Thursday, 27 October 2011

How to get a Poetry Collection Published

First published on my blog at

Here are some links for a subject that is taxing me currently. So if any publishers want to have a chat with me, my email's on the sidebar!

How to approach a poetry publisher by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe poetry publisher) at the Guardian
  • Don't submit to publishers unless you've read their books, or to magazines unless you're familiar with the kind of work they publish.
So true
  • And Publish a poetry Pamphlet.
  • While you should only submit your book to one publisher at a time, it is acceptable to send a small sample (half a dozen of your best poems) to several publishers with a letter asking if they'd like to see the full manuscript. 
  • don't expect to make much money from it.
And a slightly different slant from Roddy Lumsden (poet) from The Artists And Writers Yearbook.
  • Many writers, with hindsight, feel their first books lack cohesion. 
  • A few hundred poetry collections by individual writers are published most years. Most – admirable though they may be – are small-scale, from local presses, in pamphlet form, in small print runs. The better-known independent poetry presses (Anvil, Bloodaxe, Carcanet, Salt, Seren and others) publish over 150 books between them, while the few commercial presses (Cape, Chatto, Picador, Faber) venture around 50 between them.  
  • The work I read was generally impressive, carefully assembled by capable writers and much of it as good as work I’d recently seen in book form. ... after a while, I found myself growing impatient with poems which were well written but overfamiliar in style and subject matter.
  • Write some really good poems
  • Workshop them with poets who's opinions you respect
  • Read contemporary poetry and buy magazines and collections
  • Go to Poetry Readings and events
  • Submit to smaller magazines, paper and online
  • Read your poems at open mics and events
  • Submit to larger, more well known magazines
  • Publish a poetry pamphlet
  • Win some competitions and awards
  • Submit 6 poems to the publishers with whose work you are familiar
  • Don't give up the day job


Titus said...

Good post. I'm sticking with that last one!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

That is amazing advice. I am writing my first novel. Did it backwards, it's a mess, I'm struggling, but it will be finished one day. In the meantime I am reading EVERYTHING I can about
poetry before I start submitting. I believe it will go better than the novel is.

Emerging Writer said...

Thanks Titus, I wish we didn't have to. Our next president is a poet.
Thanks Donna. Put the novel to one side for a while and come back to it later.