Budding writers are often advised to put their writing away in a drawer and leave it there for anything between three days and three years before looking at it again with a fresh eye.
It’s excellent advice but it isn’t always easy to follow.
One way to help writers leave their work alone for a while is to plan to send it to a publisher that only accepts submissions between certain dates, a tactic some publishers take in order to keep the submissions process manageable.
One such company is Brick Books, publisher of at least three poets who have visited and performed in Whitehorse within the last year: Jan Zwicky, Agnes Walsh and Lorri Neilsen Glenn.
Brick Books only takes submissions between January 1 and April 30, giving poets plenty of time to put their poems away and scrutinize them later in the year with a more objective hand on the mouse.
General Manager at Brick Books, Kitty Lewis, said she’d certainly be interested in receiving submissions from Yukoners.
“It’s very possible that Brick might publish a Yukon poet one day,” she said from her base in London, Ontario. “Our criteria is that we publish Canadian authors and Yukoners are definitely Canadian, right?”
After first pointing out the importance of following publishers’ submission guidelines, Lewis was happy to answer some questions about how Brick Books operates.
What kind of books does Brick Books publish? “
Our mandate is to foster interesting and ambitious work by Canadian poets, both new and established; to produce beautifully designed, attractive books worthy of the excellence of their contents; and to distribute and promote these books and their authors,” explained Lewis.
So it’s a good idea to read Brick’s publications to see what kind of work you publish? “Yes, poets should be familiar with our books to see if their writing is a good fit with our publishing program.”
Is Brick interested in submissions from unpublished poets?
“It’s better if the writers have one or two poems published in a literary magazine,” admitted Lewis.
“Their work is going to be considered carefully, no matter what, but publications in literary magazines show that you are serious about your writing and have had some experience with an editor.”
Lewis explained: “We receive approximately 120 submissions every year and we only have enough money to publish seven books.”
How many poems do you like to receive in a submission? “We suggest eight to 10 poems but many people send the whole manuscript.”
The big question is what does Brick do with manuscripts received outside of their submission period? “We return them to the sender,” says Lewis.
Despite this strict rule, Lewis said Brick has a flexible approach and is open to considering a variety of poetry.
“I think it is a good time for poets generally,” commented Lewis, acknowledging that this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy for a poet to get published.
To find out more about Brick Books and to read their submission guidelines see www.brickbooks.ca.