Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Poetry Submissions: Knocking on the Right Door

I feel like shaking off all of the distractions that have been clinging to me--movies, video games, foo at work, all of it. Having a 4 day weekend was particularly nice, because I got a couple of days to run errands and a couple of days to relax, but now I have to get down to the serious part of being productive. Work yesterday (that is, the work that pays my bills) was particularly harried, but now that my big projects are waiting input from other people, I can think of other things.

I got a rejection note from a batch of poems over the weekend, so I have 4 batches to send out today. I know many people like electronic submission methods, but I have to say that I think it was easier when everyone took paper. It seems like each magazine that wants you to submit electronically has its own requirements and quirks, whether that is file type, file name, mode (email or uploading), or whatever. That doesn't keep me from submitting electronically (unless the mag also charges a fee to submit, in which case I'll always go paper), but it was a lot easier just sticking 5 poems and a cover letter in an envelope.

I've been thinking a lot about how best to pick out magazines to send poems to. I've been up and down a lot of the lists online, including the one at Poets & Writers, poring over Poet's Market. Of course, there's always talking to editors at AWP and picking up issues, freebies or otherwise. But I hate the "buy a lottery ticket" method of submissions, where you just send out as to as many different magazines as possible, hoping to get lucky. Lately I've been thinking I need to look at the acknowledgments page of books of poems that I've really enjoyed and send to those magazines. While I don't have the name recognition of those poets, at least I have a better chance of them having similar tastes.

I don't think I am as successful as I could be in my submission strategies, but I hope I'm not trying the same bad strategy over and over again, expecting different results. Short of being famous, what other strategies should I be trying?

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