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Lake Isabella, CA, United States
I am an aspiring writer in the Kern River Valley. This blog is a "test kitchen" to try different writing styles and to work through the many rejections and the handful of acceptances my work has received. But no matter what other people say about my writing, at least my mother thinks I'm a good writer!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poetry Scams....Grrrr!


I am sort of embarrassed. I almost got conned into one of those poetry publishing rackets where you buy their book and they accept any poem that comes their way. I barely even remember submitting my poem to an online poetry contest about 6 months ago.

Yesterday, I got this letter saying that my poem had been moved to the semi-finals, and that I could be a winner.

Then they went on to say that they liked my poem so much that they were going to include it in the next, "Famous Poets of the Heartland" anthology, and I could buy my very own copy.

Thankfully, the warning sirens going off on my brain kicked in, especially when I noticed the "Famous Poets" motto: Where Happiness is Being Published! I also thought that the editor, a woman named Lavender Aurora, seemed a little too thrilled about my "talent." No legitimate editor I have ever submitted to has been that excited, even if they enjoyed and accepted my work.

This screams: VANITY PUBLISHING loud and clear to me.

Anyway, there was something else troubling me about their letter. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I went ahead and looked up their company on www.ripoffreport.com, which is one of my all time favorite websites, and sure enough, there were over 90 complaints against them. http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/famous-poets-society.aspx

It appears that this company not only charges exorbitant prices to publish people's poems, but they frequently NEVER SEND, or send very late, the anthologies that people pay for.

Now, I have no idea if the allegations on www.ripoffreport.com are true, but I know I will certainly never do business with these people. I am disturbed that they have my address.

Now, I am going to go feed their letter to my dog and try to forget the whole thing even happened.

13 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing ...This will be a consideration for me, I happen to love writing online in the hope of getting recognition or income for the work that we make and not the reverse. success & God bless u

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  2. omigosh!
    this just saved me lots!
    i just recently got that same letter a few minutes ago :O

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  3. wow i just got a letter saying the same thing ...but there not getting money from me!!!

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  4. What do you recommend to do if I've already paid the money? I can't believe that I didn't catch the signs, and I'm so upset that I believed the lies. I was just so happy that my poem was well liked. What should i do?

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  5. Dear anonymous- I would definitely keep track of any receipts or checks verifying that you did indeed pay them. If they send you your book, then all is well, and you do get to see your poem published, so that is not necessarily a bad thing. Remember, being accepted by a company like this does not mean that your work isn't excellent poetry. However, if they invite you to the conference, I wouldn't go.

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  6. this happened to me recently but i did not send the money i wanted to look into it first

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  7. Ug I got so excited! Dang it, I already paid and they gave me two more offors too. Why was I so stupid?! The fact that they take advantage of people's dreams like that is horrible. What jerks!

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  8. I submitted a poem to "Famous Poets of the Heartland" or something like that. I had submitted my poem when I was 13. I am 16 now. It said my poem was "published" and I was in the "top 50's." The reason I even submitted to this was because it was in the newspaper and they were working with a church!, (in Indianappolis, spell check?) And I live in Tennessee. It sounded legit until they sent back saying I could by a copy and a bunch of other crap. So, I've wondered now for 3 years where my poem is. It's out there and I'm scared someone could have copied it, but I have plenty of copies of it because it is my favorite poem. So, I don't know :/

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  9. This place is nothing but a scam.. Its in your own local newspaper to apply. I think these people should be attacked by the police for getting kids hopes and dreams up just to make money off them and to get custody of there beautiful poems. They offer a 1000.00 reward if you by the book that your poem was chosen to be published in. Seriously get a job earn your own way in life and stop trying to hurt kids feeling and crushing there dreams.

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  10. O.M.G. I entered one of my poems in "Poems of the Heartland"I'd found the contest in the news paper& I
    just wanted to see if my one of the many poems id
    Writen would be worth publishing. I also got the the
    letter saying they were gona publish it&it is in the semifinals to win,I didn't do it for the money. I have a chance to win 1000.00. I got so excited,I cried tears of joy,I thought this was for real. It was in Aug.of this yr. now I don't know what to think,after reading all of your
    comments. They shouldn't play with peoples emotions
    like this! I'm so upset now! I thought my dream had finally came true. They also said they would let me know aftr Oct. 15th. &they'd send me a Publisher's proof,so I could check for errors before it goes to press. They also said it be in the book&record it. It will be read by John Campbell a famous Shakespearean actor&scholar. If that's what was in your letter, please let me know. Please!!! I'll check&see if anyone answers
    ltr. Kathy:(

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    Replies
    1. I have gotten the same thing and was stupid enough to do it. Looking into it now, I saw a comment on another site by a girl who said her poem was on page 26. My poem is on page 26. I think they honestly just throw together some crap book and stamp your poem on one page, send you a horribly put together copy and that's it. The rest are just poems that you could find anywhere. I feel pretty dumb, but I'm glad I only bought one copy.

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  11. Is there any legit free poetry contests out there? I got the same letter yesterday and I was tickled pink but after reading some of the comments I was heartbroken butnot broken to continue writing. Please let me know. Thank u.

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  12. I haven't found any free poetry contests that are legitimate, although that doesn't mean they don't exits. What I would recommend is going on www.duotrope.com and registering. It is a database of literary magazines, small and large, who want to publish poetry and short stories. Most don't pay, but they are an excellent start to getting published. The smaller magazines in particularly may give you a foothold that you won't get in a large magazine.

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