Since there are hundreds of publications in the US and abroad that publish poetry, finding the perfect fit for your verses may seem a bit overwhelming. If you’ve been writing and submitting for a while now, then you already have a list of publications on-hand. If you’re yet to publish your first poem or collection of poems, then you’ll want to start conducting targeted market research.
While you may want to aim for your favorite professional-level publication, sometimes it may take a while to get into its print – or cyber – pages. It’s important to remain positive and continue to focus on your craft by attending workshops, reading articles, creating – or joining – a critique group, and so forth.
The 15 Top Marketplaces to Publish Your Poetry
5 Markets for Mainstream Literary Poetry
5 Markets for Minimalist Poetry
5 Markets for Science and Speculative Fiction Poetry
What to Do Before Submitting
In general, many submission guidelines encourage you to send three-to-five poems at a time. So, once you have a completed file of poems to submit, here are just a few questions to ask before submitting your work:
- Do you know the type of poetry this publication tends to publish?
- Are you familiar with the editors’ likes, dislikes, and pet peeves?
- Have you checked, double- checked, and triple-checked the guidelines and followed them to the letter?
- Have you proofed and edited your poems? Read them out loud?
- Have you workshopped the poems, and do they represent your “best” work?
If you responded, “yes,” to the questions above, then submit your poems with a nice cover letter, when requested, and be sure to note the guidelines for these as well.
Keeping Track of Your Submissions
One way to maintain awareness of your progress and success is to create a submissions log. If you’re a prolific poet that submits work on a weekly basis, for example, then a log is a valuable tool. If you’re new to being published, then you have a visual and interactive display to note the cumulative results of your actions.
Here are just a few reasons why it’s a good to keep track:
- You are aware of which poems are being considered and by whom.
- You know when they’ve been submitted, which is particularly important when noting how long you need to wait before querying.
- You don’t inadvertently simsub (i.e., submit simultaneous submissions).
- You don’t resubmit a revised poem(s) to a publication that indicates not to do this unless invited.
- You will be able to note which publications you’ve considered for your work, thus determining if it’s a good market fit.
While some people may use Excel or another type of software, I create tables in a Word doc. Here are the categories in my current submissions log:
- Date submitted
- Publication and poem titles
- Date accepted and specific issue
- Date rejected
- Payment amount
Since I set up my tables to allow for additional information, I also make note of the editors’ names, website URLs, and other information, such as editor comments, which are always appreciated. In addition to my regular submissions log, I also have a month-to-month table where I track the total number of submissions, rejections, and payment.
One of my favorite motivational sayings is this: “What we focus on, grows.” I keep this in mind when writing, and yes, when opening my email to an acceptance or thank-you-for-submitting-but-it’s-not-a-good-fit-for-us letter. It’s also important to stay focused when, or if, those rejection notes seem to pile up. One of my early writing mentors told me that while I may be a good writer, it would be my dedication to craft and persistence that would make a significant difference. He was right.
Here’s to your success as a poet or with any other form of writing in which you choose to engage.
About the Author:
Terrie Leigh Relf is a lifetime member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and the author of Poet’s Workshop – and Beyond! She has had poetry published in a variety of genre and non-genre publications in the US and abroad. You may learn more about about her at tlrelf.wordpress.com.