Saturday, February 23, 2019

How does the Steiny Road Poet pick publications for her individual poems?

The question comes up at a time when Steiny has completed a book-length manuscript of poetry and wants to enhance the marketability of that manuscript. Therefore, she is working fast and hard to get some of the unpublished work accepted in a variety of print and online magazines.

While Steiny has been sending out poems for years and has a long list of publications that she has a) aspired to be published in or b) has already been published in, this doesn’t mean she knows what these publishers want and are requiring today.

STEP 1: Start with top tier publishers, especially the ones that pay money (as opposed to a print copy of the book) for your work.  Scope out ten of these.

STEP 2: Read the websites of these publishers to determine:
·      When they are receiving submissions—park or eliminate those that are not currently open for submissions.
·      What their requirements are and whether you meet these requirements.
·      What is published. Read one or two current issues of this publication to see what the editors favor. If the publication is print edition and you have a nearby university with a Master of Fine Arts program, these magazines might have a library collection of such publications that you can examine onsite. Buying every magazine you want to send to is not something most writers can afford, but certainly buy subscriptions to the magazines you admire the most and can afford.
·      Who this publisher is publishing and how you fit in with that community of writers.
·      When the publisher will make a decision.

STEP 3: Send out your best work and be sure it is carefully edited.
·      Follow the publisher’s guidelines carefully.
·      Use standard fonts that are easy to read, such as Times New Roman in usually 12-point size.
·      Do not send images.
·      If the publisher prefers submissions to come through its online submission system (Submittable or an in-house submission manager), use that. If you don’t know how to use online applications, get someone to teach you how. Most publishers do not want paper, even if they are making concessions.
·      Keep careful records on where you send each poem and be able to access that information by publisher and by poem.

STEP 4: Send to publishers that allow multiple submissions.
·      Send out to three different publishers at a time.
·      Consider where you are sending your poems and whether publication by any of the three publishers would satisfy you.

STEP 5: Determine when to vet the next tier of publishers.
·      Decide your timeline for when to start sending to those publishers who do not pay and who may be newer to the field of publishing. Response times from publishers can vary wildly from a few days to years. Getting a certain percentage of individual poems published can be required from book publishers, should you decide to create a book-length manuscript. So waiting without setting a deadline on when a single poem might get published is not a good idea.
·      Stay the course with the top tier publishers if you get one or two acceptances in rapid succession. Let’s say, in a time frame under three months.
·      Positive feedback may also influence how long you send exclusively to the top tier.
·      Perhaps you have poems that you believe are good but do not fit in with your top tier publishers. If so, determine what you standards are for this tier of publications (e.g. how long has it been publishing? Does it follow its own criteria? How large is its audience? Does it give you a copy of the issue you are published in, if it is print or pdf formats?)
·      Repeat steps 1 through 4 for these publishers.