Apr 162011

Publishing Poems

by David B. Axelrod

Want to know how to increase your chances of getting your poems published? Even if art is something you create for yourself, it can be a great thing to share your creations with the world.

There are literally thousands of outlets for you to publish your poetry. Be careful, by the way, not to pay to publish in magazines or anthologies. As often the quality of the work in such paid publications is not very high. (Sometimes it is, but… more often it is just a scheme to take advantage of beginners.)

You can find an audience and outlet for your work if you make a little study of print and on-line magazines. When you want to get published, you need to do some homework to match what you do to the tastes of a particular editor or audience.

It is best, of course, if you can read a copy of the magazine before you send your poems. It is also true that your local library or store will have relatively few of the thousands of journals and alternative press magazines that are actually looking for good poems, stories and even art work and photography.

If you get a copy of the Small Press Review, you can find a list of magazines that offer free samples. You’ll also find announcements of new magazines and markets calling for specific themes. The International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses (published by Dustbooks) lists thousands of outlets!

Of course, we now live is a digital world, so chances of publication on-line are simply wonderful. With the cost of printing rising and the facility of publishing a magazine on-line (now known as publishing an “Ezine”) you have a dazzling array of choices. If you Google “poetry Ezine”  you will get well over two million links. Not satisfied? Then Google “poetry magazine” and the list is thirty-nine million, most of which as I scrolled through the first fifty, will accept your submissions on-line.

Here’s a trade secret we have tried and succeeded with: when you read the poems in a magazine, pay particular attention to the title and the opening line of each poem. If the editor likes the opening, that will definitely help you get published. But if you really want to get published, be sure that the last line of your poem ends the way poems end in the magazine you are reading. We have had four times greater success placing poems using these “tricks” to match our poems to the magazines to which we’ve sent our poems!

Take pride in your work. Prepare it carefully—free of typos, well-edited and tested (at workshops) to be sure you have chosen the right words. Then send it out to others. Poems can take on a life of their own. Then, imagine your satisfaction knowing someone half way around the world could be reading your thoughts and poems!