POETS & WRITERS, the major marketing organ for creative writers, has announced that it will change its name to “Gaming the System,” effective for the January-February 2011 issue. The publisher denied that this change came after pressure from Christine Quinine, chief enforcement officer of the New York City Truth in Advertising Law.
Houghton B. Haughty, the publicity director of P&W, said that the name change has been in the works since early 2009. “Gaming the System,” he said, “makes sense, because our magazine is filled with articles about how to get ahead, who got ahead, and basically, how to game the system of getting poetry and fiction published.” Haughty continued, “We are the leading source for creative writers on how to network, find an agent, create a blog, and promote themselves on FaceBook and Twitter.”
One of the magazine’s most popular features is the Call for Manuscripts in the back of the book. “As attentive writers know, two years ago the number of calls-for-submissions was surpassed by number of contest-entries, as publishers seek to prop up their sagging journals in the face of subscription and revenue loss.” However, the high reading fees for contests have further reduced the rolls of competitors to affluent writers with rich spouses or family money. Asked about this trend, Haughty replied that his publisher seeks “to promote a level playing field for all poets and writers who can afford to play the game. If they could afford a degree in creative writing, they welcome high contest fees as a way of winnowing out the competition.”
According to Haughty, market research shows that POETS & WRITERS appeals mainly to young writers who want “to know more than just how to make art. They want to make money by getting published online or offline.” Offline is the new term for what used to be called “appearing in print.” But publishing a book in print still provides a writer’s resumé with the necessary cachet for getting a job or a promotion for instructors in creative writing programs.
“Our magazine,” Haughty concluded, “will continue to provide the best advice and the most promising publishing opportunities for poets and writers striving to get ahead in the best tradition of the American Dream.”
George Held is chief correspondent for www.infauxtainment.com, a topical satire blog, and contributes often to (New Verse News), a blog for progressive polical poems. His fourteenth collection of poetry, AFTER SHAKESPEARE: SELECTED SONNETS (Cervenabarva Press), will appear this fall.