How To Get Your Poetry Published
If you think you are at the point in your writing where you want to start publishing your work, well, first of all, congratulations! It means you are confident in your writing and ready to take your poetic career to the next level. Getting published can be difficult at the best of times, however, so you'll want to be as prepared as possible before you begin submitting your work.
Build a Portfolio
Whether it's online or on paper, a strong portfolio is an absolute must. A portfolio is essentially a sample of your best work, hopefully showing both skill and diversity. Publishers and potential employers will generally want to see what you can do before they agree to take you on, so be prepared to present them with a strong portfolio. Include not just your best poems, but a diverse selection -- short poems, long poems, poems on several different subjects and in different styles, etc.
Unless you choose to self-publish, it's extremely unlikely that you will be offered a book deal immediately. In fact, it's unlikely your first submission will be accepted at all. When trying to get published, it is absolutely necessary to ditch the ego and realize that a lot of publishers may reject your work before someone accepts it, and it is more than likely that it will only be a poem or two at first, not a book. Being realistic makes it easier to focus on attainable goals, rather than getting discouraged at rejection.
Learn to Submit
The more places you submit to, the better your chances. Take some time to make a list of publishers taking submissions, poetry magazines and e-zines, etc. Send something to all of them. Be sure, though, that you are following their submission guidelines. Each publication is different, so take notes! Some only allow one poem to be submitted at a time, others allow up to 10. Some want them double spaced, some don't care. Some want your name and info on each page, some want a cover letter/bio. It's extremely important to follow the guidelines; ignoring them says you don't care enough to bother.
Also keep in mind that each poetry publication has a different target audience, a different perspective, a different goal for their company. Be sure to read some of the poems each place has published to get a feel for what work of yours would appeal to them. Sending your dark, vampire poetry to a publication that specializes in haiku probably isn't going to get you anywhere. Be sure you know who you are sending your work to.
It may seem hard and discouraging at first, but with some skill, some luck and some patience, you can get published!
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