Prepare to Submit! - Writer's Digest

Prepare to Submit!

Some advice from Poet''s Market on preparing a poetry manuscript for submission
Publish date:

If you''re submitting poems to a magazine by regular mail, follow this format: Poems should be typed or computer-printed on white 8 1/2 x 11 paper of at least 20 lb. weight. Left, right, and bottom margins should be at least one inch. Starting 1/2 inch from the top of the page, type your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if you have one), and number of lines in the poem in the upper right corner, individual lines, single spaced. Space down about six lines and type the poem title, either centered or flush left. The title may appear in all caps or in upper and lower case. Space down another two lines (at least) and begin to type your poem. Poems are usually single spaced, although some magazines may request double-spaced submissions. (Be alert to each market''s preferences.) Double space between stanzas. Type one poem to a page. For poems longer than one page, type your name in the upper left corner; on the next line type a key word from the title of your poem, the page number, and indicate whether the stanza begins or is continued on the new page (i.e., HAYWIRE, Page 2, continue stanza OR begin new stanza).

If you''re submitting poems by e-mail:

First, make sure the publication accepts e-mail submissions. In most cases include poems within the body of your e-mail, NOT as attachments. This is the preference of many editors accepting e-mail submissions because of the danger of viruses, the possibility of software incompatibility, and other concerns. Editors who consider e-mail attachments taboo may even delete the message without ever opening the attachment.

Other editors do accept, and even prefer e-mail submissions as attachments. This information should be clearly stated in the market listing or writer''s guidelines. If it''s not, you''re probably safer submitting your poems in the body of the e-mail.

Identify your submission with a notation in the subject line. Some editors simply want the words "Poetry Submission" while others want poem titles. Check the market listing or writer''s guidelines for preferences. If you''re uncertain about any aspect of e-mail submission formats, double-check the website (if available) for information or contact the publication for directions.

If you''re submitting a book or chapbook manuscript:

Before you send a manuscript to a book/chapbook publisher, request guidelines (or consult the publisher''s website, if one is available). Requirements vary regarding formatting, query letters and samples, length, and other considerations. Usually you will be using 8 1/2 x 11, 20 lb. paper; left, right, and bottom margins of at least one inch; your name and title of your collection in the top left corner of every page; one poem to a page (although poems certainly may run longer than one page); and pages numbered consecutively. Individual publisher requirements may include a title page, table of contents, credits page (indicating where previously published poems originally appeared), and biographical note.

If you''re submitting your poetry book or chapbook manuscript to a competition, you must read and follow the guidelines. Failure to do so could disqualify your manuscript. Often guidelines for a competition call for a special title page, a minimum and maximum number of pages, the absence of the poet''s name anywhere in the manuscript, and even a special entry form to accompany the submission.

Each edition of Poet''s Market includes advice, interviews, and helpful information about writing and marketing poetry--not to mention over 1,800 publishing opportunities. Order the 2005 edition of Poet''s Market now!

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