so to does the chances of a poet finding a magazine that can/will accept his/her work because the competition consequently grows to fierce proportions.  There are many more poets than there are markets.

Whether you are simply a reader or a poet who submits to miller's pond or Two Rivers Review, or Ploughshares is not the point here.  The point is, if you find a magazine you like, help keep it around by buying a copy.  If you haven't bought any poetry magazines at all this year, yet have submitted your poetry with expectations of receiving an acceptance, ask yourself why would you want to submit to a magazine you don't even read. 

If you are one of the lucky poets who has received an acceptance from a poetry magazine, show your thanks for the magazine that supported you and your work by returning that support with a subscription, or at least the purchase of 1 or more contributor's copies.  This way you are helping to ensure the future of the magazine, as well as helping keep a poetry market available for your future submissions.

Enjoy! 
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