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How To Get Your Poetry Published

Updated on August 24, 2013

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.

I chose to self-publish, but don't be fooled, that takes just as much effort.
I chose to self-publish, but don't be fooled, that takes just as much effort.

Be Realistic

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.

Have Patience

It may seem hard and discouraging at first, but with some skill, some luck and some patience, you can get published!


Submit a Comment

  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

    I'm not too much into composing poetry but I scribble epigrams which I like to call poetry. I'll consider your points.

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    Useful and voted up. Going to bookmark this hub for future reference. You have more interesting topics that I plan to read.

  • Blair Rockefeller profile image

    Blair Rockefeller 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Great info. Thanks for sharing it.