Seven Deadly Signs of Poetry Scams

In America, poets are held in such low esteem that even the most Honored Representative from Nigeria won’t bother scamming us. Society says to us what Dermot Mulroney says to Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” that we are “The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”

Even being cheated by Mr. Honorable Minister, however, is preferable to the poetry scams that have proliferated. Wind Publications’ Literary Scam guide has this to say:

Hidden among the many sponsors of legitimate literary contests advertised on the internet lurk those who care little about literature, its audience, or authors. These organizations and individuals exist solely for profit through their so-called writing or poetry contests. Often you’ll find these “free” poetry contests lavishly advertised in your local newspaper.

There is a cottage industry of writing scams perpetuated by pus poetry pimps, the chief among them International Library of Poetry, aka Noble House Press, aka They advertise in USA Weekend and the Penny Saver–well, not the Penny Saver, but they might as well, because that sums up their opinion of poets. If you’ve seen the ads or received a letter that says, “Congratulations, your poem has been selected for our next anthology,” congratulations, you’re being scammed.

Like so-called modeling agencies or “talent agents” who prey on the dreams of nubile girls wanting to be the next Lindsay Lohan, poetry pyramid schemes exploit the number one hope of writers: publication, and more importantly, recognition. Many excellent Web sites such as Preditors and Editors and PoetryNotCom detail the outrageous mechanics of poetry “anthology” scams, and the infamous Wergle Flomp Poetry Contest by cheerfully skewers vanity poetry contests and the submicroorganisms who perpetuate them.

How do you spot a poetry scam? Look for…

1. Insane pie in the sky prize amounts.

I ran the DeAnn Lubell Professional Writers’ Competition. Most poetry contests with reading fees pay, at most, $1,000, and that’s for a book-length manuscript of poetry. For a single poem, the first prize pot is usually a whopping $100, $150 tops. A $20 million prize, as dangled by Noble House, is a big crimson flag. Oh, and no one ever offers poets a chance to win a world cruise. It’s usually assumed that we sail around the world on a Mark Twain raft, a sampan, or a Hemingway skiff.

2. No contest fees.

Wergle Flomp is the only “F*r*e*e” poetry contest. Now, people on the Internet and toiling poets naturally leap at the word “F*r*e*e”. But, like victims of those modeling scams, you’ll end up paying for your moment of bargain hunting. Modeling scams want you to work with a particular photographer (usually fake European). Likewise, poetry scams won’t let you even see your poem in print unless you pay for the anthology. When you do pay for the anthology, you may wonder if you just bought a copy of the Penny Saver, because your poem looks like it was crammed onto the page to make room for the “Spot the Difference” puzzle and the adult talk lines. Then there are those awards banquets…

3. Phony awards banquets.

Ten years ago, no joke, I received a mailing from Famous Poets Society that lured me to fork over the cash to attend an awards banquet and convention. If I paid my money, I could join the elite company of poets such as…Ted Lange of “Love Boat” fame. Who knew Isaac the bartender was a closet Langston Hughes? Plus, I could win $6,000 in door prizes. Now, if you’ve ever attended a poetry reading, especially in coffeehouses, you know that poets wear their vow of poverty as proudly as a Che Guevara T-shirt. Just the thought of winning $25 in a poetry slam made my fellow poets and me weep more cathartically than the contestants on “Deal or No Deal.” And Ted Lange usually doesn’t attend.

4. Questionable reputation or none at all.

In poetry, if you don’t have Nikki Giovanni, Czeslaw Milosz or Donald Hall front and center in your magazine, plus several angsty Eastern European poets, would-be poets drop you like Oprah dropped James Frey. Look for magazines, publishers and poetry contests that publish and are judged by literary lions. It’s Bukowski or bust. And when can’t figure out that Dave Barry and 20/20 are hoaxing them, the joke’s on Similarly, if a vanity press charges you $3,000 to $8,000 to publish your collection of poems, and the top author promoted by Façade Press is an eighteen-year-old writing poems from the point of view of her liver, save your money for the hard work of actually submitting your poems to Threepenny Review, or literary magazines or publishers that you read about in Writer’s Market or Poets and Writers.

5. Advertising in newspapers and glossy magazines.

Real poetry contests don’t advertise in USA Weekend–sure, USA Weekend may sponsor a teen essay contest, but poetry advertisers? Forget it. People don’t pick up USA Weekend as a literary publication, even though USA Weekend features books and authors. If you see a mass call for poets in a mass market magazine, give it a miss. Real poetry contests get deluged with submissions as it is. They don’t need to fish for more.

6. Sending you a letter of acceptance for a contest you can’t remember entering or a publisher you can’t remember submitting to.

I admit, as a writer I have difficulty keeping track of what I sent to whom and when–we go into writing to avoid paperwork, not do it, although when we’re not in the mood, reorganizing files suddenly becomes as tempting as a day in Cancun. Fortunately, Writer’s Market features a Submission Tracker, and some enterprising bloggers actually post their submission schedule to make the rest of us sigh in unorganized envy. If you can’t find the cover letter/e-query in your file cabinet, on your computer, on your Zip drive (you do back up, right?), or in your Sent folder, chances are you never submitted to National Library of Poetry or (apologies if there actually is a Web site out there called Yes, after 300 rejections, getting an acceptance letter may be a boost, but to misquote Groucho Marx, think twice before you accept just any club that will have you as a member. Aim higher. Imagine if JK Rowling had just said, “All right, I’ll pay a million pounds to have a few hundred copies of Harry Potter for my friends and relatives to buy.”

7. Promising to get your book or handsome anthology on the bestseller rack in bookstores.

Number one, PoetryNotCom is one of the many sites reporting that this claim is bogus. Number two, most people who go into a bookstore to read poetry probably can find the poetry section blindfolded and spend three hours debating the symbolism in Whitman over a decaf skinny latte at Borders Café. Number two, although getting your book in bookstores is still the gold standard, and online retailing make it easy for even the tiniest press to get books noticed. Number three, bookstores are so glutted with inventory that they can’t even stock the POD books, let alone anything from ScamPoet Publishing or, and bookstores will not accept vanity press books. For that matter, no poet besides Ludacris or Jimmy Carter will end up on the bestseller list in a bookstore. We don’t go into poetry to be rich. We go into poetry to sound our barbaric yawp…and a fellowship or two is nice, too.

Many beginning poets get bilked, but you don’t have to. If you’re smart and ambitious, you’ll be a successful poet with tons of lierary magazines and e-zines bearing your byline. and its ilk will always be “The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”

Reduce Your Business Travel Cost to Zero With Video Conferencing Solutions

Business travel cost is a nightmare for several organizations. The sales representatives are required to travel across the globe for meetings that ultimately result in more business for the organization, but regulating that cost is a serious concern for the admins and finance departments. It is primarily because the expenditure is a necessity. But what if you could just minimize that cost to nothing? What if your representatives could meet anyone around the world anytime without incurring any cost?

Technology has come a long way in the past few years and one of its fruitful offerings is Video Conferencing Solutions.

What is Video Conferencing?

Just like you carry out a conversation through your mobile devices across continents without paying a hefty amount, video conferencing is the technology that allows you to have a face to face conversation instead. Like any other technology, it has come a long way ever since the origin of its capabilities in the 1970s. Earlier, no standard protocols existed on which video conferencing could rely upon. It was an extremely expensive affair. However, with cloud technology coming in, we have extremely affordable networks. Interoperability of video teleconferencing systems is virtually guaranteed now that standards and protocols have been clearly established. This is the reason why many firms are now investing in video conferencing devices and replacing the way conferences and meetings were held traditionally. It allows the company officials to meet their clients anytime, without actually traveling to their location. In addition, they can also collaborate among themselves even when they are not present in the organization.

Which video conferencing solutions are right for your business?

Yes, it is extremely convenient and allows any organization to save a major expenditure on travel. But there are several providers in the market today which has opened up a stiff competition among them. This is partially beneficial for the customers but has also given rise to several queries:

  • What solution will be the right one for my business?
  • How is video conferencing different from remote desktop support or web meetings?
  • Is video conferencing secure to discuss sensitive information?
  • Which video conferencing solutions are available in the market for different room sizes including executive room, small meeting room, big conference room and auditoriums?
  • Is there an instance where I can use video device over Wi-Fi?
  • Can I replace my IP phone with video endpoint but still retain the same extension?
  • I have no budget to buy a license for the multiparty feature but I need the service. Is there any other option I can explore?
  • Can I use my Skype for business with Telepresence?
  • Can I call my US and UK sales persons on their mobile devices via video device?
  • How secure is video conferencing as a means of communication?
  • If my video device went down, what will I use as the SLA and backup for my device?
  • I’m having a problem connecting branch offices and meeting rooms within a single video call. How can I be helped?

These are a few of the questions that are asked by customers generally. It is difficult to answer them all by generalizing everything because every customer has a different requirement; they all have different architectures, different allocated spaces, and different budgets. To provide the perfect solution, any provider requires all the necessary details so they can analyze and suggest the best options.

Types of Video Conferencing Solutions

Board Room Video Solution

There is a wide range of solutions to all boardrooms ranging from the small (4 people) to the large (18 people) boardrooms. Products such as Cisco IX series, TX series and MX series will totally change the way you conduct your business meetings to face to face meetings at ZERO travel cost. This solution comes with some of the advanced features like Speaker Track & Presenter Track camera, HD video Quality, Screen-sharing, and presentation on different devices like smartphones, Laptops, and Tablets.

Desktop Video Solution

You can now convert your desktop into a smart workspace ideal for video/audio call, screen-sharing, and screen extension. Using Cisco EX, DX series and video phones you can connect to board room-meetings and Web call with just a click of a button.

Mobile Video Solution

A mobile video solution has opened a world of new opportunities for companies having a presence in remote locations, home-workers & customers. Cisco Jabber, WebEx, Cisco CMR and Spark solution have totally changed the way we interact with everyone.

Apart from being used for business purpose, the mobile solution will prove to be a big-time success for your educational and training verticals. It will be as easy for you as doing a call with ZERO implementation and connect to multiple people through a single call.

Video Wall

Convert your non-functional brick wall to video wall and share timely and accurate information related to our business using HD video wall.

Cloud Solution

Cloud-based video conferencing solutions are available for you depending on your industry requirement. With them, you can create your own personal meeting rooms and invite your customers and colleagues over a video conference without investing in any hardware.

It’s time to save your business meeting expenses.

A good provider will offer a free consultancy to all their consumers. They will listen to your requirements, understand them, analyze them and only then suggest you the right solution for your business segment. With a right solution, you can collaborate with your employees but also with your clients, anywhere and anytime.

Variable Speed Limit Mandatory Signs

Mandatory signs are used by local administrators in several cases to ensure public safety. They may be used in commercial and private premises for different purposes. For instance, fire safety signs are used to show the public where to run in case of an emergency. Similarly, road signs are used for a variety of purposes, some to ensure drivers follow the speed limit, and others to ensure drivers are warned about steep curves, upcoming speed breakers and so on. In some cases, these signs can also be used to inform people about variable limits. For instance,

Highway Mandatory Signs

Some Highways may have different limits based on their length, location and state of build. Highways that run straight through long stretches of land may have static speeds.

These will usually be high and other mandatory signs to warn drivers of slopes or sudden curves, maybe even speed breakers will be put up. Signs that point out the nearest restrooms, petrol pumps and eateries will also be put up in abundance for long distance road travellers to benefit from it.

Furthermore, there may be some variations in speed, for instance, a lower limit close to eateries or petrol pumps and high ones in open areas. Signs will be put up indicating the change so drivers can drive within the allotted speed accordingly.

Signs on City Roads

You will also find variations in speed within city limits. Crowded city roads, those that are near schools, market places or commercial premises will generally are lower so that the safety of both the car driver and the passersby are ensured.

Open city roads, those running through the wilderness or other open areas will generally have higher limits. Along these roads, different signs indicating the changes will be put up at regular intervals.

You will find these signs near curbs, crossings and even on the sides of the main roads. It is important to observe these signs and drive accordingly. By following the higher speed of another stretch of the road in a place where you should be driving slower could lead to fines and traffic violations.

How They Help?

By putting up mandatory signs on roads specifying the variable limits, local administrators help ensure the safety of drivers and passersby. It is not possible to remember where the 50 kmph ended and where the 30 kmph began. This is why signs are put up, to point out the place where one limit ends and the other begins.

Over bridges, highways, open roads usually sport higher limits but as the road nears crowded areas, the speed changes depending on the surroundings. These signs help new out-of-town drivers to understand what speed limit to follow. Furthermore, they help prevent unnecessary road incidents.

When learning to drive, a good instructor will therefore always teach you to read various kinds of road signs too, for your safety,