Why Are Poetry Submissions Rejected So Much

Writing poetry is one of the most agonizingly difficult tasks, yet some poets find themselves constantly rejected when they attempt to publish their work. It’s not easy to understand why their work is so often rejected and there can be a variety of reasons why, but here are the most common reasons why publishers reject poetry submissions.

To begin with, poor formatting is a major reason why poetry is often rejected. Publishers want to ensure that poets are presenting their work in the right way, to allow them to make the most of their work. Poets should be careful to adhere to guidelines such as double spacing, page limits and making sure their work looks visually appealing. If a publisher feels that the submission has not been formatted correctly, they may reject it out of hand.

The contents of the poem are another major factor in a publisher’s decision to reject a poetry submission. Whether it’s the theme, language or imagery used in the poem, publishers may reject submissions if they feel that the contents is not up to their standards. A well-crafted poem may be rejected if it does not fit in with the publisher’s artistic vision, or if it does not resonate with the intended readership. It is always important for poets to make sure that their submission fits in with the publisher’s specified guidelines, to avoid rejection stemming from content.

Another potential reason for a publisher to reject a submission is simply that it was not interesting or imaginative enough. Poetry has the potential to captivate readers and to transport them to different worlds, and publishers may reject a submission if they feel that it fails to do so. Poets should strive to create work that is enlivening, surprising and powerful with their language, if they want to get their work noticed and accepted.

Finally, a lot of poetry submissions are rejected because of credibility issues. Publishers want to make sure the poet has a good reputation and is respected in the artistic and literary communities, before accepting a submission. To ensure this, many publishers have implemented a vetting process, where they investigate the artist’s work and reputation before deciding whether or not to accept the submission.

Formatting Mistakes

It is essential for a poet to get the formatting of their poem right if they want to be taken seriously by publishers. Poets should pay close attention to guidelines on fonts, font sizes, line lengths, rhyming schemes and other important details to make sure their work is presented in the best possible way. If they do not get the formatting right, their poem may be rejected before it is even read by the publisher.

Formatting mistakes can be easy to make, but they can also easily be avoided with a bit of preparation and research. Poets should take the time to learn how to properly structure poems, to make sure that they are submitting submissions that look professional. Careful attention to detail could mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.

It’s important to note that formatting mistakes may also extend to cover letters and other documents that are sent along with a poem submission. Poets should invest the same energy into formatting their cover letters, to create a package that looks and feels professional. Not only does this help to convey professionalism, but it helps the publisher to take the submission seriously.

Finally, it’s important to be aware that mistakes in formatting will not necessarily sink a poem submission, but they could definitely work against it. Poets should go the extra mile and make sure that their poem submissions have been formatted correctly in order to give themselves the best chance of success.

Research and Targeting

When submitting a poem, it is important for a poet to ensure that the publisher they are sending the submission to is the right fit. Research into the type of work that the publisher is looking for and the type of audience they are targeting will help the poet to tailor the submission to the publisher’s specific requirements.

Many poets make the mistake of submitting to randomly selected publishers, which means their work is unlikely to be accepted. It is essential for poets to select the right publications to submit to, by researching into the types of poems they publish and the readership that they have. This will help the poet to create a submission that fits in with the publication’s mission and aesthetic.

Poets should also consider the type of people who will be reading their work. Is the publication primarily targeting teenage audiences? Adult audiences? Professional readers or hobbyists? Understanding the way the publication caters to each of these audiences will help the poet to tailor their work accordingly.

Finally, poets should take the time to read previous poems that have been published in the publication they are submitting to, in order to get a feel for the style and themes that the publication values. By doing this, the poet will be able to create a submission that appeals to the publication’s aesthetic, as well as its readership.

Use of Language

It is important for poets to make sure that the language they use in their poems resonates with their intended readership. If a poem is written in a way that readers cannot relate to, then it is unlikely to be taken seriously. Poets should strive to use language that is exciting and powerful, but also accessible and easy to understand.

It is also important for poets to consider how their language might be interpreted in different contexts. For instance, a poem that is primarily geared towards an adult audience may contain language that is too advanced for a younger readership. Similarly, a poem that is written for a young audience may be too simplistic for older readers. It is essential for poets to take the time to consider who their readers are and create a poem that appeals to their specific tastes.

Poets should also be mindful of the style of the language they use. Poetry can be written in a variety of interesting and innovative styles, but it is important for poets to make sure that the language and style they use fits in with the publisher’s aesthetic. For example, if the publisher is looking for poems written in a lyrical style, a poem written in a more abstract or experimental style may not be accepted.

Finally, poets should be aware of any cliches or outdated language that might be included in the poem, as publishers will be unlikely to accept a submission that is not up to the highest literary standards.

Submission Requirements

It is essential for poets to make sure they understand the submission requirements of any publishers they are submitting to. Most publishers will have a list of requirements that must be followed before a submission will be accepted, such as page limits, word counts and formatting rules. If poets are not aware of all of the submission requirements, then their work is unlikely to be accepted by the publisher.

The submission requirements of different publishers can vary greatly, so it is important that poets take the time to do their research before sending in their work. They should also pay attention to any changes the publisher might make to the submission requirements, as these could change at any time. By being aware of the submission requirements, poets can make sure that their work is accepted.

It is also important for poets to make sure that any accompanying documents, such as covering letters and biographies, are up to the expectations set by the publisher. Generally, covering letters should be concise and informative, and biographies should be brief and relevant. Submitting documents that do not meet the publisher’s standards could lead to the submission being rejected out of hand.

Finally, poets should always make sure that they proofread their work before submitting it. Submitting work that contains spelling errors or typos is a surefire way to get a submission rejected. Poets should take the time to read through their work multiple times before submitting it, to make sure that all errors have been corrected.

Be Confident

Finally, it is important for poets to be confident in their work when they submit it. Publishing can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it is important for poets to remember that the poetry they create is valuable and worthy of being published. It can be helpful for poets to remind themselves that their work is important before each submission, in order to give themselves the confidence to put their work out into the world.

It is also important for poets to remember that rejection is a normal part of the publishing process. Poets should not be disheartened or become dispirited if their work is not accepted by a publisher, as this is not an indication of the poem’s quality. Instead, poets should use a rejection as an opportunity to hone their work and to make sure that their next submission is even better.

Finally, it is essential for poets to take the time to look for support networks and communities that can provide both constructive feedback and emotional support. Being part of a supportive community can help to lessen the emotional impact of rejections, and could also open up new opportunities for poets to submit their work to.

Staying Organised

Submitting poetry can become an overwhelming task if poets are not organised. It is a good idea for poets to make a spreadsheet in which they can track each of their submissions, to keep a record of where and when their work has been sent. This will help them to stay on top of their submissions and to make sure that they are sending their work out regularly.

Organisation can also help poets to ensure that they are adhering to submission guidelines. By having a spreadsheet of all their submissions, they can make sure that they are sending the right documents to the right publishers and are meeting all the necessary deadlines.

It is also important for poets to develop a routine when submitting their work, as this helps to ensure that their submissions are of a high quality. Poets should take the time to plan when they will be sending in their work, as well as how often they will be submitting their work. Having a routine can help poets to make sure that any rejections are quickly followed up with an improved and polished poem.

Finally, it is essential for poets to make sure that their work is polished before sending it off to publishers. Submitting work that is unfinished or carelessly written will not be taken seriously by publishers, so it is important for poets to take the time to read through their work and to make sure that it is up to the highest standards.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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