Over the past two months, I’ve shared my journey to have my debut poetry collection published by a traditional small press. The collection is titled Solving the World’s Problems, and it was “officially” released on September 1 by Press 53. This post collects the entire 8-part series of posts with short summaries.
It’s funny. I thought getting a book published would result mainly in a superficial change in my poetic life. That is, I’d be able to call myself a poet and have the opportunity to direct people to an actual book of my work (as opposed to links to poems online). However, as I share in the posts below, the process changed the actual art and craft of my poetry writing in ways I did not anticipate.
I hope these posts are helpful for poets who have not gone through the process yet–to shed some light on at least one poet’s process. Every house is different; the editors and publishers are different; but this hopefully helps show one possible path.
Assembling & Submitting a Poetry Collection
I start at the beginning. That is, I share my process for assembling my collection of poems–how I went about it (for both chapbooks and the full-length book). Then, I share how I went about submitting my collection and what I cared about regarding that step.
Use the 2014 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer, to find a publisher for your chapbook or full-length collection of poems. In addition to hundreds of listings for book publishers, magazines, contests, and more, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry.
Plus, several new poems from the likes of Shaindel Beers, Amorak Huey, J.P. Dancing Bear, and others.
Pushing a Poetry Manuscript to a New Level
When my poetry editor accepted the manuscript and said he didn’t think it would require too many revisions, I took him at his word. When he came back a few days later claiming a masterpiece of lyrical poetry was possible if I was willing to put in the work, I realized this might end up being more work than I thought.
Promoting a Poetry Collection
In this post, I lay out some of the possibilities of promotion that are available to all writers. Then, I share what I did to get the promotional ball rolling. The writing always comes first, and–as a naturally shy and introverted person–this part is often the most difficult part for me to work through.
Securing Blurbs for a Poetry Collection
First, I share how I went about choosing who to ask. Then, there’s the whole overcoming my fears to ask them to read the manuscript. When they agreed, I found myself worrying their responses would be overwhelmingly negative. And then, well, read the post.
Tying Up Loose Ends on a Poetry Collection
After writing, submitting, revising, promoting, and securing blurbs for a collection, some people might think the process is pretty much over. And they’d be wrong. In this post, I cover some of the “extra” bits that go into getting a book of poetry published.
Receive Feedback on Your Poetry!
Want some honest and objective feedback on your poetry from someone who knows poetry? Here’s a great opportunity with the Writer’s Digest Advanced Poetry Writing course. The entire focus of this course is writing poetry and finding new ways to go about the writing and re-writing process.
Pre-selling the Poetry Collection
My press, Press 53, provides its authors with an opportunity to host a pre-order event before the book is released. I jumped at the opportunity, because signing and selling books of poetry is such a novel concept. In this post, I share what I learned about connecting with readers and pre-selling books.
Releasing the Poetry Collection
On the “official” release date for my book, I was at the nation’s largest book festival, but I wasn’t reading from or promoting my book. I was enjoying the work of others and taking a day of rest for getting through my first book and actually completing the whole “get a book published” resolution finally.
Moving Past the Poetry Collection
After my day of rest, I got back to the work of being a poet. Yes, there’s the promotion of the book after the release, but the book is not a finish line–just a stone along the path of a poet’s existence. There are new poems to create and re-create. New books to read. Lessons to learn.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and now a published author. He edits books, creates blog posts, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, edits a free weekly newsletter on publishing, and lots of other fun writing-related stuff. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer curates the Insta-poetry series for Virginia Quarterly Review. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.
Find more poetic posts here:
- Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 236. Every Wednesday, a new poetry prompt.
- Tom Lombardo: Poet Interview. Author of What Bends Us Blue (and my editor at Press 53).
- Lai: Poetic Forms. Another fun French form.