Do: Look meticulously at the acknowledgements page of new poetry collections, especially those of any publisher you’re interested in. See where those poets are placing their poems—which magazines. Try to get your work there too.
Do: Be ambitious for your poems. Aim to make them better and better and better. As good as you can get them in a lifetime.
Do: Have fun. Somehow. Do have fun. Make poetry friends. Laugh about it all. If trying to get your poetry published is making you miserable, change the game. But don’t stop writing the poems.
Do: Write short reviews of poetry publications that you’ve read and post them on Amazon or GoodReads. Say what you found interesting or different about them. This is good for your own prose style and it’s good for the poets you’re supporting.
Do: Keep buying newly published poetry books and pamphlets and magazines—buy those you like and/or want to support. It’s crucial to keep the business going. If you don’t, the chances of your work being published diminish accordingly.
Do: Write good prose. Remember Coleridge’s dictum: prose = good words in the best order; poetry = the best words in the best order. If you can’t get the order right for the good words, your poetry may not be that hot.
Do: Read 101 Ways to Make Poems Sell by Chris Hamilton-Emery, but don’t let it drive you nuts. Not all of it is quite true.
Now contemplate the DON’Ts on the next page....