I’ve been writing a series on Poets and Blogging, looking at whether blogging is right for you, promoting your blog, dealing with comments (and trolls) and other social media platforms if you decide blogging isn’t for you. The best social media promotion isn’t about badgering people to buy your book or pestering people to share your posts, but by getting your poems published and gaining readers. Readers will share poems they enjoy, post comments on them and find your blog because they want to know more.
If you’ve nervous about sending your poems out, consider the following points:
- Your poems can’t be read if they languish in a file on your computer and you’re the only person who knows they are there.
- Editors can only select from poems they’re sent – if you don’t send your poems out, they can’t be selected for publication.
- It’s the editor’s choice as to whether your poems are worthy of publication.
- It’s not a competition.
- You’re not stealing a publication slot from someone else – if an editor selects your poem, it’s because it’s a good fit with poems they’ve also chosen. If your poem’s not selected, that doesn’t mean someone else’s poem will be selected to fit that slot.
- Most competitions and some magazines read poems anonymously so your name won’t prejudice an editor’s or judge’s selection.
- All published poets had to start by sending out their first submission.
- All published poets still get rejections.
- Rejections are part of the process, not something to fear.
- Read poetry magazines, select ones that feel like the right fit for your poems.
- Check guidelines, especially submission windows.
- If there aren’t any guidelines, standard submission format is a covering letter and the three to four poems you want to submit typed single spaced on separate pages (within the same document if emailing). Ensure your name and email appears on each sheet of your submission in case pages get separated.
- Double check your poem for formatting, typos, grammar issues and submission guidelines before pressing send or posting.
- Avoid sending the same poem (or batch of poems) to more than one editor at a time. Most editors do not like simultaneous submissions and poetry readers do not want to read the same poem in several different magazines at around the same time.
- Don’t send one submission to editor A and wait for a response, send several submissions to different editors over a short period. Magazines often only take one or two poems so if you send 6 poems to editor A and 6 poems to editor B, 8 to 10 of those poems will be rejected and up to 4 may be accepted. If you send four poems to editor A, four poems to editor B, four poems to editor C, 6 of those poems will be rejected and up to 6 may be accepted. But choose your poems carefully – randomly targeting editors is a waste of time and effort.
If you’re not confident about submitting poems:
- Find a trusted reader, someone who will give you constructive feedback but won’t rubbish your efforts or give unconditional praise
- Take your poems to workshops
- Go to open mic events and read your poems – if you can read your poem in front of an audience, you can place your poems in front of an audience by seeking publication
- Seek out a mentor – remember most poets are writing around other jobs and may seek payment for their time. If you approach a poet, they are entitled to say no.
If you can share your poems at open mic slots or take them to workshops or ask someone else to read them, you can submit them to an editor.
Articles in the Poets and Blogging series:
Poets and Blogging: is Blogging for you?
Poets and Blogging: Search Engine Optimisation
Poets and Blogging: Promoting your Blog
Poets and Blogging: Managing Blog Comments
Poets and Blogging: Statistics
Poets and Blogging: Alternatives to Blogging