Publishing a book of poems is a dream for most poetry enthusiasts. Poetry in general does not have a large market, compared to fiction and non-fiction books. So, it takes some hard work and persistence to get a poetry book published.
Nevertheless, a steady and step-by-step approach can make it easier to get your poetry published. Here are 5 tips for publishing poetry to help you along.
1. Polish and perfect your work
Before you attempt to submit your poetry anywhere, it needs to be in the best possible shape. As the poetry market is much harder to break into, having a top-quality submission is even more important than in other forms of writing.
There are many resources available to poets to help them produce great quality poems. Work on improving your poems as much as you can, and then request your friends and other writers to critique your work. Joining a poetry group or poetry writing class can help you to improve your work, and also earn you some honest and valuable feedback on improving it further.
2. Enter contests and competitions
Once you are sure your work is as near perfect as you can make it, it’s time to get it in front of other people. Entering poetry writing contests are a great way to get your first few poems published, earn cash, receive feedback and even get publicity- depending on how good your submission is. Try to find and enter as many poetry competitions as you can.
There are many prestigious and smaller contests, and also free-entry and paid-entry contests. Entry fees are usually required for most contests to help organizers run them. But, do be careful of contest scams that collect entry fees from you and then vanish. Starting out with the free-entry and well-established contests might be safer initially.
3. Write for magazines
Most poetry writers start their publishing career by submitting their individual poems to literary magazines or poetry magazines. There are several popular poetry magazines available where you can submit your work. Your local library would be a good place to check these out. Also, starting with smaller and lesser-known poetry and literary magazines is a good idea, as they are more likely to accept work from new writers, and are also open to unsolicited submissions.
There are many print and online magazines these days, so do take time to do your research, and select magazines that publish content similar to your work and style. Please bear in mind that even if you do get your poem published, you may not get paid for your published work. But it will be worth it to get your poem in print and build up a portfolio of published works.
4. Write pamphlets and chapbooks
Many poets prefer to publish their work as poetry pamphlets and chapbooks, which are small collections of poetry. These are far easier to get published due to the low cost investment by the publisher, and pamphlet publishers are quite ready to take on new poets and help with promotion. You will be required to do considerable promotions yourself as well, through poetry readings, social media, and other ways.
Poetry pamphlets are also quite easy to self-publish, and some poets even prepare these on their own computers and get them printed locally.
5. Publishing a book
As mentioned before, publishing a poetry book is much harder than other types of books, as major publishing houses only have a small poetry allocation, and only accept agented work from well-established poets. Small presses and university presses are a good way to get started, as these are more open to new and un-agented poets. They would not be lucrative however, but they often help new writers in other ways such as providing helpful critique and training.
However, it is very important that you approach publishers only when you have a good collection of many poems. Your chances of acceptance would be better if you already have some published poems in magazines or pamphlets, which received good reviews.
Finally, self-publishing your poem collection as an e-book or print on demand version is always a good option.
Image credit: Enokson on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]