I am a Veteran and a current Chemical Engineer but I write also poetry. I contacted many publishers to help me publish a poem but I could not hear back from any of them. I have conducted many interviews with people this year to write original poems. My poems are a combination of fiction and non-fiction since it combines my personal experience as well as History, Engineering, Science and current topics . I would like to know the best way for me to go about publishing a book since I am having a really hard time finding any publishing house at all.
I would appreciate your help. Thank you for your time.
I have also been thinking of writing a book but not poetry. I have a long career and personal history as a musician/teacher and world traveler. I'm making note of some of the suggestions I see here and will consider self-publishing as you were advised to do. Good luck with your pursuit of a valued art form
A few years ago I wrote a book and asked a friend, a successful author, about finding a publisher. His advice: "You're an unknown author. You can spend a year working hard to find a publisher and your chances of finding one are very low. So don't waste your time--self-publish instead."
I took his advice and self-published through Amazon (kdp.amazon.com). It takes some work but isn't bad. My first book did well and I published another the same way. I suggest you look into it.
Here's an important note: whether via a publisher or on your own, you are primarily responsible for the book's marketing. Close to 100,000 books are published every year--how will readers find yours? It's up to you. I spend at least a few minutes on marketing my books every day.
Best of luck!
Before I get into advice and potential resources, I just want to say I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of your poetry because it sounds fascinating. It kind of reminds me of work in the vein of Oliver Sacks, and I recommend looking at his writing path to see if you can glean any lessons that can help your situation (he was a neurologist who ended up writing about his experiences with patients).
I have limited experience with publishing, but I have some knowledge of how to publish your writing based on my experiences (when I wanted to be a YA writer) and from a friend's experiences (he's interested in publishing picture books).
As others have noted, you may want to start small and publish poems in various outlets. Here's a sentiment that I think may help you in your journey to be a published poet: If you’re not getting rejected regularly, then you’re not pitching enough. You won't get a yes from every publisher, but if you don't put your work out there, you're guaranteeing that it won't get accepted. A challenge I've seen one poet (although other writers use it as well) take on is to gather rejections. She set the goal of gathering 100 rejections in a year. The idea is that you're putting your work out there enough to improve the likelihood of an acceptance.
In terms of publishing a collection of poetry, I have three suggestions:
1. Try to publish a chapbook. This website, https://www.pw.org/content/publishing_book , gives a good overview of chapbooks and how to use them as a way to get a collection of poems published.
2. Try to connect with a poetry writing group. Sometimes other people can suggest potential publishers to send your work to and they can be a source of comfort as you get less than ideal news from publishers.
3. This comment may not be helpful based on your specific interests in poetry, but I would look into slam poetry venues or ways to perform your poetry. Some people just like to write poetry rather than perform it. However, if you're open to performing your work, you are giving yourself another venue to showcase your work and you might be able to gain valuable feedback from the audience. In the time of COVID-19, it may difficult to find an in-person event, but I assume there are virtual poetry events.
Good luck with your writing endeavors! It's a difficult process, but it's worth it. If you have any questions or need additional resources, I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
Poetry is one of the most difficult art forms, so kudos to you!
Your poems have value because they exist. Publication is not proof of value.
And self-publication is easier now than ever.
Nonetheless, if outside publication is your goal, then start smaller & try to get one poem published. Check out Poet's Market (a year ago I would have said just use the reference copy at the public library, but in 2020 it looks like spending $20 for the Kindle version is the least-costly option). This volume will explain what various publications are looking for. Also, be sure you are submitting to poetry competitions. Write on!
Why do you need a publisher? Can you publish it yourself? Build your name and reputation and then the publishers will come more easily with the second book. Anyway, I have no experience w/ this...just my opinion. Good luck!
Hi Roshan. First of all, thank you for your service. I am a songwriter not a poet, so my experience with publishing is pretty different from yours. I think there are certain trends that are the same however. A lot of the business is now DIY in the beginning and there are tools online to guide you with how to approach getting published. With that said, I would advise you to reach out to your state Arts Councils and any other non-profit organizations that support literary or non fiction works to give you more solid support. There are resources that they have that might help you find a suitable publisher for your work and perhaps there might be grants or other funding opportunities to help you with your career transition. Very best of luck to you. Keep writing and don't get discouraged!! Stay safe and be well.
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