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?
(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