How to Prepare Poetry Manuscript Submissions

How many poems can you send to a magazine at one time? How do you prepare a collection of poetry for submission to a publisher? A poetry expert answers these and other questions.
Author:
Publish date:

What are the manuscript guidelines for poetry submission, including chapbooks?

(What is a poetry chapbook?)

Here's advice from the editors of Poet's Market:

The guidelines are slightly different for poetry manuscripts than for fiction manuscripts. Following is a brief checklist for submitting either individual poems or a poetry manuscript.
For individual poems:

  • Send only three to five poems at one time, positioning your best poems on top. Most editors don't have time to read more than five poems and less than three doesn't provide a sufficient sample of your work.
  • Type one poem to a page, single-spaced with double-spacing between stanzas. (Haiku may be an exception here.) Leave at least a one-inch margin on all sides of the page.
  • Include your name, address and telephone number in the upper left or right corner. The title of your poem should appear in all caps in initial caps about six lines underneath your address, centered or flush left. Begin the poem one line beneath the title.

For book manuscripts:

  • First, when submitting a poetry collection to a book publisher, it is best to request guidelines since press requirements vary from a query letter with a few sample poems to the entire manuscript.
  • When submitting an entire poetry manuscript, use a separate cover sheet for your name, address and telephone number. Center your book title and byline about halfway down the page. Then include your last name and page number in the top left margin of the first and each subsequent manuscript page.
  • Again, type one poem to a page, single-spaced with double spacing between stanzas. Leave at least a 1-inch margin on all sides of the page.
  • If a poem carries over to a second sheet, list your name in the top left margin. Underneath your name include a key word from the poem's title, the page number and information on whether the lines at the top are a continuation of the same stanza or the start of a new one (e.g., continue stanza or begin new stanza).

*****

Build an Audience for Your Poetry tutorial

While your focus as a poet will always be on refining your craft, why not cultivate a following along the way? With the multitude of social networking opportunities available today, it's never been easier to connect with other poetry enthusiasts. Within minutes, you can set up a blog and share your poems and insights with like-minded readers.

Click to continue.

GettyImages-119430542

Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WinnerGraphic

Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Want to know how to keep your readers engaged and entertained with your mystery novel? Let these six tips from thriller author Kris Calvin guide you!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank story poem.

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Kristin Beck: On Writing Quickly and Publishing Slowly

Debut novelist Kristin Beck shares what it was like to write her historical fiction novel Courage, My Love and why she was so thankful for a slow publishing process.