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  1. Raminder Kaur

    Raminder Kaur Banned

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    How to get published

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Raminder Kaur, Apr 29, 2020.

    Fellow writers, I hope you are all well and keeping safe.

    I am new to this forum and pretty new to the professional writing game also.

    I have been working on a collections of poems/quotes for a few years and have decided that I would like to get it published.

    A little bit of background: I am 26 going on 27, have been writing for a while, 5/6 years, and I have created a social media (instagram accounts ) to try and get noticed, but most importantly, to see if my content was worth publishing. The feed back was positive, and it has encouraged me to continue writing quotes and poetry and has also lead me into my new venture; writing a book on mindfulness and positive thinking.

    I would love some pointers in the right directions, some names or agents that I could be referred to (I have no idea how this works, hence why I am here).

    Please tell me if I am barking up the wrong tree, and need to look else where. I would appreciate some pointers and essentially just someone to talk to - I know I that I will have a load of follow up questions!

    Look forward to hearing from someone.

    x
     
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    Well, you could submit your work to literary agents but I believe there's no market for poetry.

    You might be better going down the self-publishing route.
     
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  3. Raminder Kaur

    Raminder Kaur Banned

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    Thank you, I shall research into this.
     
  4. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome @Raminder Kaur .

    Unlike naomasa, I do believe that there is a market for poetry. Otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten your John Keats’, William Blakes, William Carlos Williams’, Ted Hughes’, Simon Armitages’ , Pam Ayres’, Emily Dickinsons’, Sylvia Plaths, Maya Angelous.

    To name but a few. The list goes on!
     
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  5. Raminder Kaur

    Raminder Kaur Banned

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    Thank you dbesim. That is correct
     
  6. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    It's a very small niche market though. Most people aren't Keates, Blake or Dickinson.

    https://jerichowriters.com/poetry-market/
     
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Back in their day poetry was being taught in schools and everyone learned to read and appreciate it. That got cut from the curriculum, and without training people don't understand poetry or how to read or write it. Only those who are naturally drawn to it will bother to learn about it, so the audience is minuscule compared to what it was a century ago.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Poetry is alive and well. Those who don't read of follow contemporary poetry tend to think it doesn't exist or has fallen out of fashion. The New Yorker publishes new Poetry every week. Poetry Magazine and The Rattle are all poetry and there are many others. In fact, just about every literary journal includes poetry. And new books of poetry come out all the time. So, it's there whether you are reading it or not.

    That being said, it doesn't sound like the OP is anywhere near contacting agents. What you might want to do is submit a few poems to literary magazines and journals. I strongly suggest reading what they are publishing before submitting. It is EXTREMELY hard to publish is the good places and even the medium places. Anything less than that is a probably waste of your time probably, though, not always. Every MFA program has a literary journal with a poetry editor. Those places might not pay you more than a few copies, though some do pay and pay well, but when you are trying to decide the weight a publications you want to make sure they are credible and more than someone who started a blog and called it a poetry magazine. Think of it this way. You want to publish is places agents and publishers have heard of and/or read. Instagram is not the same and really is unlikely to get you noticed. All you're doing on Instagram is throwing away those first rights. And first rights are what publishers of poetry want to buy. Think about it. If a magazine is going to pay you $200 for a poem. They are paying to be the first to release that poem into the world.

    It's great that posting on Instagram gave you more confidence, but I would just be careful about what you put up moving forward.

    Having a few publications to list in your query letter can help quite a bit. Remember, not all publications are created equal and you'll have to do some homework on this. Right now, it seems you don't have much of a resume. That doesn't always matter, but a lot of the time it does.

    Of course, you can self publish, you can self publish anything. If you just want to say you have something published, that's fine, but it's likely to be equal to your Instagram postings in terms of success. That's not to say anything about you or your poetry. But when was the last time you or anyone here bought a self published book of poetry by an unknown writer?

    Another option for publishing poetry is to submit a chapbook. A chapbook is like a mini collection. It's less expensive for a publisher to produce and it's a way to test the waters. I know a few poets who have published chapbooks, but I can't say I know the details about how it all works. I know you can expect little money and small print runs, but that's not always the most important thing. If your chapbook does well, it could even attract agents or publishers to you just like publishing a poem in the right places can.

    You are really going to have to look into different chapbook publishers (and read a few of their chapbooks). A lot of them don't take unsolicited submissions, but others will have yearly contests where the winner makes some cash and, bam, a little chapbook with your name on the cover. And I think there are probably quite a few that do take regular submissions during parts of the year. I really don't know too much about chapbooks. I have looked into them a little. I really suggest you looking into this. But, again with this, don't plan on what you've already posted anywhere online. Those first rights are gone and chapbooks especially want first rights.

    When you eventually publish a collection, it's more than okay to include perviously published work. You just usually include some sort of note where the poem was first published. But, for now, start saving and keep revising. I think it's always important to keep in mind that what we can and will write is always going to be better than what we have written. You are the poet and never a single poem or even a collection. If you are called to create poetry, do it feverishly and learn all you can. This would include reading and being familiar with today's poetry and the scene.

    I don't consider myself much of a poet. I've formally studies poetry to some extent and I am very aware of all the "ingredients" that go into many different forms and styles. I'm a reader of poetry, that's for sure. I think every writer should be exposing themselves to poetry, maybe every person. And often. It's good for the soul, my friends.

    It's also important to keep in mind that to produce poetry that is at a professional level takes as much revision as another kind of writing. So, you don't want to rush it. A poem you thought was perfect a month ago, you might now see ways to tighten and improve or shorten or expand on. Revision is your friend. Don't forget that.

    As far as "quotes" go... Maybe it can be fun to come up with little sayings, but why not use those insightful moments to create more poetry. When I hear "quotes" I'm thinking they are pulled from something larger or are passed down knowledge from great and famous writers. Having "quotes" thrown in there will likely be a distraction from the poetry. And if I was the agent or publisher you were querying and you said included was a bunch of self-quoted "quotes," I would be likely to pass, possibly without much time if any actually considering your work.

    This might sound harsh, but it's a harsh business. You could spend years getting nothing but rejection. The industry is like that. Perseverance is everything. I say these things because hopefully it will help you find your path and figure out what your goals really are. I, honestly, with you well and hope some of this was helpful.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
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  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Um... Wow, I didn't mean to write such a long post. It's just that publishing... grrrrr... It's a whirlwind. :)
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    From 2017 re: Rupi Kaur—

    Her first collection, “Milk and Honey,” has sold two and a half million copies internationally since it was published in 2014. “The Sun and Her Flowers” debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times paperback fiction best-seller list in October, and has remained near the top ever since.

    From the prevalence of her books, I have to assume sales have only gone up since then. One’s opinions of her poetry aside, there is clearly a market for it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
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  11. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    Since when was poetry ever cut from the curriculum? As far as I’m aware it’s still very much on it. Both contemporary poets and poets that belong to other time periods, as well as foreign poems from other countries and cultures are still studied in schools today. Famous verses such as Shakespeares will never be omitted. And children and adults will continue learning about the genre in fun and interesting ways. Never a category to be overlooked.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  12. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    There was absolutely no poetry in any classes I took. Maybe as an elective in high school but that's far too late, you need to get kids interested and imprint in in their brains while they're still malleable. Was it really taught in grade school in your area? That's reassuring. Maybe I just live in a bleak area for it. At no point did I hear anything at all about rhythm, meter, or feet until I decided to study it on my own.

    Well, to a limited extent I take that back. Yes, we did read a few poems. Very few, but we never learned about meter and all the rest of it. It was more just like "here, read this'" But without being taught how to read and understand poetry people generally don't like it nearly as much. And the result is far too much 'fee verse' that isn't even true free verse.
     
  13. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    I think my class (1997) was one of the last in my school system to have poetry as part of the curriculum. Mom was an English teacher at the same school, and I remember her ranting and raving about not being able to teach it anymore soon after I graduated.
     
  14. ruskaya

    ruskaya Member

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    I have seen once a book filled with inspirational quotes, one per page. The book was thick, I can't remember how many quotes there were in total though. Is that what you want to publish? If yes, I imagine it might be hard to publish without an existing audience or something that explains why people would buy the book from you. I hope I don't sound discouraging, I am trying to tell you that you might want to make some research into what books like that are out there and find out what are the conditions for a publisher to publish such a book before pitching your book, because the market for this kind of books seems very limited.
     
  15. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    I didn't have a poetry class in high school but we certainly covered poetry in English classes. I graduated in 2008 but I also attended a college prep school so perhaps that had something to do with it?
     
  16. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    My impression is that there's a market for every book, the first challenge is connecting with them, and the second challenge is that it may not be profitable.

    There are probably literary agents who specialize in poetry books, know where to sell them, how. Maybe give some suggestions for foreign translations (a major drawback to poetry is that they don't do well outside their native language, for obvious reasons).

    And self publish is also an option, which entails doing all the marketing research &c, but people have successfully sold space pirate dolphin-centaur porn, poetry can't be much smaller a market.
     
  17. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Poetry translation is a big thing. And poetry has been translated into different languages forever. It is still being done and an active part of today's literary scene. Translation itself can be an art form, of course credit is given to the original poet but also to the translator for their rendition. Look at someone like Ezra Pound who is known for being a great translator of poetry in addition to his own stuff. I've worked for both a book publisher and a literary journal that had/have a strong interest in working with talented poetry translators. If someone has a knack for poetry translation, it might be easier to break in to the industry that way. But no one wants suggestions for work that can be translated. The finished product matters here as much as it does with any other sort of writing.

    It's important to keep in mind that literary translation (especially for poetry) involves a lot more than anything google translate can do or even someone who speaks more than one language. It is an art, not a task or job. And it is an important art. Again, this is a longstanding practice that is an important part of poetry and that's not something that will change.

    Second, if a book fails to be profitable, that would indicate that there really isn't a market for it. A self published poetry book by an unknown writer is not likely to do well, regardless of how good the poetry might be. It's just not very likely to get noticed at all and that's part of the problem. Of course, a poet can land an agent, but it doesn't sound like the (now banned) OP had the experience and writing credits that would attract an agent.
     
  18. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    I appreciate that - I'm just repeating what publishers tell me. It's a complication they have to deal with that adds costs, so they need to believe they'll sell more copies to justify the investment. For your average first time poetry author, it just means publishers are less excited about the prospects of poetry submissions than other categories.

    Some children's books experience the same problem. Translating prose is one thing, but translating the fun rhymes is more difficult, which means more expensive fixed costs.

    We're not talking about Ezra Pound here. It's Raminder... who apparently is banned, so that's that.
     
  19. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @KevinMcCormack -- But if we are going to talk about poetry translation, we should be talking about Ezra Pound. Like I said poetry translation is an art. Sure, a publisher or anyone can hire a translator, but that's not usually how it works with poetry. It is the translator who would pitch the work once they are done with it. I don't think of poetry translation as work-for-hire. It's a craft just like any other form of writing. And, of course, it's not easy. That's why there are great poetry translators recognized for their work like Ezra Pound.

    I don't know what publishers you've been talking to, but it doesn't sound like they specialize in poetry or translation. And it's a little strange that a publisher is going to talk to you about poetry translation when it doesn't seem like that's something you or they are involved in. Poetry translation is not a fixed cost. It's an art. And, I'm sorry, but you brought up poetry translation, and it really sounds like you don't know what you're talking about.

    When I talk money to publishers it's about how much they are paying me, not a breakdown of their costs for doing business. Even when I worked for a publisher, I was never in any sort of meeting or anything where people started doing a cost analysis. Sure, I wasn't too high up on the food chain there, but I was in meetings and part of the overall process. And no one ever said anything like, "Is this a good investment?" Sure, publishers want to make money, but everything is not about the almighty dollar. Publishers and editors want moving works that feel important and are important. Money is not always at the forefront of their minds. I'm saying this as someone who has been lucky to work with some great editors and publishers. I've been on the inside. Art is art. And I don't think anyone goes into publishing to get rich. Maybe agents, but they love literature or they would find other career paths.

    You can look at magazines like The Sun Magazine, around over 40 years and never ran ads. Sure, they would make more money if they did, probably. I mean The New Yorker does and I would put those magazines in the same class. But there is something really great about their decision not to do run ads. And they've continuously put out great writing and poetry for all that time while becoming a staple of literary excellence. That's kind of besides the point if we're focusing on translation. But it is relevant to show that the focus isn't always on how much money a place can bring in, though, I don't think The Sun is hurting financially. I think there are plenty of publishers where the focus is releasing great works into the world, and that, perhaps, comes before the quickest or easiest way to make a profit.

    Of course, the OP is gone, but I think it's important to have this information out there since what I know is quite different than what you're saying or your understanding of the process.
     

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