To Publish or Not to Publish

I had coffee with a casual friend who fancies herself a poet.  She’s a very nice elderly woman, but her poetry is high school level, rhyming couplets and not much else.  She sent her poems  to a “publisher,” who offered to put her material into a book.  For $6,000.  Poetry does not sell well. Paying to have your poetry printed is basically a money-losing proposition.  Yet countless writers and poets fall for self-publishing, apparently without considering how their material will be marketed.  Now, there are writers, not many, but some, who do well with self-publishing, but those who do invariably know how to market their material because they’re all ready well connected.  All writers need to become familiar with publishing in general to get ahead in the business and to safeguard themselves from scams.  You may not be vulnerable, but sooner or later someone you know will be.  My friend doesn’t have $6,000 lying around, but any money is too much if you can’t recover it through sales or even give your reputation a boost.