Now the sun is out (I should be in the garden!) I’ve got the motivation to do something about the poems that have been hanging around and find homes for them. That’s not easy – it takes a lot of time to ensure the poems go to the right magazines, researching and reading them beforehand is a must. Subscriptions to lots of magazines can be costly, but back issues can give you a good idea of the type of writing that magazine favours. If you can get to The Poetry Library you can easily spend half a day browsing a whole range of magazines.
Following submission guidelines is a must and you can check this on the magazine’s website. For general guidelines the Poetry Library suggests:
Presentation of your poems is of major importance, and it is advised that you spend some time doing this. The following points, although not true for every magazine, are intended as general guidelines you should check before submitting your work:
- Make sure that your poems are typewritten on a separate sheet and that they look clean and presentable
- Do not send more than six poems unless the publication asks you to do this
- Include a short and polite covering letter to the editor/s
- Always be sure to send a stamped addressed envelope with your poems, for the editor/s to make their reply
- Always keep your own copies of poems in case the ones you send go missing
- It is usual to have to wait for a period of time to get a response. Depending on the magazine, the Editor/s may be inundated with submissions and need time to get through this
- It is unlikely that you will be paid in money for having your poems published, but it is usual to at least receive a free copy of the magazine. It is not usual to have to pay yourself to have your work published
As an editor I always feel disappointed (and a bit cross) by poets who email their work saying “See below” or “Poems attached”. I think it’s rude not to include a formal letter (using the editor’s name is a bonus and might get you brownie points). Once you’ve sent out your work there’s usually that long wait for replies, the dread of the envelope that feels stuffed with the poems you posted, or the email subject line “Your submission” which makes you hold your breath before clicking on it. You might be interested to read what Robin Houghton says about this.
Have a look here at the list of magazines and follow the links to their site. A couple of my favourites are The Frogmore Papers and New Walk magazine.