Guest Author - Jessica Smith
So you want to publish your poetry. Here are some important steps to follow.
Do your research.
Different places publish different types of poetry. It would be a waste of time, for example, to submit your Shakespearean style sonnets to a magazine that features experimental free verse poems. Subject is just as important as format. Many literary magazines and publishing houses tend to follow certain themes. Goblin Fruit, for example, features poetry about fantastical subjects. A poem about the recent Iraq war, therefore, would be better sent to another source.
Donít just submit your poem to the first place you find, however. Take some time to investigate the publication. Who is in charge? Is it a university press, a publishing house, a group of friends with a website? How well-known are they? Know that the more ďfamous?a place is, the more competition your submission will face. This does not mean you shouldnít submit! It just means that you should be realistic. All poets and writers should be familiar with rejection. Whatís important is to not take it personally, but rather as a challenge to do better.
Edit and Prepare.
Before you submit, make sure you are ready. Is your poem really the best it can be? Have you edited it over and over, read it aloud, read it to an editor or a friend? Be sure itís polished, with no spelling or grammatical errors, before you send it off. Most editors receive hundreds of submissions, and will immediately discard any that are not at least technically and grammatically competent.
The Self-Publishing Option.
You will hear a lot of conflicting opinions about self-publishing these days. In the past, it was a pretty quick answer- no. But nowadays itís becoming more and more common for people to publish their own books. If your poetry is mostly personal, and you arenít looking to start a career, self-publishing can be a great way to present your work to your family and friends. The key to finding a good place to self-publish is the same as before: research. Donít just visit one site, but many. Compare prices and options available. Take a look at what other people have produced, and read reviews (not just reviews on the site, but other places as well, to be sure you receive unbiased opinions). Make sure the site you use has exactly what you want, since you will be the one who is paying.