amongst books

amongst books

Monday, May 29, 2017

A List of Canadian Chapbook Awards

Canadian Chapbook Awards

Here’s a list of annual prizes that result in chapbook publication. For more details on deadlines and specifics, up-to-date submission requirements, guidelines, etc, please visit the sites. I consulted with all the presses/journals listed below, but any errors are my responsibility. If you see a mistake, please let me know. If you know of additional Canadian chapbook awards, please let me know.

Note that the bpNichol chapbook award, administered by Toronto’s Meet the Presses collective, is awarded to chapbooks published by a Canadian press in the previous year and result in a $4000 award for the author and $500 for the press. Chapbooks can be submitted by the press or the author. Check the site for specific information.

"Cost to author" refers to the cost authors must pay per chapbook should they decide to buy additional copies.

"Sales on site" refers to whether or not the chapbook will be sold by the press via its web site.

Press/Journal : 
Name of Award:      John Newlove Poetry Award
Entry Fee:                  $0       
Prize Amount:          Honorarium for reading varies (up to $250)       
Print Run:                  126     
Comps to author:     26
Cost to author:          half price retail cost.
Sales on site:             Yes

Press/Journal:           Tree Press/Tree Reading Series
Name of Award:       Tree Press Chapbook Contest
Entry Fee:                  $0
Prize:                          $250
Comps to author:     10
Note that the categories of "cost to author," "print run" and "sales on site" are flexible and depend on wishes of winner and size of book. 

Press/Journal:           Frog Hollow Press  
Name of Award:       Frog Hollow Press Chapbook Contest
Entry Fee:                  $0
Prize:                          $0
Print Run:                  100
Comps to author:     10
Cost to author           depend on cost of publication, including mailing proofs to author, endpapers, etc.
Sales on site:             Yes

Press/Journal:           Vallum
Name of Award:       The Vallum Chapbook Award
Entry Fee:                  $25
Prize:                          $115
Print Run:                  125
Comps to Author     10
Cost to author:          $10
Sales on site:             Yes

Press/Journal :           Kalamalka Press
Name of Award:       John Lent Poetry/Prose Award
Entry Fee:                  $10
Prize:                          $500
Print Run:                  “varies from year-to-year depending on available materials, available storage capacity, how recent titles have been selling... so, last year it was 75; this year it's 55, i think.” Kevin McPherson
Comps to author:     10% of total print run
Cost to author:          Author discount is usually 25%
Sales on site:             Yes     

Press/Journal    :    Metatron
Name of Award:    Metatron Prize for Rising Authors
Entry Fee:        $15-$30 ($15 Submission Fee, $30 With Feedback)
Prize:            $500
Print Run:    500
Comps to author:    10
Cost to author (to purchase additional copies):     50% of Retail Price

Sales on site:        Yes

Press/Journal : Big Pond Rumours
Name of Award: Big Pond Rumours Chapbook Contest
Entry Fee: $0
Prize: $0
Print Run: 100
Comps to author: 25 to winner; 20 to 2 runners up
Cost to author (to purchase additional copies): 50%

Friday, May 12, 2017

Outsider art, micropresses and money

Creative workers deserve monetary compensation for their work. I agree with this. I run an online literary site/magazine that pays writers thanks to the help of local government. However, I also run a micropress with print and online publications that do not offer financial compensation to our contributors because I do not seek out government grants to pay for their existence. We offer complementary copies for print publication, but that’s it.

The administrative work that goes into applying for financial assistance is huge and it’s not a burden I’m prepared to take on more than I already do. I am always uncertain, when I ask for free contributions from artists whose work I admire or have discovered whether I should not be a publisher at all because I am unwilling to do the work required to ensure that we are all financially compensated.

I am fortunate to be able to work as a volunteer for everything I do. We limit micropress publishing activity to what we can afford, which isn’t a lot. Money received from those who purchase chapbooks goes directly into paper costs and the cost of hosting the online publications. The expense is greater than what is received.  I receive occasional grants for my own work and the occasional honorarium from literary magazines or reading fees. The advance from my poetry book was small and after two years, sales have resulted in payback of the advance.

I respect those who won’t contribute to anything unless they are financially remunerated for it. But my own way of thinking is to support small, outsider presses who don’t receive money either. Money often means accepting conditions. For government grants for example, you have to have steering committees, regular meetings, insurance and final reports, and you have to adhere to very specific rules about such things as Canadian content, to name one example.

I suspect that if everyone insisted that they only contribute to publications able to offer financial compensation, a lot of micropresses and online publications wouldn’t be able to exist. This means that readers and appreciators of art would be exposed only to government-sanctioned art. I don’t see this as a good thing. I see what these micropresses do as being part of a long tradition of outsider art.

The other option, the kickstarter/indigogo campaigns are an alternative, but also require administrative work and focus on things other than the publication of the art and working with the contributors. I think this is a completely valid way of raising money, but I’m unwilling to spend that kind of time. My micropress is a two-person operation and that’s the way it has to stay in order to do what we do without complicated board meetings and consensus building exercises.

So I will continue to ask you to contribute for free and if you don’t want to, I will understand if you respectfully decline.  I will continue to share remunerative opportunities on social media to help you find ways to share your work and be financially compensated. I won't criticize outsider art and micropresses for not asking for money. I'd be a hypocrite.