How To Get Your New Poetry Manuscript Published in 14 Easy Steps

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How to Publish a Book of Poems.

  1.  Begin work with 40 to 70 pages of poetry in mind. As you write, be poetic but don’t be overly poetic. Keep it simple. Anglo and Saxon over Latin and -ate, every time.
  2.  Subject-wise, say the same ole, same ole only in a new way.
  3.  Submit to poetry journals. Make sure they are prestigious so as to give your future Acknowledgments Page *pop*. Maybe something like Kenyon Review or Pleiades or Ploughshares or Agni. In a pinch, The New Yorker‘s not bad, either.
  4.  When one of these well-known journals accepts individual poems, say yes. Never hold out in hopes of a bigger bopper. A bird in the hand, and all that.
  5.  If you can be a Fellow, be a Fellow. Jolly Good is optional.
  6.  Apply for residencies and go to conferences, preferably taught by established poets who get published before their poems are even opened and read. Mix. Schmooze. Don’t drink too much. Laugh at other people’s jokes. Read established poets in advance so you can allude with accuracy.
  7.  Attend poetry writing courses taught by established poets who get published before their poems are even opened and read.
  8.  Share drafts of your poems with established poets who get published before their poems are even opened and read. Ask for feedback.
  9.  Ask a friend who happens to be an artist or one who happens to be a photographer to design your book cover. If your friend’s initials are “Chip Kidd,” all the better.
  10.  Only submit to publishers who invite you to submit. These will be the ones the established poets who… yadda yadda… publish with. Maybe something like Faber & Faber or Milkweed Books or Copper Canyon Press. In a pinch, Harper & Row Publishers is not bad, either.
  11. When your poetry collection gets accepted by the publisher who outbid all the others, don’t forget your “Thanks” and “I Am Indebted To” page where, in alphabetical order (it’s safest), you can thank all those established poets who get published before their poems are even opened and read. You know. The ones you mixed with and got feedback from and who now consider you their protégé.
  12.  Write an op-ed feature for The New York Times Book Review that has something to do with the something to do your book of poems is doing with. Send it in requesting a publication date that matches the week of your book’s debut.
  13.  Voilá! as they say in Montmartre. You are now on your way to Park Place Poetry (as they say in Monopoly).
  14.  You’re welcome.

 

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