“You did a Great Job on the Lummox!!! …what I have read of the poetry is first rate. Great to see something actually in print, in this digital, throw away, cyber space age.” — Norman Olson
The Lummox Press is not a 501 C (3) non-profit, though I wish it was (I could apply for a wide variety of grants and could give donors a tax credit for their help). In spite of this, the Lummox receives support on an annual basis from people from all walks of life. Surprisingly some of the most generous are also poets (the stereotype of the cheap-ass poet applies to some who come to Lummox expecting something for nothing, but happily it doesn’t apply to all).
About four years ago, I started publishing a yearly book sized “Lummox” similar to the small digest I published for 11 years (1995 to 2006). That “little” was called the Lummox Journal. It was a little 5.5 by 8.5 inch journal that never exceeded 56 pages. It was a small, photocopied zine. The new book is set up similarly to the old LJ, poetry, interviews, essays, reviews and illustrations…only this thing is 224 pages long in an 8 by 10 inch format, about 1/2 an inch thick!
A few years ago, I started the Lummox Poetry contest…the winner gets a cash prize and 40 copies of a chapbook of their poetry that Lummox publishes for them. These two, the poetry anthology and the contest, take care of about 60% of the annual budget for Lummox. I would like to see this figure increase to 100%…and it may happen yet.
“What about the other books you sell?” I hear you ask. Sadly, most of the other books I publish don’t produce much income. This isn’t as bad as it sounds; it has become a fact that most of the books published in the small/underground press, never break 100 copies sold. This sad statistic handicaps anyone who tries to make a go of it and sell books that break the 100 copy ceiling. Why bother, right? Of the 10 titles published by Lummox in any given year there will most likely be no more than 2 or 3 titles that break 100 sales. That leaves 7 to 8 titles that will do fair to middling. Sometimes, I’m lucky to even make back my investment.
Yet, somehow Lummox and I continue to survive. And that’s because of the 2 fundraisers that happen each year, to make up for the lackluster sales by other books (or I should say the poets who don’t believe in their books enough to push them harder). It’s ironic that now, as I am winding down…now is the time when poets are telling me that they want to be published by Lummox because Lummox has a rep for treating its clients with respect; which makes me wanna laugh because almost every time I hear this, I know that this person is going to drop the ball when it comes to holding up their end of the bargain!
This is why I have to hold fundraisers for Lummox. If I drop these “deadbeat” poets, I not only do poetry a dis-service but I would betray the Lummox motto: Game not Fame. Being a deadbeat poet is part of the maturation process. It hurts when they take advantage of the Lummox, but it doesn’t hurt that much!
Here’s what people are saying about Lummox Press:
Keep up the good work. – Dan Fante
I have been following you for a long time and I think you do a splendid job.
– Lavonne Westbrooks
Want to let you know that your personal story, publishing activities, and spirit inspire me.
– Ed Coletti
And here’s what people are saying about the Lummox Poetry Anthology:
This is a coffee table book! Meaning beautiful as well as brilliant. I know the sacrifice it entails. Let us call it HOLY WORK bringing these voices together in love. — Grace Cavalieri
…thanks for all your hard work on the magazine. – George Held
I am dipping into the pages now and then — always finding treasures. – Bettina Barrett
Lummox Number Four is a great accomplishment. You should be very proud. I’m honored to be a part of it! — John Gardiner
Beautiful issue, Raindog, just beautiful! Proud to be in it. – Ellaraine Lockie
A simply beautiful book–thank you so much. – Lyn Lifshin