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Q) Tell us a little about what you do, Robert. You seem very busy – putting together the Writers Market books for each year in addition to blogging for Writer’s Digest (Poetic Asides) as well as writing and publishing your own poetry. What is a day in your life as a poet and editor?

A) I actually spend a lot of time on database-related projects. I usually try
to blog a few times each week, and I write poems almost every day (I keep pen and paper close at all times). I try to read a lot each day, and my job involves a lot of communication, via e-mail, phone, social media, etc.

Q) In putting together the Writers Market books, it seems you have an inherent love for the literary world. How important is it for writers to continue submitting and writing although it may be sometimes become stressful. Writers complain of a lack of pay, painful rejections and editors sometimes remark upon a thankless job. Writers Market proves that in the literary world, there is still a need for journals and magazines.

A) Perseverance is one of the most important traits a writer can have. Successful writers are usually the ones who did not give up the first, second, or fifty-third time. And to have that perseverance, I think writers need two things: a great passion for writing and friends who will keep them motivated.

Q) You have been publishing poetry (most recently) in Ghost Ocean Magazine, Hobble Creek Review, Otoliths, The Smoking Poet and MiPoesias. Do you plan on releasing a published collection?

A) It’s one of the things I’ve been working on the past year. I’m pretty passionate about what I’m doing, and I have confidence that when the time is right it’ll happen. And it’ll rock!

Q) What do you think about the poet who publishes across a wide spectrum of online literary  journals ? Does this somehow suggest that the bigger name, print magazines aren’t the only publishing goal for a modern writer?

A) Yes, I don’t think the bigger name, print magazines are a right fit for many writers, especially those who are still new to publishing or who are doing some really groundbreaking work. That doesn’t mean all poets shouldn’t try to get into the bigger journals, but I do think it’s good to have a diversified portfolio.

Q) You connect with hundreds of people through Writers Digest’ Poetic Asides. I subscribe to it and read it when I’m not editing. What is something important you’ve gleaned from working with so many writers?

A) One thing I’ve learned is that writers are often game to do about anything if you only think to ask them. Most writers are very passionate and happy to help other writers.

Q) What are some of the best ways that writers can promote their work and their name?

First, get an account with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Second, start a blog. Third, be polite and helpful and relevant. Fourth, submit your work regularly. Nobody will care about your writing if you don’t get it out there.

Q) What do you look for in a good poem? Some people say a poem requires feeling. Others say a good poem is built by tight knowledge of the craft. A middle ground, for me, is perfect. What are your ideas? You recently selected poems for the Caper Literary Journal anthology– after reading all of the 2010 poems published in our journal up until this Fall. Why made the poems you selected stand out to you?

A) For me, it could be any of the above: craft, language, humor, seriousness, layered meanings, otherworldly, unique, and so on. I think mainly what I love in poetry is something that’s unique to me--even if it’s a poem using a familiar form or covering familiar subject matter. A poem that surprises and delights me in an authentic way is always something I crave.

Q) What is coming up in the life of Robert Lee Brewer for the year of 2011?

A) The main thing right now is that I’m working on the 2012 editions of Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. I’m overhauling both and trying--as usual--to make them the best editions ever. I already have a long list of 2011 goals which I’ll release on my personal blog
(http://robertleebrewer.blogspot.com) around the end of 2010 or beginning of 2011.


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Robert Lee Brewer  is the editor of the Writer’s Market books, Poet’s Market and WritersMarket.com, in addition to maintaining the Poetic Asides blog for Writer's Digest. Brewer has published poems in several print and online publications.

Visit Robert's blog.