When it comes to poetry, presentation is vitally important. As well as making the book look professional and preventing any distracting inconsistencies, careful and thought-out presentation also helps to compliment the work itself. Furthermore, with poetry books, as with all published works that you plan to sell, some work and thought needs to go into making them as marketable as possible and ensuring they reach their audience.
So here are our top 5 tips for self publishing poetry:
1. Think about the layout.
Spacing around the poems is important to ensure that the reader’s eye is drawn to the right part of the page and that they are given the cues they need with regard to the way the poem is intended to be read. Though competitions and publishers will be very specific about the kind of layout they expect for poetry submissions (see this blog for extensive exploration of that topic), poetry on the page of books can vary dramatically so take some time to experiment.
2. Stand on the shoulders of giants!
Look at poetry books that you like and emulate what you think works, whether that be in the format, organisation of poems, use of illustrations or section headers.
3. Spend time thinking about the cover.
The same rules apply for covers of poetry books as for any other books. You need something striking, but that your potential audience will recognise as being in the genre that interests them, so pop into your local bookshop and look at covers of successful poetry books in that genre. This page gives you lots of advice on how to figure out the kind of cover that might work, and then create it.
4. Get feedback where you can.
Daunting I know, but you can either ask other site users on CompletelyNovel to comment or order some of your own copies to dish out to friends at a dinner party. Don’t forget to ask them about the presentation as well as the content. Your poetry might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t buy it as a present for someone else, so their first impressions are worth taking into account! This website gives some food for thought on editing poetry
5. Plan some promotion.
As well as blogging, tweeting and other such promotional endeavours, is there an event you can launch the book at? Could you join forces with someone else to make it a memento of a special occasion? A giveaway in a restaurant on Valentine’s day or something that could be contemplated in a local visitor attraction? Building up networks and a local reputation is a great way to get yourself better known and get more feedback too.
Use the comments section to let us know what your top tips are for poets, or if you have any thoughts or questions to share with other poets too.