This article details how to get your poetry published. The poetry market is explained, highlighting greeting card writing, literary magazines, and chapbooks. Learn how to profit from your poetry and how to find the right facet of the poetry market for your style of writing.
How to Get Your Poetry Published
Poets come from all walks of life, with a breadth of backgrounds and varying knowledge and experience. You don’t have to have a degree in creative writing in order to be a poet. But, if you are a novice in the field of poetry, you may be wondering how you can get your work published.
The poetry market is a smaller, more insulated, yet still a more diverse market than blogging, article writing, or book writing. What makes breaking into the poetry market challenge isn’t your lack of formal education or knowledge of famous poets, rather it is your knowledge of the market itself; there will always be a place for your writing, it’s finding that place that’s the challenge.
A Word on Rejection
Before hearing about the different facets of the poetry market and discovering where your writing fits in, it’s a good idea to understand rejection in the world of poetry publishing.
First, your work is never being rejected because it isn’t good. Rejection occurs when your form of writing doesn’t fit what that particular editor wants at that particular time. There may be a preference for a theme, length, topic, style, etc.
You can expect rejection. It’s just a part of the process. Often, there will be no explanation or feedback, but rest assured that the rejection had more to do with the reasons listed above and less to do with your actual writing.
The Poetry Market
Now that your skin is sufficiently thickened, you are ready to learn about the poetry market. The better you understand this aspect of poetry, the better your chances of getting published. Officially, there is little documentation on the poetry market, other than a small section in “The Writer’s Market” book.
But, if you are committed to getting your poetry published, you’ll need to think outside the box.
Greeting card writing is under the umbrella of poetry writing and publishing. This is actually the most lucrative option in the poetry market. There are thousands of greeting card companies, and most are looking for freelancers to supply content. You can get paid anywhere from $15 to $300 per accepted poem.
This may seem like easy money, but it can be challenging to get poems accepted at first. Getting to know a company and building a rapport with the editor will improve your chances of acceptance. It will also help you tailor your work to their specifications.
Greeting card poetry can be short or long, sarcastic or heartfelt. Research greeting card companies to get a feel for where your writing might fit best, and then contact them for submission guidelines.
These are the hardcore poets. It is challenging to get published in a literary magazine, especially one that pays. But when people think of poetry, literary magazines are generally what they have in mind.
Although there are hundreds of literary magazines, simply submitting the same batch of poems to all of them is not your best approach. When it comes to publication, it’s all about making a good match between your writing and what the editor of that magazine wants.
Your time will be better spent researching a few literary magazines that seem to be a good fit for your writing and getting to know their material before submitting.
When you are first starting out and trying to get your poetry published, it is easier to write with a specific publication and set of submission guidelines in mind than it is to write whatever you like and then try to find a home for it to be published.
Once you have a few publications under your belt and you know the market better, you can reverse the process. For more ideas and information on literary magazines, check out Submittable.
A different approach to getting your poems published is to build a chapbook. This is a collection of poems that fall under a particular theme. Essentially, a poetry chapbook is a book and, therefore, can be published by a traditional publishing company or by self-publishing. It can then be marketed and sold to individuals, books stores, or libraries.
Most chapbooks are a minimum of 48 pages in length, have a table of contents, and are unified by a theme. This is obviously a large undertaking but may be more attractive than submitting each individual poem to a literary magazine. There are many poetry contests for which the prize is a contract to publish a chapbook.
Outside the Box
And then there is everything else that lies outside the traditional poetry publishing umbrella. Consider the poetic words you see on tea bags, inside chocolate bar wrappers, in song lyrics, and on print-on-demand merchandise. Words are everywhere! Therefore, your words could be anywhere. Consider how you want the world to experience your poetry and then think outside the box.
In summary, getting your poetry published can seem daunting unless you know how to start. Decide which facet of publishing you prefer, research that facet extensively, and then don’t give up!
How to Get Your Poetry Published