Frequently Asked Questions

So why should I trust you guys?

Hey, I'm Steven. I'm the guy who wrote Poemhub. You should trust me mostly because I'm a poet and a reader too. I built Poemhub because I was frustrated with the rat-race of journal submissions and poetier-than-thou games. I built it because I personally know writers who are better than most of the stuff that gets published, but who don't submit because their work would get buried in a journal somewhere that nobody reads. Finally, I built Poemhub because I'm horrible at organizing my writing - keeping track of where in the pile of papers and folders the latest draft is was a full-time nightmare.

All that to say, you should trust me because whether you're a reader or a writer, I'm a lot like you.

Ok, but you're a poet, right? Is this site going to crash and be buggy?

Nah, it's good. From a tech perspective, you should trust Poemhub because building stupendous web applications is what I do for a living, and I've got great friends and colleagues (and maybe someday even staff) to help out.

How do I know you're not going to steal all my poems and run off?

Because I think it's morally wrong for an organization to claim ownership of someone's work. Yes, I'm ripping on journals again, but it's justified. You wrote the poem. You made the work. They're distributing it, and they need rights to do that, but the silly "we won't publish it if it's been published somewhere else" is a second-grader's game, and everybody knows it. If it's good poetry, it should be published. The end.

You should also trust Poemhub to not run off with all your work because we've put a ton of effort into making it easy for you to get all your work out. You can download a zip file at any time with all your poems and revisions. If you become a Poemhub supporter for 5 bucks a year (seriously.), we'll email you that file every month, so you've always got a current backup. No one should hold someone's work hostage, and we're not doing it with yours.

Finally, on a personal note, I think you should trust Poemhub with your poetry because I trust it with all of mine - and those poems are as precious to me as anything in the world.

What do you mean "how many people have actually read my work? How do you know?

Because we're being a bit clever. Poemhub counts a "read" when a reader has spent enough time on a page to have actually read the entire piece (depends on length), and when they've scrolled down far enough that they could actually have seen the whole piece. So, we don't know for sure - but we're pretty darn close.

Is this just for new stuff, or are you gonna have the classics, too?

Long-term, we want to have both. To begin, we're doing a bit of digging to make sure we get all the copyrights sorted, before we start pulling in stuff that should be in the public domain (say, Shakespeare.) Once we've got that sorted, there will be an announcement on the plan, and what if anything folks can do to help!

When I went to hit "publish", it said there was no undo. What gives?

What gives is that we aim to be transparent and honest. Once you hit publish, your work is available to anyone - Google's caches, the Wayback Machine, somebody who prints the page, everyone. There's no undo on this. Even if we made an "unpublish" button, it wouldn't change that your work was really out there, out of your, our, and pretty much anybody's hands.

Because of that, we've chosen to make publishing one-way. It felt like our obligation to be honest with writers - if there's no such thing as unpublishing, we're not going to show you a button pretending there is. It's a little like sending your work out as a book. When the cat's out, it's out.

On the plus side, you can publish new revisions, and update your work. This won't clear out the versions that live somewhere else, but it will keep your canonical work looking exactly the way you want it.

The other really nice thing with doing it this way is that hitting that publish button feels as special as it is. This isn't a blog or some throwaway comment. This is your work, published.

Hey! I've got another question!

Drop me a note at steven at poemhub.org, or use that help link up top. If it's a general question, I'll post the answer up here, and either way, you'll get an email reply. Thanks for reading all this, and checking poemhub out!