When How (not) to get your Poetry Published by Helena Nelson popped through the letter box I didn’t realise that it was also a book from which magazine editors could find much to learn and enjoy.
One of the important things stressed is that getting published, though important for the poet’s poetry, is always secondary to the writing of poetry. And to emphasize this, there are suggested writing exercises and brief case notes between each chapter. ‘Getting work published is not the same as writing good poems. Writing poetry and continuing to learn about that craft is the work of a lifetime.’ Yet the book also suggests that as well as writing poetry, if you want to see it published, you also need to have a business approach to the whole business.
There are many sound points suggested in how to approach editors and why poets should ‘do your homework’. For starters, it is only good manners to find out the name of the editor, check their publication, find out the type of poems they publish and much more. There are enlightening sections on why send to magazines, why using the internet and the web are necessary, (and why Acumen has just invested in a new website).
I really enjoyed the list which says that while a submitter is worrying about one submission, the editor is worrying about at least fourteen other things. The chapter on how to make an approach to an editor is excellent and applies to editors of magazines in miniature, though the ‘facts’ to put in a letter are not all relevant to magazines. There is also sound advice on getting your name known to poetry-reading people: readings (also for poets who can’t/won’t); attending launches; using social media etc. I agree with her reasons and practice of sending poems to magazines.
And somewhere in these 120pp is her admission that she hates poems with ‘© The Author’ attached. So do I, it is unnecessary.
How (not) to get your Poetry Published by Helena Nelson; HappenStance Publishing. £10.00 120pp. firstname.lastname@example.org