Members of the FWJ community remind me we’ve been spending so much time talking about writing for the web and private clients we’re neglecting other types of freelance writing jobs. We”ll be exploring some of the less talked about markets in the next week or two. Hopefully you caught yesterday’s post featuring 16 Greeting Card Markets plus tips for pitching those markets. Today we’re going to explore poetry markets, and we’re in for a treat. Our friend and poet John Hewitt of PoeWar is a poet well versed in what it takes to sell a poem.
General Submissions Guidelines for Poetry
One of the nice things about poetry publications is that they are relatively easy to submit your work to. Unlike magazine article queries or book publisher queries, with poetry publications you simply submit your poems. You don’t have to spend a great deal of time convincing the publication to look at your poems. You just send them with a brief cover letter explaining who you are, and that you think your poems would be appropriate for their publication. You cover letter serves mainly to provide a list of the poems you have submitted, so that the editor can easily keep track of your submission.
Before I get to the basic rules of submitting poetry, I want to emphasize that you should always try to find a publication’s submission guidelines. I am only providing general guidelines. The deciding factor for any submission is the publication’s submission guidelines. Submission guidelines are important because in many cases they can prevent you from sending types of poems that the publication does not want. Most publications have a specialty or emphasis. A particular publication may only seek poems in a certain form (such as villanelle) or poems about a narrow range of subjects. Even if the publication in general publishes a wide range of poetry, they may be seeking particular types of poems for an upcoming issue. If you submit poems that the publication does not want, no matter how well they are written, you are wasting their time and yours. Another benefit of reading the submissions guidelines is that they will tell you where to send your submissions and who to address those submissions to.
That said, the general guidelines for submitting poetry are as follows:
- Only include one poem per page.
- Poems should be single spaced. Use a triple space between the title and the first line. Use a double space between stanzas.
- Do not split stanzas across pages.
- Include your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page of poetry. If a poem has multiple pages, add the page number and a short version of the title along with your name on pages after the first page.
- The standard format for poems is left justified for the title and the poem. If your poem relies on a different format, such as using indented lines, format your poem to look exactly the way you want it to appear in the publication.
- Do not make duplicate submissions. Never submit the same poem to multiple publications or at the same time. You should submit a poem to a new publication only after it has been rejected by the previous publisher.
- Unless otherwise specified, limit yourself to three to six poems per submission. The longer your poems, the fewer the number of poems you should submit. If your submission runs over ten pages, it is probably too long.
- Include your name and contact information following standard letter format or using letterhead.
- List the titles of each poem you are submitting.
- Include a single paragraph biography that may include any previous publications and educational background.
- Include a positive sentence or two about the publication. Don’t gush, just show that you know who they are and appreciate what they do.
- Do not include
Cover Letter Guidelines
Include your name and contact information following standard letter format or using letterhead.
· List the titles of each poem you are submitting.
· Include a single paragraph biography that may include any previous publications and educational background.
· Include a positive sentence or two about the publication. Don’t gush, just show that you know who they are and appreciate what they do.
· Do not include
o A self assessment of your skills
o Apologies for discussion of your lack of experience
o Sob stories. I can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t do it! Let your work speak for itself.
Mail submission guidelines
- Use white, standard-sized paper for your submissions.
- Use an envelope that is large enough for your poetry to lay flat rather than be folded.
- Use standard postage.
- Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of your poetry. This envelope can be smaller.
- Your email can serve as your cover letter, but should include the same information as a standard cover letter. Don’t use email as an excuse to be casual.
- Use standard file formats such as .txt, .rtf, .doc or .docx for your poems or simply include them in the email.
Email submission guidelines
John Hewitt is the publisher of poewar.com, a web site about writing and poetry. Every September, poewar.com runs 30 poems in 30 days, which includes articles and prompts for poets. His ebook of poetry, Extended Stay, is available for download at poewar.com.
Deb’s note: There are plenty of non paying or $1 per poem literary and web markets. I didn’t include them here.
21 Poetry Markets
- Agni - Pays $20 – $150. Contact for guidelines.
- Alaska Quarterly Review - Pays $10 – $50. Contact for guidelines
- Antigonish Review - Pays $30/page. Please see online guidelines.
- Antioch Review – Pays $15/page. Online guidelines.
- Arc – Canada’s National Poetry Magazine – Pays $15/page.
- Black Warrior Review - Pays up to $75. Contact for full guidelines.
- Boulevard Magazine – Pays $25 – $250. Online guidelines.
- Clean Sheets -Pays .03/word (erotica)
- The Capilano Review – Pays $50 – $200. Online guidelines.
- Dreams and Nightmares – Pays $10. Online guidelines.
- Electric Velicipede: Pays $15 for poems under 100 lines. Online guidelines.
- Grain Literary Magazine - Pays $40 – $70 – See online guidelines for more details.
- Chatahochee Review - Pays $50. Online guidelines/
- Island – Pays $60. Online Guidelines
- Leading Edge – Pays $10. Snail mail submissions only. Online guidelines.
- New Myths – $15. per poem. Online guidelines.
- Orion Society – Pays $100/poem. Contact for guidelines.
- The Pedestal Magazine – Pays $40. Online guidelines.
- Ploughshares – Pays $25 – $250. Online guidelines.
- Poetry - Pays $150/page. Online guidelines.
- Three Penny Review – $100/poem. Snail mail submissions only. Online guidelines.
As always, let us know if you successfully sell your poems to any of the markets found here…and don’t forget to check out our regular Monday Writing Markets.
Image via stock xchnge