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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!