Remember the main point of a poetry strategy is that it's a process to help you develop your skills as a poet -

being published is only a very good by-product.

 

Warning: Don't get obsessed with wanting to be published.

You know you've lost the plot when getting published becomes more important than writing good poetry.

 

In order to have a book published you need to have fifty to eighty publishable poems to send off to a poetry book publisher –

usually a small poetry press in the first instance.

 

This means of your fifty to eighty poems - you need twenty or so to have been accepted for publication by various reputable poetry magazines,

and/or to have a smaller number placed, or to have received an honorary mention, in reputable poetry competitions

 

This takes time and requires a structured approach and this is where the poetry strategy comes in.

 

Set yourself four deadline dates over the next twelve months. The first in three months time, the scond in six months time,

the third in nine months time, the fourth in 12 months time.

 

Write down the deadline dates in your diary and be determined to stick to them.

 

During the three months up to the next deadline you will: 

  Work on the poems you want to send to poetry magazine publishers 

   Identify suitable poetry magazines to submit to - if you only write non-squirrel related poems about motorbikes then there's no

  use in sending them off to a magazine that only publishes poems about squirrels. 

   Identify at least one poetry competition to enter.

 

        See The Poetry Library Website: www.poetrylibrary.org.uk there you can find contact details for every poetry magazine/competition,

        small press and major poetry book publisher in the UK, you will see that many of these have websites where you can get a feel for what

        they are all about, including their submissions policy.

        The Poetry Library should be one of your favourite websites.

         

        Remember to adhere to the particular submission policy.

         

        Don't send the same poem to more than one magazine or competition at a time.

         

        Keep a portfolio of what you send, to whom you send it, when you send it, what response you recieved.

         

        Don't be afraid to send poems to magazines who have previously rejected you - some editors will take your repeated submissions as

        commitment to their magazine and may look upon you favourably. Dotake on board any criticism you receive from them, though.

        If, however, they beg you not to submit to them again - or threaten legal action if you do - then do please cease submitting to them

        - remember, there's no accounting for taste.

         

        When you have completed fifty to eighty poems that you believe to be of publishable quality, and you have had twenty or so

        of these poems published  in reputable poetry magazines or placed in competitions, then you are ready to approach a poetry

        book publisher, you may be successful with a major publisher but for a first collection you might be better off trying a small press publisher.

         

        Look again at the Poetry Library and look in the list of small presses for one or more you could imagine publishing your collection.

         

        If you are based in the South West of England or your poems are in some way related to the region then you might consider contacting a

        publisher based in this region. South West Publishers.

         

        A publishing strategy should help you to: 

          Work regularly, seriously and to deadline 

          Develop a clearer understanding of the poetry landscape - in terms of what a significant number of poetry magazines, books

           and competitions are all about 

          Gradually build up your publishing portfolio and body of work

          Be able to approach a poetry book published

         

          and most importantly, hopefully, become a better poet.