Poets – Do Better for Your Readers

I had a different post scheduled for today, but things can change in an instant. While I sat in the bookstore today to do some writing (as I usually do on a day off), I tried to start a book review to draft up and queue. But when I started reading it, a thought and ongoing pattern I picked up on came to mind and evoked quite a feeling.

Poets…your readers deserve better than what you’re putting out there for them.

Hear me out, please. This message does not pertain to every single poet out there, so the only reason this would upset you is if you are part of the problem. Writers need to try and make as much of a living as they can through their books; I understand this. However, what I see happening in contemporary poetry books is books up to a couple hundred pages and sometimes as little as four lines end up on a page before moving on to the next one. At that, it also feels like the small pieces of work that do not even take up a quarter of the page more often lack the depth to justify that presentation decision.

The one book I reviewed (getting published next week)? $14.99 for a paperback copy. The second book I tried to read today before I went back home? $16.99 for a paperback copy. I understand books are not cheap anymore. But if you are going to charge $15.00 or $17.00 for a book, at least give your readers the content they deserve for that price tag. Not having the proper amount of content I deemed fit is the exact reason why I’ve pushed my book release from this year to next year. Take the time to compile something great and do not just self-publish your stuff quickly to make a few bucks off of it.

To any of you guilty of this trend, I am not aiming to slam on you as a person or even on your writing overall. I would just like us all to work harder toward giving our readers a bang for their buck. The economy is tough for us all, so any source of happiness we find is valuable. Do better and give your readers your best for the money they invest in you and your dream.

Have you had a similar feeling in the past? Do you maybe even disagree with my mindset? Let’s have a discussion in the comments below. Or you can discuss with me on my social media platforms.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yacoob says:

    I’m preparing to self publish my own anthology, and not having any formal poetry training (beyond high school), this kind of advice is very helpful – so, thank you.

    My work comes in at about 150 pages, though much of the poetry side is accompanied by explanatory notes…it’s an unconventional format I’m trying, and waiting to see what my beta readers think.

    So in that sense, I think I have the “value” part covered. Even without page count, my poems are usually fairly substantial in length – so that’s not something I struggle with.

    But I guess the final judgement will sit with each reader to decide.


    1. Absolutely agree with you, Yacoob. I appreciate your comment and our conversation here! My poems tend to be lengthier, as well, so I understand that. I mostly just get upset at how poetry books are priced and empty as someone who struggles a little bit financially. I would love to support more poets, but $17 for a tiny book is too much for me more often than not.

      The accompaniment of explanatory notes sounds like a really interesting decision to make! I am intrigued to see how it plays out in practice once the book is together. Let me know when you get it out! 🙂


Let's Discuss!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.