Are you an aspiring poet hoping to get your poetry book or chapbook published?
Here are three ways to get your poetry book printed:
- Self-publish your poetry book.
- Get a literary agent who can help you get your book published.
- Interest a traditional publisher in publishing your book.
Self-publishing has its benefits. You are in complete control over the look and feel of your book, you can become a published author immediately and maybe even sell some copies.
However, with so many books out there, unless you have a big marketing budget (or extremely good luck) your book may never be discovered.
If you are an unknown, emerging poet, we recommend you to first attempt to interest an agent or publisher in your work before going on the self-publishing route unless you have a decent marketing budget, plenty of time to promote your work or a list of interested readers who will buy your self-published poetry book.
Getting a literary agent who represents poetry is one step in the world of publishing, as agents know all the ins and outs of the business, and can handle contract negotiations, offer guidance, and find the best publishing house or press for your work.
However, often it’s not necessary to get a literary agent for your poetry book since many publishers accept unagented or unsolicited poetry manuscripts.
Below we have a useful list of literary agents and agencies who represent poetry books, and publishers help emerging and established writers to publish their poetry books.
Literary Agents and Agencies Representing Poetry
About: Bill Clegg is an American literary agent and author, with two memoirs and one novel. He first got into publishing in 1993 when taking a Radcliffe Publishing Course, an intensive six-week course covering all aspects of publishing through lectures and workshops, that led to an entry-level position at the Robbins Office. Clegg cofounded the literary agency Clegg and Burnes in 2001 before working for William Morris Endeavor. In 2014, he announced he was leaving WME to launch his own eponymous agency.
How to submit: Send The Clegg Agency an e-mail at email@example.com with a little bit about your project, yourself, and how you heard about The Clegg Agency. The agency does not respond to all queries, and cannot open attachments unless specifically requested.
About the Agency: The Clegg Agency
The agency is interested in representing poetry, along with autobiography/memoir, literary fiction, narrative nonfiction. Address questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Clients include Emma Cline, author of the novel The Girls (2016, Random House), and the poet Mary Jo Bang.
Wendy Goldman Rohm
About: Wendy Goldman Rohm is a New York Times bestselling author who has taught and lectured for MediaBistro, Yale University, onboard the QEII, and at numerous universities and organizations across the globe. She has also spoken at TEDx. From her experience with being an author, an agent, and an editor for more than two decades, she understands the publishing industry from both the creative side and the business side.
How to submit: Exclusive submissions only, and require that you submit a query letter prior to sending your manuscript. Submit your queries directly via their contact page here, or email email@example.com
About the Agency: The Rohm Agency
Founded in 2002, The Rohm Agency represents emerging authors of literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, investigative journalism, poetry, plays and screenplays, and will also work with memoir, commercial fiction, young adult and business authors. The agency also offers ghost-writing services, developmental editing, and collaborative projects between authors and subjects.
About: Prior to starting her own agency in 1998, Debbie trained with an AAR agent and worked in the music business. She holds a BA in English and music from NYU’s College of Arts and Sciences. She represents fiction and nonfiction for adults, teens, and children, including short story and poetry collections with popular appeal.
How to submit: Email a one-to-two-paragraph synopsis and description of your background to Debbie at WaverlyPlaceLiterary@aol.com, with no attachments. In the subject line of your email write “Q:” followed by a description of your book. Unsolicited manuscripts will be discarded. Multiple submissions are ok.
About the Agency: Waverly Place Literary Agency
Waverly Place Literary Agency is an independent literary agency actively seeking writers of all genres. The agency submits to publishers large and small, offers a one-year contract when writer and agent agree that the manuscript is ready for submission, and have no reading or editorial fees. Commission is the standard 15% domestic, 20% foreign and subrights.
About: Black Mountain Press is a literary press that has recently redirected its efforts to focus on poetry, creative novels, and short story collections by emerging writers. Their editors will focus on the highest quality literary fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry that combines a distinct voice and vision through the end of 2021.
They strive to find and publish works that aspire to a higher ideal, many times written by unknown, first time authors, without agents representing them.
How to submit: They accept manuscripts via regular mail only. Send one hard copy of your finished, book-length manuscript, along with a cover letter containing contact information, and relevant biographical information. Manuscripts should be typed on one side of the page only; prose manuscripts double spaced with a 12pt font. For mailing address and additional information, visit their website.[/vc_row
About: Founded in 2004, Black Lawrence Press is an independent publisher of contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. They became an imprint of Dzanc Books in 2008 before becoming an independent company in New York six years later. They are looking for innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in their hearts and minds, and won’t let go.
The books they publish are distributed nationally through Small Press Distribution to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various brick and mortar retailers.
How to submit: They accept submissions exclusively through Submittable, an online submission manager. All manuscripts should include a title page and a table of contents, and should should be formatted in an easy-to-read font. Include a brief biography in your cover note on Submittable. Visit their submissions page for information regarding their submission guidelines and a link to the Submittable.
About: Mid-List Press publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books of high literary merit and fresh artistic vision by new and emerging writers, and writers who have been ignored, marginalized, or excluded from publication by commercial publishers. Mid-List Press seeks to increase access to publication for new writers, nurture the growth of emerging writers, and increase the diversity of books, authors, and readers.
All poetry collections must be at least 60 pages in length, single-spaced, each poem beginning a new page.
How to submit: Query first by mail with a few sample poems. They do not accept emailed or faxed queries, and do not accept entire manuscripts. Include an email address and phone number with your query letter. For their mailing address and more information, visit their page on submission guidelines.
About: Plan B Press is a small independent publishing company that produces high-quality, limited-run poetry chapbooks. Their mission aims to encourage, capture, present and preserve contemporary poetry by publishing and presenting emerging poets.
How to submit: They accept manuscripts from writers who have published fewer than three books and chapbooks. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the address listed on their contact page. Visit their contact page with detailed instructions on how to submit your work and when.
About: In 1968, New Rivers Press was an independent publishing house that provided a voice for new authors. They have continued being a platform for new authors up to today, with a their larger mission statement encompassing their wish to connect the best writers and storytellers from across Minnesota and the world with eager audiences. They also wish to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in entering the publishing world after graduation. They publish the best literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry written by new and emerging authors from around the world.
They find their manuscripts through three global contests and general submission periods. There are numerous categories, one being general submissions for full-length manuscripts in poetry and prose. Between two and five manuscripts are chosen to be published per year from this category.
How to submit: The submission period for general submissions is April 1 to May 31. For more information, visit their submissions page.
About: Founded in 1980, Milkweed Editions is a nonprofit, independent literary press that publishes literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Their mission is to identify, nurture, and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it. They publish about twenty titles each year.
How to submit: They will be open to single-author collections of poetry from September 1 to September 30, 2017. Manuscripts should be at least 60 pages long. Submit a query letter along with the complete collection via their Submittable. Find the link to their Submittable and more submission information on their website.
About: Based in New York City, Futurepoem is a publishing collaborative dedicated to presenting innovative works of contemporary poetry and prose by both emerging and underrepresented writers.
How to submit: Their next open reading period will be held in Fall 2017. Check back on their submissions page at a later date. General inquiries can be emailed to email@example.com.
About: Four Way Books publishes 14 to 16 collections of poetry and short fiction a year by emerging and established writers. They are dedicated to producing and promoting excellent literary publications and to creating opportunities for writers of merit. They seek to please and expand poetry’s audience and to nurture the gifts of adult writers, spanning a wide range of geographic, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Their hope is to support authors not only during the time they are publishing them but also throughout their writing careers.
How to submit: They have four different periods during which they accept submissions, the next period being November 15 to December 15, 2017. For complete guidelines, visit their submission guidelines page.
About: Coach House Books is a collaborative operation involving our regular staff and an ever-changing number of people from the writing, artistic and publishing communities. They publish innovative fiction, poetry, film and drama, and select non-fiction. They only publish Canadian authors, but encourage submissions from members of diverse communities, including Indigenous writers, writers of color, writers with disabilities, writers from the LGBTQ community and writers who identify with other marginalized groups.
How to submit: Send your complete manuscript with an introductory letter that describes your work and compares it to at least two current Coach House titles explaining how your book would fit our list, and a literary CV listing your previous publications and relevant experience to firstname.lastname@example.org. For detailed instructions, visit their submissions page.
About: The Aldrich Press is an imprint company of Kelsay Books. They accept unsolicited manuscripts from accomplished poets year round, and expect their authors to be widely published in magazines and journals. They are drawn to work that relies on strong, fresh imagery and metaphor.
How to submit: Type your name and the title of your manuscript in the subject line of your email to email@example.com. Include a brief cover letter in the body of your email and attach your document. For more information, visit their website.
About: Deadly Chaps Press is a New York-born but internationally-developed community of Artists and Writers dedicated to creating a body of literature consisting of innovative magazines, chapbooks, artist books, and novels through the nurturing of long-term publishing relationships and a supportive forum for daring work.
They also accept poetry in 50 words or less for their literary journal, Short, Fast, and Deadly (SF&D), which is published semi-annually.
How to submit: Visit their submissions page for a special link to submit your work.
About: Bottlecap Press is looking for fresh new material, and is actively seeking manuscript submissions for chapbooks and full length works, as well as poetry and fiction submissions for their blog.
How to submit: Send all submissions, more so your full manuscript, to firstname.lastname@example.org. They seek submissions of all types with a minimum length of 26 pages. Visit their submission guidelines page for more information.
About: Backbone Press is a small press with a big vision, and seeks poetry that’s political, invocative, social, gritty, and personal. They are a venue for ethnic poets, inclusive of African Americans, Latino/a’s, Asian, and other ethnicities, thus publish poetry that informs and engages us in broader cultural conversations.
How to submit: Check back on their submissions page for the period during which they accept chapbook submissions. Manuscripts should be between 24-30 pages, with your contact information, your brief biography, and acknowledgements with “chapbook submission” in the subject line.
About: Five Oaks Press is an independent press that publishes poetry chapbooks and full-length collections. All of their titles are perfect-bound, with ISBN numbers, and are made available for purchase through their website. In addition, they host readings at AWP and nominate for the Pushcart Prize and any other awards they can find for their authors.
How to submit: Submit to them through their Submittable page, and use the contact form on their contact page for general inquiries.
About: Founded in 2013, Serpent Club Press aims to publish aesthetically, formally, and intellectually challenging literature. They are interested in beautiful, technically challenging books of a perhaps high modernist tinge, and want an aesthetic challenge, in other words. And we want to put books into print that would be battered and bruised by the traditional corporate publishing world.
How to submit: Submit your poetry manuscripts using their Submittable. All queries can be directed to email@example.com.
Currently, she's the Marketing Director and Web Editor for her University's student-run literary magazine, 'The Inkwell.' She's also a contributing writer for the magazine and has numerous poems published in their issues.
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