How to Market Poetry

By: Curtis Foster

Have you ever thought of submitting your poetry to a magazine or book?? Before you do, consider a few important tips.? Like submitting a manuscript, there is a submissions process involved in poetry.? Like fiction or nonfiction, there are scam poetry publishers that you would best avoid.? The first steps in preparing for poetry submission are fairly obvious.? Organize your submissions via a spreadsheet so you can keep track of dates and companies.? Always send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope or check with the company before emailing.

Be sure to research the market you are aiming for and the publisher that you're communicating with.? Find out if they are trustworthy and what type of poetry editors are looking for.? Be aware that there are genres for poetry just the same as for fiction and nonfiction.? There is narrative poetry, epic poetry, dramatic poetry, satirical poetry, lyrical poetry, , verse fable and prose poetry.? The most popular genres of contemporary society are love poems, sad poems, friendship poems and poems on life.? You may even want to read some of the poems the company has already published.

Realize that editors buy poetry for many different reasons.? It's not always about quality, it usually has more to do with marketing and sales.? For example, an editor might have to pass on a lot of poetry if he or she is trying to organize a monthly theme.? Additionally, some poetry will lend itself to fit on a smaller part of the page.? Most poets never think of little details like layout or marketability, but these details will often determine what poems are accepted and what is rejected.? Timing is just as important as quality, so write a great deal!

Needless to say, you need to dress your poems up before submitting them.? Make sure that they are error-free, spell checked and perfectly structured (if you're submitting a traditional poem).? Free style poetry is usually less restrictive but still requires some effort in planning.? What are the two most common errors that new poets make?? First, it's in careless writing.? This is not necessarily bad writing but may be written hastily and not thoroughly proofread before the submission.? Simple mistakes like plural and singular mismatches or missing words may be undetected by a computer processor.? A book editor might let you slide, though it's unlikely, because you have managed to write a fairly marketable 100,000-word manuscript.? A poetry editor?? Not a chance!? The piece is much smaller and so the filtering process has to be that much more stringent.? The lesson is to take your time reviewing your own manuscript.? Try to visualize yourself as the editor and focus on all of the negatives of your piece.? You may be surprised at what errors you find.?

The second most common error a writer makes is to write a piece in ignorance.? The lack of research shows in amateur submissions, whether from poorly constructed poetic verse or from incorrect information on the subject.? Research your subject well, review your own work and find an editor who is sure to appreciate the effort.??

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