Monthly Archives: November 2011

Middle Island Press Restructuring Services

(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)

I have a friend who owns a thrift shop and occasionally puts books in a “FREE” box outside his shop, but he does, however, sell a lot of books inside (including Middle Island Press anthologies). He told me recently that a woman picked up a book from a shelf and asked him, “Would you call me to let me know when you put this book in the FREE box?”


What?! Did she ask, “Will you spend your valuable time to take a financial loss on my behalf?”


Most everyone wants something for free, it seems, and of course I understand. Needless to say, after a few lessons learned, I (as a subsidy publisher) have spent a lot of time dismaying writers who do not believe that one’s time is worth paying for.

Ever the literary philanthropist, it is a painful realization that “made with love and crafted to perfection” does not guarantee good karma in the way of gold and green raining from the sky-palace of prosperity.

Middle Island Press has undergone another shape-shift, shaped by the personalities and the needs of those whom I have done business with over the past few years and in the spring of my being as a literary service-provider.

Middle Island Press is a subsidy publisher. It’s as simple as that.

Hey, it’s all good. Subsidy publishers are relatively rare, because they are the sacrificial little guys, the good guys who make less money and do more to enhance quality than vanity presses. Subsidy publishers pay royalties and are more author-friendly. In general, they do their best to spare writers’ (*ahem*) vanity.

So it’s not quite the free VIP pass to events of literary awards. It’s more like balcony seating with Benefactor rewards for those who are willing to pay for a good thing.

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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Writers and the Beauty of Opportunity

Writers are like Rai Tulips: green and purple, alive and fertile with intuition, and though they go dormant at times, the sun inspires them to make a lively and intriguing comeback.

I am so happy to see more and more writers cultivating themselves toward growth. This is an extraordinary time to be alive as people are awakening from the slumber of mediocrity and accepting that we can retain individuality while working toward the oneness of Love that beckons us to follow our hearts and do what we can to benefit the world.

Writers have the pleasure of inspiring others, up close or from a distance, to seek the unseen and to find the beauty in that which is seen. They have the pleasure of stirring emotions that move readers in positive directions. Sometimes they hold other writers high on a dais until they have their own courage to soar so that, in unison, they can affect the heart of humanity one word cluster at a time.

Congratulations to my literary friend, Andrew Buckner, who has been invited aboard Poetic Monthly as a staff writer. I know that he’ll wow them with his analytical clarity and genuine goodness that radiates from his heart to his words. It is when we do things with love that we shine!


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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Crossing Pathways with Poet Abigail Lorraine Pillitteri

Sometimes I feel immensely lucky as people of extraordinary mind cross my pathway and beautify it with poetry. Having become acquainted with Abigail Lorraine Pillitteri is no exception! The depth of her thinking is not lost for a lack of light-heartedness, and the breadth of her word-weaving capabilities guarantees the enjoyment of patrons of all types of poetry, from sonnet to haiku to all measure of free-verse.

Ms. Pillitteri knows that dreams do not happen unless we take (or make) opportunities to see them through. She has been working with a fearless approach toward her dream of publishing her first book of poetry. Read more about it here, and watch her video in which she recites her favorite poem (“Brewing”) from her forthcoming book of the same title.

Support living poets, and the world will be more beautiful for it!

Abigail Lorraine Pillitteri has performed poems at Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, The Newark Arts Alliance in Newark, Delaware and various coffee shops, bars and living rooms across the nation. Abby has worked as a science writer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. She received her Master of Science in Physics at the University of Delaware and published a thesis titled Modern Physics Written for the Layman. She earned her Bachelor of Science at Boston College with majors in Physics and Philosophy. Abigail has a passion for poetry. Her writing has appeared in Boston College’s literary and art magazine, The Stylus and essay journal, Dialogue. She grew grows up in New Jersey. Brewing is her first full-length book of poetry, and it is available at her website:

(Christina hopes to one day clink coffee mugs and discuss Physics and Philosophy 101 with this lovely and talented poet.)

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Poetry Publishing: Getting It Together for a Smooth Process

(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)

Opportunities for poetry publishing are more promising than ever for poets who are interested in subsidy contracts or other methods of taking matters into their own hands, so to speak. This article is for those who are intimidated by the process.

Firstly, consider that poetry publishers are neither gods nor robots, but human-beings just like you. When a writer pays a publisher (micro-, subsidy, or otherwise) to put his/her words in print, the publisher is a service-provider, and the process requires a partnership of equality. Words cannot be delivered without publishers, and publishers can find another job without writers and readers, so there should be mutual respect in poetry publishing ventures. (If a publisher is busy enough to turn down work, then a respectful poet is going to get a lot further than an arrogant one, so show respect, and a respectable publisher will reciprocate and then some.)

There is also the matter of preparedness and presentation of manuscripts. Tying in with the issue of respect, manuscripts should not look like they were thrown together in fifteen minutes with some poems centered, some flushed, and varied fonts throughout. They should look neat and tidy – especially if it is your first time dealing with a particular publisher, or you will not be taken very seriously as a professional writer. Furthermore, cover images as well as biographies and all other constituents should be sent simultaneously, if possible, to avoid complicating matters that should be fairly simple.

Beyond politeness and presentation in the poetry publishing process, it is wise to respond promptly to inquiries or you just might find your project bumped as a less bumpy project sails to the finish line. Also, if you have special requests for your project, do take it upon yourself as much as possible to facilitate them without placing undo burden upon your publisher. Though you might be paying for proofreading, design, listing and so forth, you probably are not paying extra to watch your publisher jump through hoops – but back to the first point made, a little bit of respect goes a long way.

What you can expect, in turn, is that all promises made on a website that enticed you to a particular publisher in the first place are fulfilled. You can also expect ongoing support, enthusiasm in future poetry publishing contracts, and a partnership of mutual growth.

(Middle Island Press, one of the best poetry publishers on the Internet, has been publishing chapbooks since 2008.)

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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Chapbooks: A Plethora of Possibilities

(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)

Chapbooks are flexible in what they hold, and a fitting vehicle for all manner of writing. Though there would be limitations that vary according to publisher, most would be happy to accommodate the following needs:

Short Stories – Depending on their length, several or a small handful of short stories can fit snugly into a chapbook. These “clusters” can, in due time, become sections of full-sized books much in the same way that full-sized poetry books are often sectioned according to a poet’s various formal collections.

Columns or articles – Newspaper or magazine columnists would benefit personally or professionally by gathering their contributions in chapbook form, perhaps divided by year if publications are weekly (and assuming that one column can fit on one page which might necessitate double columns in layout).

Recipes – Though the spiral-bound booklets are common for recipes, the pages loosen and tear out easily in time, making the chapbook a promising alternative vehicle that was commonly used a hundred years ago for trading kitchen secrets.

Essays – Written by poets as well as anyone who has an opinion to share or information to disseminate quickly, the chapbook is the perfect vehicle for this type of literature. Collections of short essays or a post-graduate university thesis would fill a chapbook beautifully.

Poetry – Certainly the most common use of chapbooks today is for poetry. It is the right personal touch, the made-with-love quaintness that is suitable for treasured from-the-heart poetic lines. As mentioned above, poetry chapbooks become “sections” of full-sized collections.

Of course, possibilities abound beyond these five, extending into images and anything that the mind can dream into the space of chapbooks, so writers need not hesitate to take advantage of the plethora of possibilities.


Middle Island Press is proud to be one of the best chapbook publishers east of the Mississippi.

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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Publish Poetry in a Pretty Package

(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)

So many poets wish to publish poetry in the form of chapbooks, and there are so many chapbook publishers that it can be head-spinning, but it need not be when you know what to look for. Some charge insane amounts, and some are so cheap that I assume it is cookie-cutter design on standard copy paper. If you love your words enough to give a few as gifts, then I don’t recommend the companies that proffer a lot of copies up front “for cheap.” If you love to spend money wisely, then I don’t recommend any company that charges over $250 (“upgrades” included). What I recommend is, of course, companies (such as Middle Island Press) that offer the best of both worlds: quality plus economy.

Quality can be seen immediately. It is a smooth cover with a unique image. It is in full-color. When you open the cover, the inside cover coordinates with the outside. There is an attractive title page, and everything is neatly aligned throughout. Internal Images are part of what makes it such a pretty package. The paper is thicker and much better quality, too (and the paper disparity between quality and “cheap” is immense). As a finishing touch, edges are trimmed and smooth, and the finished little book is small enough to be held in one hand with thumb and fingers wrapping around the sides.

Quality extends beyond the appearance of chapbooks, themselves, and into the land of Internet presentation. Chapbooks should be romanticized on publisher’s websites and elsewhere. If you pay to publish poetry, as most people do, reviews and interviews should be expected as well, if you choose a publisher with integrity (though it is widely said that business and emotions do not meld, it never hurts to find a publisher known for respect and understanding).

Quality plus economy is what poets who wish to publish poetry deserve to see: a low base price for a few copies, plus time and effort in crafting something unique and beautiful of each chapbook – something worthy of giving as holiday gifts. Of course, more chapbooks can be acquired as needed, but generally, a few up front is sufficient. It is wiser to pay for quality over quantity, or you just might find yourself tucking them into a trunk, too embarrassed to share them, because your words then look like poems on copy paper, dragged down by the weight of sheer dullness, rather than shining professionally in polished little books.

Be certain before you buy publishing services that you can trust in quality that you will be proud of, and that your best friend, your significant other, and your mother would be proud to display, and that your enemies wouldn’t dare display. It’s easy to publish poetry once you know who you can trust to deliver a pretty package at a price that beckons your intuition.

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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in News & Reviews


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Sell Chapbooks with Decorative Display

(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)

Chapbook Display

Despite the visual quaintness and charm, book-sellers can buy chapbooks at a relatively low cost, but more than that: they can actually sell chapbooks (actually move them quickly) and enrich their place of business in doing so.

Chapbooks? They are those little stapled booklets that are often showcased in bookstores much in the manner of postcards: on rotating racks near the entrance, or propped or stacked at the check-out counter. Separated from shelf upon shelf of books, they stand a chance of an occasional glance, or a frequent glance, depending on display. They are easily romanced beside a wicker basket of Lindor truffles or a box of Godiva bars, and sometimes they look equally tempting.

This article is written for those who wish to sell chapbooks in establishments and are at a loss for successful chapbook display and/or how they might go about acquiring them and selling them (therein, rewarding authors and enriching readers’ quiet literary moments). Consider the following suggestions regarding chapbook display:

1) Keep it to the left. (“What?” you ask.) Do a quick experiment: Look to your left and visualize a vanilla candle, a hazelnut cappuccino, something dreamy. Look to your right and see the same. Doesn’t it seem easier to visualize it when looking to the left? Have you noticed that restaurant waiters/waitresses present food in from the left and remove it from the right? There is something going on regarding right brain (creative brain) stimulation when one looks to the left, so make it as natural as possible. In feng shui (the ancient Chinese art and science of placement of objects), knowledge and self-cultivation are designated to the front left (enter a room and look immediately left). It is (according to Eastern theory) the common-sense place for books. The same could be applied at the check-out counter itself. Keep it to the left, and the mind will be more receptive.

Chapbook Gift Display

2) Proffer a subtle suggestion. On a table or counter space beside the chapbooks, take a particularly attractive chapbook and create a reading gift basket or two or three: a chapbook, a candle, and a mug with a small coffee pack and some chocolate tucked inside would be ideal; perhaps a bookmark. Keep a candle lit beside it to draw attention toward it. Create a chapbook spread like a hand of playing cards and place a chair nearby to encourage viewers to have a seat and browse through a few. (An enticing tent card idea to display near an attractive basket: “Give the gift of leisure.”)

3) A more active way of attracting buyers is to contact chapbook publishers and request signed copies, or better yet, generate literary activity by inviting chapbook authors to spend a Saturday in the store for a signing – perhaps one each month (table to the left, please). Such an event creates a sense of community involvement, and many shoppers like the bustle (why else, beyond sales, would so many people rush out to shop on the day after Thanksgiving)?

To sell chapbooks is the fun part, but book-sellers need not fret or fuss over the first step of buying them, because they can buy chapbooks easily and affordably online. Don’t neglect the little guys who aren’t in major catalogs. Most micro-publishers have their own websites and, often, little more than that in getting their little books into the hands of readers. Type “chapbook publishers” in your search engine and endless opportunities abound. More specifically, include your state or region in the search since readers like to support writers within their area. Most chapbook publishers offer wholesale purchase, and if their website doesn’t say so, simply contact them about it (chances are, if you’re a thriving business, you have already been contacted and know who to call).

Above all else in the quest for success, remember the key that opens to greater business possibilities. When you buy chapbooks (and display them attractively and in the right location within a place of business), you are certain to sell chapbooks as well.

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in News & Reviews


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