The 2015 Poet’s Market guide published by Writer’s Digest Books is THE book for poets who want their poems to be traditionally published. Like previous editions I’ve purchased over the years, the review copy that WD kindly sent me contains a wide range of articles in these key categories:
• Business of Poetry (getting organized, avoiding common mistakes, etc.)
• Promotion of Poetry (articles on platforms, blogs, readings, and more)
• Poet Interviews (with well-published poets offering insights into writing)
• Craft of Poetry (form, rhyme, meter, writing prompts, revision, and more)
• Poems (about poetry or being a poet)
• Markets (lists of magazines/journals, book/chapbook publishers, contests, awards, and grants)
• Resources (conferences, workshops, poetry festivals, poetry organizations, A to Z glossary of poetry terminology, and more)
• Indexes (subjects covered in poetry publications and a general A to Z index of publishers)
In the opening article “From The Editor,” Robert Lee Brewer assures us that this edition has even more listings of poetry publishers and contests than last year’s market guide. So, naturally, I had to flip ahead to the second half of this book where I immediately noticed new-to-me names of publishers of poetry books and chapbooks as well as journals I haven’t yet read. Such “finds” are worth the whole book!
Before drooling too long over those publishing contacts, however, reading the article “How To Use Poet’s Market” will prepare you and your poems for the submission process with these preliminary steps:
1. Be an avid reader.
2. Know what you like to write – and what you write best.
3. Learn the “business” of poetry publishing.
4. Research the markets.
5. Start slowly (as in, don’t rush into print!)
6. Be professional.
7. Keep track of your submissions.
8. Don’t fear rejection. Learn from it.
To give a glimpse of what they’ve learned, well-published poets and poetry instructors wrote informative articles for the book on everything from punctuating and formatting a poem to writing in form, working with editors, promoting a new book, and giving a poetry reading.
Not only does the book intersperse articles with interesting interviews, the guide includes a section of poems about reading poetry, writing poems, and “How To Break Up With A Poem” that just isn’t coming together!
Although I’ve been writing poems forever and getting published for quite a while, the front half of the book gave me refreshing perspectives on being a poet and a great refresher on poetry techniques.
Whenever I buy the book, however, I do so to expand my potential markets and see publishers’ updates and current needs. Occasionally “Tips” such as “We like how-to articles” are added, but mainly, the format includes each publisher’s name with the mail and e-mail addresses, the name of the editor to contact, a statement about the company’s practices, and immediate “Needs,” including preferences, length requirements, and topics to avoid.
Read and heed those needs!
If a periodical asks you not to stuff a #10 envelope with 10 or more poems, then stuffeth thou not!
If they say, “We like carefully crafted poems,” that means showing craft not a first draft!
But, even if you think you don’t know what a publisher’s preferences mean, you will if you simply look up unfamiliar terms in the A to Z glossary provided, then give yourself and your poems whatever time you need.
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler has placed hundreds of poems and 27 traditionally published books in all genres. Her e-book, the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry, is a revision of the poetry home study course she wrote and used for years with other poets and poetry students, and she continues to offer one-on-one feedback for a minimal fee through her website.
2015 Poet’s Market guide, paperback