Writing and Submitting Your Poem
Writing a poem can be both a creative and daunting task. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to crafting the perfect poem. It is a highly personal art form, so what resonates with one reader may not strike a chord with another. If you’re looking to get published, one of the most important things to consider is
that your poem must be given the care and attention it deserves. After all, many an editor and reader have been won over by a submissions that contain clear and powerful writing. Here are some of the key elements to consider when writing your poem:
- Pay attention to your words. Poetry is a highly personal art form, and many of the words you choose will carry significant weight. Ensure that the words you choose evoke the feeling that you want to convey and create the impact that you desire.
- Give your poem a logical structure. All good poems have elements of form, technique, and narrative that come together to create a cohesive story. Your poem should tell a story, offer insight, and be structured logically. Consider the form of your poem and use creative techniques, such as alliteration, to ensure that readers can follow your story.
- Show, don’t tell. Good poetry is more than just words on paper. Great poems which transport readers to a different place and evoke emotion. Use sensory imagery and vivid language to tell your story and draw in the reader.
- Review, revise, and polish. Even the best writers can’t get it right the first time. Make sure you read through your poem to double check that it is error-free and that there is a consistent flow to the poem. This is key to ensuring that your poem stands up to the rigour of modern editors.
- Writing style – does the publication prefer a more traditional or contemporary style?
- Subject matter – what types of topics does the magazine usually cover?
- Word counts – does the magazine have a preferred length for submissions?
- Agreements – does the magazine have a certain set of terms and conditions that you need to adhere to?
- Read the instructions carefully – make sure you are familiar with the guidelines provided by the magazine.
- Double check for typos – typos and spelling mistakes should be avoided at all costs. Use tools such as spellcheck, grammarly and readability features to help you identify errors and adjust your writing as needed.
- Add formatting – editors prefer submissions that contain formatting such as bold or italic text and headings.
- Keep to the word count – make sure that your poem does not exceed the word count specified by the magazine.
- Proofread and edit – it’s important to read through your poem to check that it flows well and that there are no errors.
Finding Publishing Opportunities
You have done all the hard work, the next step is to find somewhere to showcase your work. The best place to start is to identify target opportunities that would be well suited to your poem. Researching the wide range of publishing opportunities is a critical step as there a numerous magazines, newspapers and websites that regularly accept submissions from writers of all genres.
When considering publications, consider the following criteria:
It also pays to keep a watchful eye on the submission deadlines as these change depending on the magazine. Always abide by the instructions provided to ensure your poem stands the best chance of getting selected.
Preparing Your Submission
In order to maximize your chances of getting your poem published, it’s important to ensure that your submission is of a high standard. When preparing to submit your poem, take the time to fine tune the following:
Marketing Your Poem
Getting your poem out there is essential if you want to increase the chances of getting published. Start by building a portfolio of digital footprints, including a website and online profiles on social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Engage with other writers and like-minded individuals by participating in discussion forums and poetry slams. By building a community around your work, you’ll be able to get your poem in front of more eyes and increase your chances of getting published.
You should also consider submitting your poem to competitions. Not only could you win a cash prize, you may also have the opportunity to get your poem published in a periodical or book. Make sure you read the rules and adhere to the guidelines of the competition to maximize your chances of getting chosen.
In addition to traditional outlets, you can also consider publishing platforms such as Medium.com or PoemHunter.com. These are great places to start as they tend to be more accessible and less concealing than other publishing options.
Publishing platforms provide an opportunity to reach a wider audience and get feedback on your work. They also provide the opportunity to gradually build your fanbase and get noticed by potential publishers.
Networks and Contacts
Networking is key when it comes to getting published. Building a network of contacts who can vouch for you and your work can go a long way, and may even lead to referrals to agencies and publishing houses.
Start networking by attending local events and conventions and speaking with publishers and editors in person. Social media can also be used to great effect to promote your work and events, and build relationships with other writers who can provide valuable guidance and share useful contacts.
Securing a Pubishing Deal
Once you’ve found the perfect place to showcase your work, the next step is to find a publishing deal. To maximize your chances of success, research publishers who have a successful track record of publishing poetry and then send a well-crafted submission.
In addition to sending a written query letter, you may also benefit from having a number of sample poems to showcase the range of your work and your style. This may be enough to secure you a publishing deal and ensure your work is seen by a wider audience.
As your poem gains traction, it’s essential to understand copyright law. Copyright grant you exclusive rights over your work and protect against theft, plagiarism and other infringement of your intellectual property.
It is important that you properly protect your work from the outset and understand who owns the rights to your poem and what that means for you. This can be done in a number of ways, such as registering for a copyright or creating an agreement with the publication.
Seeking Professional Representation
At some point, you may want to consider seeking professional representation. Agents and publishers can be invaluable in helping you secure more and better publishing deals and protecting your copyrighted work.
When seeking representation, do your research and ensure the agent or publisher you choose has a good record and can provide you with the services you need. It’s also important to understand the terms and conditions of any agreement you enter into, and to know your own rights and obligations.
Persevering Through Setbacks
Getting published can be a long, frustrating process. Rejection is a fact of life for all writers but it’s important to remember to keep at it and persevere through any setbacks.
Take the time to reflect on each submission and see what lessons can be learned from it. Always remember to stay true to your vision and never give up on your dream of becoming a published poet.