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How To Get Your Poetry Published

There are three basic ways to get your poems published. Get your poetry published as individual poems in literary magazines—either print or e-zines. Get your poetry published as a poetry chapbook—a small collection of poems. Get your poetry published as a full-length collection of poems.

At Writer’s Relief we recommend starting with poetry-friendly literary magazines and working your way up. The chances of your getting a poem placed with a literary publication are greater—and success of any sort provides a much-needed boost to a fledgling writer’s ego. Once you’ve found success with individual poems, chapbooks and full-length manuscripts can be the next steps. And if you find yourself frustrated by the process, we’re always here to help you design an effective submission strategy. We want to see your poems published too.

The guidelines for getting poetry published are much the same as they are for publishing short stories. Here are some tricks and tips to help you publish your poems and increase your poetry acceptance rate from magazines.

Master your craft. As with all genres, read, read, and read some more of your favorite poets. You can also learn quite a bit from poetry you don’t like as well. It goes without saying: The more you read poetry and write poetry, the more mastery you acquire.

Identify your style. This means learning the basic terminology of poetry. You should know if you’ve written a sonnet, haiku, or free verse.

Identify your audience. Are you writing for kids or adults? Literary types or American businesswomen? This will help determine where to submit your poetry.

Have your poems critiqued and/or proofread by peers you trust. (Be prepared for a wide range of emotional responses to your poems, as interpretation varies.) Make sure each page is clean, free of typos, and printed in an easy-to-read font.

Research the market. Identify publications that publish work you either admire or is similar to yours.

Make groupings of your poems. Group four or five that follow a similar theme, or make a group of unrelated poems to demonstrate your grasp of the genre. Each poem should be on its own page, with contact information included for each poem. Do not mix kid-friendly poems with poems suited for an adult audience.

Study the submission guidelines. Make sure you’re sending the right types of poems to the right types of journals, and follow their instructions to the letter. Double-check the editor’s name and spell it correctly.

Draft a short cover letter. Explain why you chose the particular magazine, and if you have impressive publishing credits, you may include those as well. If you don’t have credits, don’t apologize. Simply omit mention of credits, or see our techniques to build up your publishing bio credits, fast.

Getting your poetry published is important, and we encourage you to publish often and widely. Getting your poetry published feels great, and being able to share your poems with the world in reputable publications is liberating and worth celebrating. At Writer’s Relief, we can help you develop a strategy for submitting your poems for publication. The majority of our Full Service clients see their poems published in literary journals and magazines. Give us a call!

8 Responses to How To Get Your Poetry Published

  1. There are many wonderful, legitimate places out there that publish poetry. At Writer’s Relief we make it our business to keep tabs on reputable publications and those that are less-than-reputable. We target our clients’ work only to those publications that are legitimate and well-suited to the poet in question.

  2. What do you think about having a poem published for someone else? As a gift? Recently my dad sent me a poem and it’s good, and I’d like to have it published. What are your thoughts about that?

  3. Wren, while that sounds like a wonderful idea, receiving publication for a poem can take quite a while depending on the journal. Some don’t respond for months, and others may not respond at all unless they’re interested, which could make your waiting period very erratic.

    Although submitting for him may sound like a good idea, it’s best to let your father know if you’re sending his work out to journals/magazines. We wouldn’t recommend submitting it under his name without his approval, and submitting it under your own name (again, without his approval) may lead to legal complications.

    Instead, why not make the gift “submitting your father’s poem for him”? Researching journals can take quite a long time, even for a single poem, and I’m sure he would appreciate you doing the legwork to get his work out into the writing world!

  4. How old to most publishers like their clients to be? Do they care? What are some good first-time publishing companies or literary magazines that are accepting poetry?

  5. Christa: As long as you’re over 18 to sign any necessary contracts (or have a guardian sign for you if you’re not), you should be fine.

  6. I started writing Poetry around 4th Grade i’m now 21 writing a book about something i had a dream about, by the time that dream was over i pretty woke up a day later. i’ve always been told i should get my writing published both book & poetry and i found myself here today on this very page. We have to start somewhere and i believe all poetry matters is it comes straight from the essence of our hearts and the will the write another.

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