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Write poetry for enough years, and you may discover a day when you have enough poems to publish a book. There are a number of ways to get your poetry collection published, but they all have one thing in common: The more individual poems you’ve already published by the time you start thinking about your book, the better.
5 Reasons To Publish Individual Poems Before You Pitch A Book
If you find you’re getting a healthy number of acceptances along with your slew of rejections, you may be on your way to publishing a collection. But if you haven’t received the acceptance letters from the reputable journals you most want to be in, it may be time to reevaluate. Read more: Five Ways To Get More Acceptance Letters From Literary Agents And Editors.
Reputation plays a role. While many editors maintain that “all that matters is the writing” and that a writer’s bio doesn’t have an effect on editorial choices, a strong reputation could tip the scales in your favor in certain situations. When you come to the table with many publication credits, you’ll be more likely to be taken seriously. It’s just like applying for a job: experience counts.
Published poems prove there’s a market for your work. If you want to pitch a collection of poems to an independent press, it’s likely that editors will be thinking about numbers. Who’s going to buy the book? Is there interest in this person’s work? Is my (cash-strapped) publishing company going to lose money on this deal? Having individual poems published may help ease worried minds.
Publishing your individual poems helps you create connections. Often, publishers that regularly print collections by individual writers also edit literary journals or poetry anthologies. If your individual poem finds a home in an anthology, you may be able to parlay that “small” publication into extra attention when you begin “shopping around” your full collection of poems.
Publishing individual poems will keep you going. It can take a long time to publish a book of poems. First, it can take years to write enough poems that can be compiled into a book. And it can take years to go from manuscript to publication. So while you’re gearing up for a book, keep sending those poetry submissions to literary journals. Your individual publications will tide you over if your ultimate goal is to publish a collection.
Publish Your Collection Of Poems
Once you’re comfortable with the number of individual poems you’ve published, it’s time to start submitting your collection to contests and presses (or you can self-publish your book). Your bio will point out all the awesome lit mags that have published your work, and you’ll have the confidence of knowing that your poetry book is more likely to receive support. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the next great poets!
QUESTION: Have you ever bought a collection of poems by an individual poet? Which poet(s)?