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An Insider's Guide to Publishing with a Professional Press

Publishing with a professional press can be a great way to get your poetry out into the world and reach a wider audience. Here is an insider's guide to help you navigate the process of publishing with a professional press:

  1. Research the press: Research different presses and look for those that publish poetry and align with your style and themes. Read the books they have published to get a sense of their aesthetic and see if your work would be a good fit.

  2. Read the submission guidelines carefully: Each press has different guidelines for submitting poetry, so make sure you read and follow them carefully. This will help ensure that your submission is considered and not rejected due to formatting or other errors.

  3. Tailor your submission: Tailor your submission to the specific press you are submitting to. Make sure the poems you choose to submit are relevant to the press and showcase your best work.

  4. Personalize your cover letter: Use your cover letter to introduce yourself and your poetry. Make sure to include a brief bio, the titles of the poems you are submitting, and any relevant information about your work.

  5. Proofread and edit your poetry: Make sure your poetry is polished and ready for publication. Proofreading and editing your work will help ensure that it is free of errors and presents your best possible work.

  6. Be persistent: The publishing process can take time, and rejection is a common part of the process. Don't let rejection discourage you, keep submitting your work and eventually, you may find the right press for your poetry.

  7. Network: Attend poetry readings, workshops and festivals, join poetry groups and get to know other poets and publishers. Networking can lead to valuable connections and opportunities.

  8. Be Professional: Always be professional in your correspondence and follow the guidelines of the press you are submitting to.

  9. Know the process: The publishing process with a professional press usually takes longer than with a literary magazine or journal, and it's a more competitive process. Be prepared to wait longer for a response, and don't be discouraged if you don't get a contract right away.

  10. Understand the terms: If you do get a contract, make sure you understand the terms of the agreement. Professional presses usually have a larger advance and better distribution, but also require the author to contribute to the promotion and marketing of the book.

Keep in mind that publishing with a professional press can be a great way to get your poetry out into the world and reach a wider audience, but it's also a competitive process. With the right approach and a bit of perseverance, you can increase your chances of success.

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