Thursday, September 14, 2023

Dear O'Abby: How do I publish poetry?

 Dear O'Abby,

I've been writing poetry for a number of years now, and I have enough poems I consider good now that I feel  like I'm ready to put them together into a collection.  I've been researching agents, but I haven't had much like finding any that represent poetry.  Is there a different process for publishing poetry than there is for novels and non-fiction books?

Yours truly,

Confused Poetess

Dear Confused Poetess,

Agents very rarely represent poets, and if they do, they're usually big name poets who have won major awards, or they're novelists who just happen to write poetry on the side.  So the process for getting your poems published is going to be quite different.

The first thing I'd suggest is submitting your poems to literary journals and other publications.  This is where poetry gets seen and read and where you can build an audience for your work.  You can also share your poems on social media or on a blog, but just be aware that this can, in some cases, be considered publication,  and some journals won't accept previously published work.

You can also enter competitions which is another way to get your work in front of people.  Some contests offer publication as the ultimate prize, either for individual poems as part of an anthology, or the publication of a collection.

Self-publishing is a good option for poets too, especially if you have local bookstores that carry poetry books.  Make sure you invest in a good cover and you may be able to get your local bookstores to carry the book.  Alternatively, there are some small presses that specialise in poetry and have good distribution across known poetry markets.

I hope that helps!

X  O'Abby

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