The Poet Markets a Novel
—for DOVELION, my first novel
Deny prize competitions.
Deny ill-read publicists.
Deny the literary agents who only wanted you to buy their consulting services about becoming published instead of helping you find publishers.
Deny that agent who serves on the Boards of literary organizations trawling for ethnic-American writers writing commodifiable identity.
Deny mass-mailing review copies to dying daily newspapers.
Deny paid reviews.
Deny “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” Goodreads posts.
Deny those who ask who published your book instead of asking about the book itself.
Deny readers who only pay attention if the book gets an award or is reviewed by a “major, mainstream” venue.
Deny “communities” who support but don’t read.
Deny begging on Facebook.
Deny the snickers of those relishing your struggle.
Deny other novelists aggravated you ventured into “their lane.”
Deny the ageism of publishing industry pros who ignore your first novel since “you’re too old.”
Deny the relief of the book’s word count organically remaining below the 90,000-word threshold begrudged to first-time, unknown novelists.
Deny the years decades you spent on a book awaiting public indifference.
Deny giving up on the effort to dig out from this hard world a hospitable home for your words.
Deny this poem is still in-progress.