Friday, November 6, 2009

Can Poetry Be Profitable?

According to publisher Dominique Raccah (at left), yes.

Raccah's Sourcebooks MediaFusion, an imprint of her independent publishing company Sourcebooks, Inc., has become the nation's leading publisher of books with integrated mixed-media. MediaFusion is responsible for the release of, among other titles, the popular "Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath," a book and three-CD combination featuring noted poets from Tennyson to Plath reading their own work.

Now Raccah's Sourcebooks has launched, a Web site with the mission to "create a place where people can discover and experience a poem that touches, moves, or inspires them and to make that experience visceral," according to the press release announcing the site's going live Nov. 4.

"We believe that can solve some of the challenges the poets themselves face in getting their work, their message, and themselves in front of readers," Raccah says in the press release. "We wanted a site that helps connect poetry readers (and potential poetry readers) and poets. And we wanted to begin developing a new business model for poetry."

Also according to the release:

"On, poets will be able to manage their own information, blog if they wish, explain and display their body of work to their own choosing, and even post their speaking or performance schedules. In essence, it's a social network for poets and poetry lovers. Both interactive and educational, visitors will be able to create their own 'favorites,' plus connect to the poets via Twitter and other social networking sites.

" will also be a business and marketing engine for poets and poetry presses. There are already three revenue streams, with several others identified and being developed. sells individual poems in different formats (audio, video or text), as well as books, ebooks, DVDs and CDs, and tickets to online performances, slams or readings."

A cursory look at the site shows there are three main areas: "PS Voices," featuring classic and contemporary poetry, where you can "Hear Great Poets Read Their Own Work"; "SpokenWord," showcasing slam and spoken-word poetry, where you can "Hear the Poetry Revolution"; and "YourMic," where you can upload your own poetry performances and videos.

I have yet to take an in-depth look at the site, but my initial impression is that it's nice to finally see someone doing something productive concerning the current state of poetry -- especially on such an intense scale -- instead of just complaining about how you can't make a living writing it.

Visit the PoetrySpeaks Web site or read the Nov. 3 Wall Street Journal article about the site for more information.

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