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2008 Poetry Fishbowl Project Report - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
2008 Poetry Fishbowl Project Report
The Poetry Fishbowl project has been one of my main projects this year. I'm pleased to say that it's been a great success.

Late in 2007, I tested the waters with a couple of fishbowls. Then in January of 2008, I introduced the "Buy It Now" option so that people could sponsor poems for publication on The Wordsmith's Forge. Participation and donations have gradually grown through the year. Audience members have helped refine and improve the process, the posts, and the options. Improvements have included:
  • Posted poems can be rendered in hardcopy, suitable for scrapbook or framed display.

  • The "general donation" fund lets people vote on poems left after individual poems have been sponsored, based on however much the general donations cover.

  • Fishbowls are scheduled early in the month, usually on a Tuesday, which tends to be a high-traffic day but more relaxed than Mondays.

  • Montlhy themes are now boldfaced at the top of the advance announcement notices.


  • Here are some numbers:

    Total Donors: 19
    Number of K-fans: 2
    Number of Fishbowl Poems Written: 176.
    Number of Fishbowl Poems Individually Sponsored: 32
    Number of Fishbowl Poems Sold Elsewhere: 2
    Total Fishbowl Poems Posted on The Wordsmith's Forge: 56
    Total Fishbowl Poems Published: 58
    Number of Non-fishbowl Poems Published Outside The Wordsmith’s Forge: 30 miscellaneous +12 Llewellyn
    Total of All Poems Written in 2008: 278+

    The number of fishbowl poems published on my blog through the Poetry Fishbowls is much higher than than the number of non-fishbowl poems published in other markets -- and almost twice the number of poems published in miscellaneous markets, not counting the set of 12 appearing in the 2009 Llewellyn Witches' Datebook. I received considerably more money from donors than from conventional poetry editors. This places the Poetry Fishbowl among my most rewarding ongoing markets. I wrote at least 278 poems this year, compared to 202 last year: an increase of about 28%. Since one of the goals was to increase the number of poems written, that part definitely worked.

    Earlier this year, I read the now-famous article “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly. His premise is somewhat oversimplified, but it's still true that a core of devoted fans can greatly contribute to someone's livelihood. I don't think think "true fan" is a fair name, because fans can be true without having much money to share -- they might be generating precious word-of-mouth advertising instead, or helping in other ways. So I decided on the term “k-fan” (an abbreviation for “1000” and a nod back to Kevin Kelly) to refer to someone who spends $100 or more per year.

    I wasn't expecting to see that level of participation in this project, but indeed, two k-fans appeared among my donors this year. One of them is minor_architect and the other prefers to remain anonymous. The rest of the 2008 donors are: newroticgirl, dulcinbradbury, cimeara, corivax, ellenmillion, janetmiles, chlorophyta, dakiwiboid, laturner, haikujaguar, je_reviens, browngirl, dianavilliers, arielstarshadow, talix18, moosl, tonithegreat, and beetiger. Whether you sent me one dollar or a whole bundle, this really means a lot to me. I'm also grateful to all the folks who have provided prompts throughout the year; you-all are a rockin' bunch of muses. Thank you all for helping make this project a success. There are now 176 poems in the world -- 58 of them already visible to the public somewhere -- that would not exist but for your inspiration and generosity. *bow* I am honored by your company and your contributions.

    I'm looking forward to the next year, as the Poetry Fishbowl project continues to grow and evolve. I have some other ideas that I'd like to try, such as doing a live fishbowl at a science fiction convention. Your input and suggestions for improvement are always welcome.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Current Mood: grateful grateful

    8 comments or Leave a comment
    Comments
    From: minor_architect Date: December 31st, 2008 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
    Total of All Poems Written in 2008: 278+

    Whoa! I'm sure this is simply all in a year's work to you, but to me this number is mind-boggling. I should be so lucky to post 278 photos in a year!

    I have some other ideas that I'd like to try, such as doing a live fishbowl at a science fiction convention.

    Random suggestion: as I'm sure you know, April is National Poetry Month. Public libraries often look for poetry-themed programming during this time, so you could try scheduling a live Fishbowl at a public library. A local college or university library might even be interested; you could always ask. This could be useful as a "trial run" of a live Fishbowl before taking it to a convention. (Unless your convention takes place before April, of course! :)

    Here's to the continued success of the Fishbowls! Cheers!
    ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 31st, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Thank you!

    >>Whoa! I'm sure this is simply all in a year's work to you, but to me this number is mind-boggling. I should be so lucky to post 278 photos in a year!<<

    I've been writing over a hundred poems per year for a while now. The Poetry Fishbowl project has definitely provided a boost, though.

    I'll think about doing a local poetry fishbowl for April ... there are several colleges and a bunch of other libraries in driving distance, plus some bookstores that host events.
    From: minor_architect Date: December 31st, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I'll think about doing a local poetry fishbowl for April ... there are several colleges and a bunch of other libraries in driving distance, plus some bookstores that host events.

    Fair enough. You'll let us know if something works out, yes? :)
    ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 31st, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Yes!

    I'll let you know if something works out.
    datalore From: datalore Date: December 31st, 2008 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
    I'm so glad it's worked out so well! :)
    je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: January 2nd, 2009 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
    At a convention, i think a BARD FOR HIRE booth would be so much fun. Drop a tip in the jar and give the poet a prompt, stick around to see what comes out.

    I received my donor gift in th email -- thank you. It is lovely. i hope you got what I mailed you and liked it as well.

    I'd like to offer you my sincere congratulations. YOU HAVE SINGLE HANDEDLY CREATED A NEW MARKET FOR *POETRY* of all things. In this world where poetry is not valued, that is INCREDIBLE.
    je_reviens From: je_reviens Date: January 2nd, 2009 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
    At a convention, i think a BARD FOR HIRE booth would be so much fun. Drop a tip in the jar and give the poet a prompt, stick around to see what comes out.

    Bard Vending Machine!
    ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 4th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)

    Thoughts

    >> At a convention, i think a BARD FOR HIRE booth would be so much fun. Drop a tip in the jar and give the poet a prompt, stick around to see what comes out.<<

    Hmm, that's a thought. Booths are usually expensive, though. I'll keep this in mind as another possibility.

    >> I received my donor gift in th email -- thank you. It is lovely. i hope you got what I mailed you and liked it as well.<<

    Yes, and thank you.

    >> I'd like to offer you my sincere congratulations. YOU HAVE SINGLE HANDEDLY CREATED A NEW MARKET FOR *POETRY* of all things. In this world where poetry is not valued, that is INCREDIBLE.<<

    *bow, flourish* Thanks. I am delighted by how well the fishbowl is working. I think that most people think of poetry as boring and irrelevant because that's all they've seen. It's often taught badly, and most modern poetry is awful. Show people the good stuff -- classic or contemporary -- and they tend to respond. I've got a good venue for doing that now.

    8 comments or Leave a comment