Unlocking The Process: 11+ Frequently Asked Questions About Publishing Poetry

There are so many questions about publishing poetry. How do I find a publisher? What’s the best way to get my work recognized? Who should I contact for a reading or other events? 

This article answers some of the most frequently asked questions about publishing poetry and provides resources, examples, and guidance about taking your journey to the next level.

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Is it hard to get poetry published?

Getting your poetry book published is not as difficult as it used to be just a decade ago. Back then, even if you were a well-known poet or had won awards for your writing, the market was simply too small in addition to fierce competition for publication with the big publishing houses.

Most prominent publishers still do not accept unsolicited submissions of poems, so it may take some time before you find the right one to publish. But nowadays, poets and writers have many self-publishing opportunities such as Amazon KDP, CreateSpace and Lulu, which can make a first publication nightmare seem like a walk in the park.

It is also much easier to publish individual poems with literary magazines and many poetry websites with a simple submissions page.

Where can I find a publisher for my poetry?

Many literary agents focus solely on representing poets. You can either look up these agencies online through a simple google search like “literary agents near me” or do it by word of mouth recommendations from other published authors, mentors, and friends who may have had success with an agent before.

Literary magazines and other poetry websites also allow you to submit your work directly. Both options can get your poem published, and you should be open to both.

How much does it cost to publish a poem?

It will cost you $0-$5 to publish your poem with literary magazines and poetry websites. Most are free, but the most prestigious charge a small submission fee to help them sift through the fluff.

Publishing a poem with an e-book or print book can cost $0-$100, depending on your writing level and DIY capabilities. If you are handy with Adobe InDesign or Canva, you can do all the formatting and don’t have to spend on a graphic designer.

How do you go about getting poetry published?

The easiest way to publish your first poem is to submit it to poetry websites and literary magazines that publish poetry. Here’s a comprehensive list of 57 of the best websites. You may also enter credible online poetry competitions to get your name out there.

Another great way is to start a blog or website with your poetry. Once you have some good work, share them with other authors online and ask for feedback from their writing community if they’re not too busy.

Next, contact literary agents who represent poets by doing the research I mentioned earlier.

Once you have a good foundation, it’s an excellent time to choose a publisher or find an editor and shop your book around. If this idea is too premature, you can compile a chapbook or anthology for self-publication. This will prepare you for a solid manuscript for a larger publishing house in future.

Should I self publish poetry?

Absolutely! Self-publishing your poetry is the cheapest and most convenient way to get your feet work and get your name out nomatter your writing level, budget or resources.

Writing poetry can also take up a lot of time (usually more than fiction). If you write only occasionally, it’s better to stick with publishing one book at a time.

Once you have written your poems, it’s time to get them published in a book or e-book format that anyone can download and read on their mobile devices.

The best way to publish your first poetry book is through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), allowing authors to publish directly onto the Kindle store for free. KDP is the largest player in the industry with the most extensive user base.

KDP is also the most flexible platform, allowing authors to publish and sell their work in the form of a paperback, hardcover or even audiobook. I should also mention some great alternatives to KDP, including iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords.

Who pays the most for poetry?

Many well-respected magazines publish poems for money. These include Boulevard Magazine ($250), The Poetry Foundation ($300), Chicken Soup for the Soul ($200), amongst others. Again, check out these 57 websites that pay for poetry.

How do I publish my poems for free?

A great place to start publishing your poetry for free is through a blog or online magazine that accepts submissions from new artists, such as Hello PoetryAll Poetry and Poetry Hunter.

The 10 best places to publish Poetry for free

How many poems do you need for a book?

An average book of poetry typically contains around 30 to 70 poems. While smaller chapbook style formats have between 10 and 30 poems. Larger print collections tend to have between 70 and 100 poems.

The length of your poetry book depends on the subject matter, focus, genre, and the story and package you are composing. There is no right or wrong answer to how many poems are needed for a book. A poetry collection can be written with less than ten poems, but this would depend on why you are writing it in the first place.

How do you illustrate a poetry book?

If you’re considering self-publishing, chances are you are looking to save costs and do most of the heavy lifting yourself. The easiest application we recommend is Canva! Things such as editing, formatting, marketing, and even Illustrating the cover of your poetry book.

Canva is a great online app that allows you to create stunning illustrations for free- including book covers. There is a paid version, but the free one has everything we need!


We hope this article has helped answer your questions about publishing poetry. If you have any other inquiries, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and we’ll be happy to help!

If you’re an aspiring poet, don’t forget to check out more of our articles to help you along your creative journey. We have some excellent resources about writing, editing and how to get your work in front of the right people and build an audience for your art form.

Whether you want to publish independently or with a traditional publisher, we are always here to help. All the best!