• Read, study, and support poetry journals, anthologies, and literary e-zines whose work you like.
• Notice who publishes the poems you enjoy reading as they’ll be more likely to enjoy your poetry too.
• If these potential publishers have a website, read and study the poems archived online.
• Review your poetry to find poems with a style, length, theme, subject, or “feel” similar to the published poems you like.
• Read your work aloud. Notice any glitches. Revise accordingly, and read aloud each revision.
• Select 3 to 5 poems per batch per publisher.
• Carefully follow the guidelines on the publisher’s website.
• If poems are accepted only by mail, type each poem on its own page with your name and contact information across the top like a letterhead. Use plain white paper and a plain font in 11 or 12-point with no flourishes. Except for “business words,” such as “a, the, and,” capitalize the first letter of each word in the title. Use boldface type only for the title. Space down two spaces. Type your name as you want it to appear on the poem. Space down two more space, and type the poem, single-spaced.
• If you use an online submission manager, type the poems as described above, save as one file, and send as an attachment. Do this for email attachments too.
• If the editor wants the poetry submission sent as an email text, type each poem flush left.
• Submit one batch of 3-5 poems to one editor at a time. When sending by mail, enclose an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with enough postage for the return of your work.
• Keep track of where and when you sent each poem. Each publication will have a different response time, but in general, an e-zine will get back to you quicker than a print journal. If you haven’t heard in several months, follow up with a brief note, asking for an update on each title.
• While you wait to hear about one batch of poems, send off another batch to another editor.
• If an editor returns your work, read each poem aloud. Listen carefully for rough spots. Revise as needed, then submit the batch of poems to the next journal or e-zine on your list.
• If your poems keep coming back, a professional poetry critique can help you to improve those poems with just-for-you tips that will also help as you write and revise future poems.
• To discover more options for your poetry in general and learn about the forms and techniques that will elevate your work to a higher literary level, order the Kindle e-book, the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry.
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, poetry instructor, writing consultant, and poet-author of Living in the Nature Poem published by Hiraeth Press. Look for her poetry book, Outside Eden, to be published in the Spring of 2014 by Kelsay Books.