Thursday, May 2, 2013

Publishing Your Book of Poetry

Is poetry a dead language?

You might at first think so based on the lack of interest from the general public. Still, if you're a poet and you know it, it makes sense to write what you love and to find the readers that will appreciate what you have to offer.

So how do you do that?

I haven't written a book of poetry myself but I have spoken with plenty of authors who have. Those who have been the most successful have certain qualities in common. Allow me to list them in no particular order.

Photo by: Julie Jordan Scott, courtesy of Flickr
1. They know who they are and write what comes from their heart. They are less concerned about what is 'marketable' and more concerned about sharing who they are.

2. They publish their own books. Very, very few traditional publishers publish poetry. Why? Because they don't believe that poetry sells. I beg to differ. Publish your own work, and read down this list.

3. Their poetry books look professional. What that means to me is that if you decide to use a venue like CreateSpace, that you make sure that the interior of your book (the layout) is done right. Take a look at professional poetry books out there. How is the spacing in between stanzas? How is the pagination done? How is the book separated? (Are there various headings, and is there an index?)

4. Their cover is eyecatching. They'd done their research. CreateSpace has some professionally done book covers that you can choose from. Just add the text. (They don't worry about a hardbound book of poetry in the beginning, either).

5. They don't expect to sell many copies of their poetry books in bookstores, but check out gift shops, hair salons, craft stores--locally owned businesses. Set up some book signings, but don't expect them to garner in the most sales. Holiday boutiques will bring in much more! Don't be afraid to speak at conferences. Talk your book up, and do some poetry readings!!

6. If this is their first or second book of poetry, they keep it short. Most folks like a short book of poetry, especially if they're just getting to know a new poet. Besides, a shorter book means a less expensive price. Get in on the FREE Amazon release program and look for ways to promote your book of poetry that will cost you little or nothing. They are out there.

Publishing your book of poetry doesn't have to be a struggle, neither does it have to be a worry. Just get out there and have some fun!
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