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How to Submit Poetry

Donetta is a freelance writer. She's had her poems published in Ink & Voices, The Mystic Blue Review, The Reverie, and Spillwords.

Learn how to submit poetry without the stress!

Learn how to submit poetry without the stress!

The Guidelines

If you're a writer trying to get your poems published, the submission process can seem a bit intimidating. There are a few things you need to do that will help with submissions and increase your chances of being published.

The first thing you'll want to do is make a list of journals you want to see your poetry published in. Then read previous poetry they have published so you can get an idea of what they are looking for. You'll want to make sure your poetry is right for a particular magazine.

Most journals have submission guidelines for you to read. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading the guidelines and doing what they ask. Every journal or magazine is different, so it's beneficial to read the guidelines if you are planning to submit to a journal.

Formatting Manuscripts

If the guidelines don't give you a certain font to use, it is best to use an easy-to-read, standard font such as Times New Roman or Courier. Unless the guidelines say different, using a font size of 12 is good practice. Do not double space poetry.

Some contests will ask that your name not appear on your work so they can do a blind reading. However, if you're simply sending in a poetry manuscript, you should put your name and contact information on the left-hand corner of the page.

Since most magazines ask that you send in 3 to 5 poems of your best work attached in the same document, when starting a new page, you should put your name along with information again in the top left corner. Space a few times and add your title for your poem. I've read on some sites that you should center the title and then type the poem beginning on the left-hand side of the page.

  • William Shunn : Manuscript Format : Poem Format
    Manuscript format for fiction writers, the way the professionals do it. It's the online formatting guide more editors point to than any other. Created by Hugo and Nebula Award nominated author William Shunn.
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Cover Letters and Bios

The cover letter used to intimidate me. After reading extensively about the proper cover letter for authors, it's not so scary. You will want to begin your cover letter with Dear (Poetry Editor's Name), which can usually be found on the journal's masthead. Then you will want to thank them for the consideration of your work. You can put the titles of your poems here. You may briefly list a few of your publications but you can save that for your bio. A great place to read about cover letters is at The Balance Careers.

Author Bios are usually 50 words or less and are written in third person. Here is a great place to add any publications you've previously had, any degrees you've earned, or awards received for writing. You may want to include where you live, your hobbies, or something personal that should not be in the cover letter.

Submitting Your Work

Once you've covered the guidelines, gotten your manuscript formatted, written your cover letter, and author bio, it is time to submit. A lot of magazines use online submission tools such as Submittable. This is good for you to be able to keep up with any simultaneous submissions and to withdraw your work if it has been accepted.

Now you endure the waiting process and hopefully, you receive an acceptance letter! If you receive a rejection letter, try not to take it personally. Your work probably wasn't what they were looking for at the moment. A lot of places will welcome you to submit to them again. I hope this article helped simplify some of the submission process for you. I have provided links below for more extensive reading.

© 2019 Donetta Sifford


Donetta Sifford (author) from Parrott, Virginia on February 04, 2019:

Thank you!

RTalloni on February 01, 2019:

Thanks for sharing what you've learned. It's very kind to encourage others by posting helpful info on the process of submitting poetry.

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