You've gone and done it. You've written one of the best poems in your life. You've poured your sweat and guts into this one and it's the biggest of the big ones. What's next? Do you print it up and place it in a picture frame for your family and friends to read? Do you send it in a Christmas card to all your loved ones? Or, do you wait for the next Thanksgiving Parade and stand at the podium, shared with the mayor of course, and read it to your fellow citizens?
|On your page is your best poetry work. Now you're wondering how to get it published.|
All those ideas might work . . . well maybe. Who knows? However, like many poets you may want to share your creation with the world, not just your nearest and dearest. You want others to ponder the words you have written. Maya Angelou's poems inspire millions. We would all love to have our poems admired by millions, at least thousands. Well, all right, I'll settle for hundreds.
So, how do we go about putting our poetry out there? Here are some thoughts. Get your hands on the latest Poet's Market resource book. Alternatively, you can see if your library has a copy, but chances are slim that it's the latest version. Poet's Market 2007 by Nancy Breen and Erika O'Connell is still available, but Poet's Market 2008 by Nancy Breen is already on the shelves as well.
These are fantastic resources and it's best to purchase both to have handy this coming year. There are listings of over 1,800 market places including magazines, book publishers, and anthology publishers seeking fresh and vital poems written by new and established poets. The Poet's Market series is published every year listing publishers' addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and guidelines for submitting your poetry.
Please remember this very, very important rule: Find out what the publisher wants. Do not send a poem about your pet dog to a magazine seeking erotica. Do not send your poem about the loss of a loved one to a magazine about sport. In other words, know the market to which you are submitting. Know what kind of poetry is being published. Read a sample copy of the magazine you're targeting. See what others are writing.
You'll be pleased to know that some of these magazines are paying markets. Yes, they are willing to pay you for your creation if they accept it. You may not get rich selling poetry. However, an occasion dollar or two in the mail is possibly a little effort.
What about books of poetry you ask? The Poet's Market also lists publishers seeking these. If money is tight, there are several sources on the Internet offering resources to writers and poets. As well as The Freelance Writing Organization Int'l itself, try Preditors & Editors, Piers Anthony, Fiction Factor, and Published.com. These are just a few.
Another possibility is to go to your favourite search engine and search for small press publishers. Most publishers interested specifically in poetry are small, independently owned houses. Again, read what they publish before you send them your masterpiece.
One last tidbit of advice. Many poetry publishers are like the sifting sand. They change frequently. Some shut their doors forever, some change their names, and still others merge with larger publishing houses. So, don't be discouraged if your poem comes back to you with "No Such Name At This Address" stamped across the envelope. Also be ware that your poem submitted through email can get lost somewhere in the stars of cyberspace. It happens. I know. Believe me I know.
Finally, don't give up. You know you're a good poet, but not everyone knows you're the greatest. Give yourself time to be accepted and recognized as the future Poet Laureate of your deserving country. Good luck and good writing.
Stan Grimes is a graduate from Indiana University and works in the real world as a social worker. He has written a number of articles for the American Chronicle and www.useless-knowledge.com, has numerous poems and short stories published in various anthologies and on his website at AuthorsDen and has three science fiction/suspense thriller novels out. His latest, Deacon, can be found at Double Dragon Publishing Inc.