Telltale Press is a collective of poets. We publish primarily short, first poetry pamphlets and help develop and support one another to move forward with our poetry careers. We believe in proactivity and a spirit of co-operation and self-help, rather than competition. We bring different skills to the table – design, publishing, marketing, writing, business acumen and more. We also have an experienced poet – Catherine Smith – helping us as Associate Editor.
Our pamphlets are designed to be ‘calling cards’ – small promotional vehicles, if you like, for a poet’s work; a springboard for bigger things. We work on the basis of shared responsibility which we feel is fair, sustainable and emotionally satisfying.
New poets are recruited by invitation and those who accept become members of the collective for a minimum period. Within a year the poet will have a first published pamphlet, plus he or she will have benefited from skillshares and training, will have done readings and hopefully opened up some exciting next-step opportunities.
What’s the background?
There’s a growing amount of competition for traditional publishing deals, and the small presses can only publish a finite number of pamphlets each year. Many small presses rely on public funding which is being slowly eroded, leaving them without a viable business model. For new poets, the opportunities to be published are becoming fewer all the time. If you can’t find a poetry publisher to invest in you, then the alternative is to just keep trying, or consider different models. For example, subscription publishing, in which the writer finds buyers or funders for his work prior to publishing, has been around for centuries – many famous composers and authors published in this way. These days it’s called crowdfunding and the internet makes it a very real alternative for some projects.
Telltale is interested in talented poets who are prepared to invest in their poetry career and share both the benefits and some of the risks of publishing. We also look for a strong online presence. You are not alone once you are a Telltale poet – we believe in developing the poet not just individual publications.
What’s the deal?
- We are looking for poets with a first pamphlet ready to publish, already submitting it, and probably getting shortlisted or commended in pamphlet competitions or receiving positive feedback. We expect to see an established track record of publishing in high quality poetry magazines.
- We are a collective, not a dictatorship. All poets are equal members, sharing skills, pooling our expertise and benefiting from the collective.
- We all share a commitment to seeking out opportunities to read, working on our online presence and developing potential distribution channels
- Our aim is to publish promptly. We won’t be reading unsolicited submissions, running competitions or accepting people onto a long waiting list.
- A Telltale pamphlet is professionally produced using high quality print, design, typesetting and materials and all UK suppliers (including print).
- A Telltale pamphlet is an emerging poet’s ‘calling card’ which can be used to open up further publishing opportunities and collaborations.
– Robin Houghton, June 2014