Franklin’s Palindromedary Warthog thinking: straw or soot? Straw or soot?

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Palindromes Palindromedary Members History Names

What Makes A Great Palindrome?

That's a tough question. The answer depends on so many things.

Sometimes the answer is easy. Adkvbm bvkda? No, those are not words. Yo soy? No, that's Spanish. The site is only for US English. Lkjdfsfdjkl? No, that's random keyboard gibberish. Wonk tang jam Maj gnat know? No. Sure, it makes use of ananyms, a common and sometimes interesting way to build a palindrome. However, it has no meaning. I can see a few surreal images by rearranging the words, but I see no point to such a palindrome.

The decision becomes harder when the palindrome has some English structure. Consider lonely Tylenol. This anonymous palindrome is a phrase, not even a complete sentence. However, it does express a thought. As a statement it has a certain ambiguity I find appealing. Is this a random, cosmic thought about Tylenol as a sentient life form? Can Tylenol be lonely? Does the thinker suffer from cronic pain and it's one in the morning and only one pill left? Those two words, those thirteen letters arranged in perfect symmetry around a capital T, speak volumes. They evoke much more than the brand name. I would answer yes to this palindrome.

Things I don't want to see are hatred, bigotry, racism, slurs, or anything in a similar vein. I've already removed words that fall into those categories. If any submitted palindrome uses such language, rejection will be swift, and account closure right behind. I also don't want plagiarized content, something copied from an out-of-print book or any source other than your own mind. All these points are already in the Terms of Use. Read them.

What I do want to see is your best work. I want original palindromes that delight and amuse. An ideal palindrome is an ordinary, complete sentence. If it appeared in a paragraph of regular prose, most people would read it without stopping. Its symmetry is a surprise, a cloaked secret, exposed only to the most careful and alert readers. Here's one example.

Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts.

This is an imperfect example, admittedly. Straw is an ananym, reversing to warts. That clue is quite visible. The absurdity of the whole is another flag, one I see often in palindromes. Nonetheless, this is a good palindrome. The ananym is fun. The absurdity is actually a positive feature in this instance. The whole is a sad metaphor of humanity's too common gullibility. It is clever, ridiculous, depressing, and entertaining all at once. What more could you want from a palindrome? I would say yes to this one.

Ed, I saw Harpo Marx ram Oprah W. aside.

Did you immediately see the palindromic symmetry here? I didn't. I had to work to uncover it. Absurd is certainly a good description of this sentence, as is unlikely. It could have happened, sometime between say 1959 and 1964, when Oprah was five to ten years old and not very famous. That could have been headline news, or something reported in the police blotter column. As it never happened, it became a palindrome instead, and a near great one.

What I want most to see in your palindromes are emotion, drama, commentary, absurdity, subtlety and art. Bend the language. Distort the grammar. Raise the roof and sink the ship. Aim high and don't hold back. I like puns and limericks and low-brow humor as much as I like snooty literary works. I also like science fiction, or the so-called genre literature. Great palindromes can be all of those, and more.

Release your creativity. Compose and submit. I look forward to reading your work.

Selection And Publishing Process

Now that you know what makes a great palindrome, I want to explain how the publishing process works at, and to lay out my ideas on how to reward authors for contributing palindromes.

When you submit a palindrome, I will review it and accept or reject it based on the Terms of Use, my editorial standards, and my publishing needs. An accepted palindrome is most likely to go into a pool for publication in the next Palindromedary anthology. Only about twenty percent will appear on the website, on average. The reason for this policy is to increase the value of the anthologies. The website generates interest in new palindromes and the anthology satisfies that desire for more. More book sales increase the amount I could pay for each palindrome.

A palindrome up for review can have four outcomes.

  1. If it does not meet editorial standards or violates the Terms of Use, I will reject it.
  2. I will accept some palindromes for the website only, but not for the anthology.
  3. I can accept a palindrome for the website and for the anthology.
  4. I can reserve a palindrome for the anthology and will not post it on the website.

In all these cases, you will receive an email message with the final decision.

Palindromes accepted for the upcoming anthology, the last two cases above, are queued up for the task of preparing the anthology. All palindromes accepted for the anthology will be eligible for payments if the anthology meets its sales goals.

The working model for paying authors is to share a percentage of the total revenues from anthology sales. In accounting terms, I'm offering a percentage of the gross, not of the net revenue. It's easier to calculate, and I think it's more fair.

This publishing process has a significant delay between when you submit a palindrome, when it is published, and when you might receive a payment. The delay could range from about eight months if you submit just before the anthology window closes, to about fourteen months if you submit at the beginning of the next window. Compared to the publishing delays for short fiction and novels, this model is somewhere in between.

The Terms of Use also require that your palindrome not be published elsewhere until six months after the Palindromedary anthology is published. That is what the exclusivity clause means. The only exception is the twenty percent of submissions that go on the website as teasers. Note that the palindromes accepted for both the website and the anthology will still appear in the anthology and still qualify for payment. After the exclusive period ends, all the palindromes in that edition will gradually appear on the website.

I expect to produce two anthologies per year, if the new palindromes keep coming in at a sufficient rate. Or it might be one anthology per year. If each anthology includes five hundred to a thousand original palindromes, I think the books will sell.

At the moment, this is all just a plan. It is subject to change. I'll keep you updated. Thank you for contributing.

Submission Guidelines

How our submission process works, details on our anthology submission window, what I want to see in your palindromes, rights we require, your responsibilities in the process, and more.

Release your creativity!

Memberships are FREE. I’m grateful for your interest.

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Ray N. Franklin signature, printed in font P22 DaVinci Backwards, mirror script