You Can Publish Your Own Poetry

Updated on November 25, 2015
drmiddlebrook profile image

Dr. Middlebrook, former university professor, is a fiction/non-fiction author (pen name Beax Rivers), and virtual writing coach and trainer.

Sound Advice for Poets and Writers

Calling all lords and ladies of the limerick, all royalty of the rhythm of rhyme—if you’re a poet, and you want the world to finally know it, shouldn’t you be thinking about getting your poems published?

You’ve mastered the art of expression when it comes to your ideas, opinions, and feelings, and you’ve proven you can produce musical melodies in free verse like a virtuoso playing a finely tuned violin. Not only do you have in your writing “bag of tricks” useful tools like metaphors, similes, and onomatopoeia, you even know the meaning of “iambic pentameter!” In other words, you’re a pro who knows how to splash and scour intricately woven words for others to devour. You are a professional ponderer, questioner, a connoisseur of life and all it means. Like a “straight A” Maya Angelou understudy, you know how to make words sing. You know how to preach powerfully to the mind, while tugging at the heartstrings with timeless rhymes. So, since you’re such a pro at poetry, riddle me this … why aren’t you published?

"I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree."
"I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree." | Source

Who will know, as time goes by? That even you, or even I … who will ever with probing eyes see--to confirm the poet in you or me?

Okay, so I too dabble a bit in the fanciful art. But enough about me. If you’ve explored the idea of getting your work published as a book, you already know that even though you might find it easy to be a wicked wordslinger, no matter how good you are at it, there’s a big divide between slinging words and getting those words published. Word-slinging is an art, but getting them published, my dear friend, is business. And the business of publishing is a tough one, indeed. In fact, unless you are Maya Angelou (or someone of her caliber—if there is such a thing), then you can bet it’s probably easier to find the old needle in the haystack than it will be to find a willing publisher for a book of poems. So where do we go from here?

"A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;"
"A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;" | Source

If you’re serious about the idea of getting a book of poetry published one day, then the first thing you might do is to try to create a name for yourself in the literary arena. Gaining attention and interest in your work from the editors and readers of literary magazines and journals might offer the least treacherous path to publication for most unknown poets. You can find a lot of good and/or interesting literary journals online, and some also have printed versions.

Take a look at publications such as The Writer’s Literary Muse (they accept work from poets of all genres), Shadow Express (they’re dedicated to emerging writers, including poets), Sphere Literary Magazine (they’re devoted to student writing; edited by students at Farleigh Dickenson University), the Fifth Wednesday Journal (they accept submissions for poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and photography), and the Chocorua Review (they publish art, fiction, and poetry with “intellectual weight”). These publications, and many others, provide talent showcases—print and online opportunities to be read and to become known, for poets at all stages of their craft. And remember, you can also use Google to find a variety of other poetry “e-zines.”

"A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;"
"A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;" | Source

You should also check out resources such as Poets Market (updated annually, it contains articles to help you write and market poetry, and lists contact information and submission guidelines for publishers of poetry).

Another good resource for you is Poets and Writers magazine. It offers, online, a place to connect with others of your ilk. You can invite your peers to read and critique your work (to help you improve as a writer of poetry), and find information on all kinds of things, such as literary agents, writing conferences, and directories for poets and writers. They also provide information on writing contests and grants, as well as links to databases of literary journals and MFA programs.

Will you get published right away, or will taking the online or print literary journal paths mean you’ll still have to learn how to deal with rejection? These are questions you’ll only find answers to by taking the plunge. And even though there’s a good chance you won’t win the Walt Whitman award your first time out in public, you will undoubtedly learn from the experience of trying to get your work published. No effort of any kind ever goes unrewarded.

"A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;"
"A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;" | Source

Then, there’s always the path to getting known as the awesome poet you are that is known as self-publishing. But hark, even self-publishing is not a trouble-free path. For one thing, you need to understand that self-publishing means you are taking on the role of publisher. It means that if you have the time and the money to invest in publishing a book, that you need to be sure that what you’re about to put in print for others to see is as good, and as marketable, as it can possibly be (rhyme not intended).

Have you had your manuscript edited? What’s that you say? You didn’t think a book of poetry needed an editor? You thought that you, as the creator and messenger of your innermost thoughts were the only person who could possibly edit your work? Think again, my dear friend. In fact, you are probably the main person who should not edit your final manuscript. Why? Because you’re biased, you’ve seen your own writing too much to be objective, and if you’ve committed errors in spelling, grammar, or usage, there’s a good chance you won’t even see them. So take my advice, either pay an editor, or ask an excellent-with-English family member or friend to take a look at your final draft.

"Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain."
"Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain." | Source

After your final draft is edited and ready to go, then you’re ready, as a self-publisher, to begin looking for the right company to get your book in print. The Internet offers a veritable plethora of companies that are salivating while begging to publish your work for you.

You'll find a range of companies available, from those that offer few services other than binding and printing your book, to those offering a full suite of publishing services. So how do you choose one? Painstakingly—you do your due diligence. You must check out publishers, one by one, and, ultimately, you will find one that seems to be the best path for you and your needs. You will need to compare pricing information and services offered from submission to publication. For example:

  • Do they offer line editing? Content editing?
  • Do they charge extra for editing services?
  • How will the artwork for the cover of your book be produced? Will you have opportunities for input? How many versions of cover possibilities will they produce? And how will you proceed if you don’t like any of their ideas?
  • What about marketing services and publicity? How will people be able to get a copy of your book? Will you get both print and digital versions of your book? And who will distribute it?
  • Will you or the company register your work for copyright?

"Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree." (By Joyce Kilmer)
"Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree." (By Joyce Kilmer) | Source
Think that you will ever see a poem as lovely as any of nature's beauty?
Think that you will ever see a poem as lovely as any of nature's beauty? | Source

Once you have answers to these questions and many more you should have that I have not included in this article, then you’re finally ready to self-publish. You’re on your way to fame and fortune … well, at least to some degree of notoriety as a poet. Now, aren't you glad to finally know that all the effort and time, not to mention the precious pieces of your soul that you’ve lovingly put into your work, hasn’t all been for naught? You’ve compiled an impressive cacophony of thoughts and soliloquies, lyrical impressions, shimmering sonnets, and iridescent ironies… a menagerie of allegories, epigrams, and elegies, and these are your miracles; the constant shadows and silent footprints … of your life.

You’re adequately armed with much of the information you will need to see your work in print. And now, even though you've found in my words to you inspiration, encouragement, and motivation, and even though I'm sure you're ready to go, I feel strongly that I must leave you with one final thought, as you embark upon your journey, no, your adventure—toward becoming published:

Good luck, I say, good only to you, To thine own self thou hast been true … You’ve found your reason and romanced the rhyme, And immortality you’ll undoubtedly find … Sooner or later may it be as you’ve wished, I pray life unto you friend, among the published!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • drmiddlebrook profile imageAUTHOR

        Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 

        3 years ago from Texas, USA

        Thanks for the visit and the comments Jodah. I hope the article is "timeless" enough and relevant that, with just a little updating every now and then, it will keep providing inspiration and help for anyone who needs it. Thanks for the vote up!

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        3 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Well, this is the first comment for three years anyway this is a great article, full of good advice about having your poetry published (something I struggle with). Voted up.

      • drmiddlebrook profile imageAUTHOR

        Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 

        6 years ago from Texas, USA

        Thanks so much rahul. I will always do my best to inform, inspire, and engage, and I'm glad you found something good in this Hub. Thanks!!

      • rahul0324 profile image

        Jessee R 

        6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

        A great one! Thanks for the share Anan

        And middle! What wonderful info here... hats' off

      • drmiddlebrook profile imageAUTHOR

        Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 

        6 years ago from Texas, USA

        Thanks again Anaceleste. I am forever grateful and thankful. Glad you found the article useful. It even helped me to research and write it! Thanks again.

      • ananceleste profile image

        Anan Celeste 

        6 years ago from California

        Welcome to Hubpages!!

        Magnificent article! I will definitively look into it right away. I just found your profile and you have quite a library. Sharing!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)