Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Getting Published - Part 2

Part 2 of the talk given by Terry Quinn

Pointers about Submitting

Where and how

You can be published in a range of places including: Poetry Magazines/Parish magazines/neighbourhood magazines/emagazines/vanity press ( not just books but anthologies)/competitions/local publishers like Universities e.g. Ceth Anthology/Litfest, Word Soup do an Anthology. (Editor: Poetry magazines website maybe of some use)


Read the style of the magazine/comps/know the name of the editor. I once called the editor of a magazine Pat instead of Patricia and got a stinging letter back.

Length of the poem:

Depends on the magazine but if an editor has 500 poems and has room to print 50 then short is better. There are Magazines dedicated to long poems.


A vast majority of submitted poems are about love/death – so they have to be exceptional to catch the eye of an editor.


The Internet has greatly expanded the market for getting your work published. Web sites like the Poetry Kit will list magazines in countries such as America and Australia.

Do not....

Do not Write an intro telling the Editor that they have the first chance to take these poems

Do not give life story

Do not say your friends and family think the poems are wonderful

Do not write back to editors pointing out their mistakes


Do keep records or a database to keep track of where you have sent poems. You may think you will never forget that acceptance from your favourite magazine. You will. If you’re juggling with anything over 50 poems ( my guess ) then you will mix up dates and where you have sent them. I’ve come across a database called Duotrope , it’s available from the internet. I use Access to keep mine up to date. (Editor: of course there is also Open Office available which is free)


Presentation of your poems is of major importance, and it is advised that you spend some time doing this. The following points, although not true for every magazine, are intended as general guidelines you should check before submitting your work:

• Make sure that your poems are typewritten on a separate sheet and that they look clean and presentable

• Do not send more than six poems unless the publication asks you to do this

• Include a short and polite covering letter to the editor

• Always be sure to send a stamped addressed envelope with your poems, for the editor/s to make their reply

• Always keep your own copies of poems in case the ones you send go missing

• It is usual to have to wait for a period of time to get a response.
Depending on the magazine, the Editor/s may be inundated with submissions and need time to get through this

• It is unlikely that you will be paid in money for having your poems published, but it is usual to at least receive a free copy of the magazine. It is not usual to have to pay yourself to have your work published

• Do not use Jazzy fonts

• Do not indiscriminately centre-justifie poems

• Do not send simultaneous entries

• Check restrictions on line length

• Check whether your name needs to be on each sheet

• Email – check whether the poem needs to be in the body of the email or as an attachment

Part 3 next week about specific poetry magazines

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Getting Published - Part 1

At the start of the year Terry Quinn gave a talk about Getting Published at one of the Poetry Society meetings. He has kindly sent me a copy so I can put it on the blog along with links etc, and so it will appear here over the next few weeks.


In the Preston Arts Festival 2010 Alan Dent gave a publisher’s view of receiving submissions for publication. These notes are written from the viewpoint of the poet thinking of submitting work.

1). Read contemporary poetry – it’s no good submitting rhyming poetry about flowers in the park to an experimental poetry magazine.

2). Buy poetry magazines or get your library to subscribe or get an idea of the content from the internet.

3). Read magazines like Writing Magazine

4). The National Poetry Library ( Morpeth and National on the South Bank, Scottish in Edinburgh and Welsh in Aberystwyth ) are interesting to visit and are in wonderful places. (Note by Editor :Also poetryireland maybe of interest for ROI and NI)

The Bad News

Acceptance to rejection of 1 in 10 is a good ratio

The Good News is that there are hundreds of ways to get published – it just depends what you want.

So what do you want from being Published?
Tim Love writes ( check his website it’s very good ):

Money - Unless you regularly write articles, you won't get much, but it's nice to get paid for something you enjoy doing (especially if you get paid £20 for a haiku). I still treasure the £1 cheque I once got from the BBC.

• Fame - It's easy to be a big fish in the little pool of poetry or short stories

• Participation - Ever read something and thought "I could have done that"? Going from being a reader to a writer is a big leap, one you've already made. The next step is to become part of the writing community. It's a big step, like progressing from taking music lessons to becoming a public "performer". By going to workshops and sharing your work you're already well on the way to being a public performer. Now it's time to take the next step and get published.

• Improving your writing - Even if you're just writing for your own enjoyment, getting published can help. Writing without publishing is a bit like talking to yourself.

o Angela Carter thought the writing process incomplete until the piece was published.

o Poet Don Paterson wrote that "the poem begins with inspiration and ends in publication, not just completion"

o Jane Holland (poet and editor) wrote in April 2008 that "people learn most about writing poetry from actually seeing their work in print. ... Contrary to popular belief, new writers don't learn as much from sitting in workshops ... To see a new poem in print is the best way to learn, because you are far more likely to spot your mistakes once a poem is set against others in a public context, and suddenly realise how to fix them"

Because if you don't, others worse than you will!

(You can continune reading Tim's article here)

To Tim nowadays publication is an integral part of the writing process. The only unpublishable pieces are those that aren't good enough - though some are harder to publish than others

Define for whom you are writing.

Is it your religion?
For people at work?
The World?

(editor: An important thought. As stated at the start of this article "it’s no good /em> submitting rhyming poetry about flowers in the park to an experimental poetry magazine").

So here feels a good place to end Part 1. A breather so you can think about why you would want to be published and who for. Part 2 (next week) continues with pointers about submitting

Monday, 21 March 2011

Happy World Poetry Day!

A good time to read and write :)
Anyone can write (or read :)) a poem... in fact it seems your browser can too! There is a (BBC) Dylan Thomas random poem generator . Ok maybe it isn't really the browser...

Anyway if you want to read a poem from in English and German that I have put on my other blog especially for World Poetry Day then you can follow this link.