Dream a little.
- Fantasize about how you imagine your poetry collection to be. Do you have a theme or topic you want to focus on, how do you want to touch your audience, and maybe start considering details like how long you want your collection to be. (Time: You could have been toying with the idea of publishing for months or years now)
Create a catalog of your poetry and organize it.
2. I created columns for Title, Message, Length, and Likelihood it would end up in this book I was focused on. This was extremely helpful to me because I realized I had my next two books ideas already forming just based on the theme of poem messages. It’s a smart idea to take stock of your inventory so you can make a strategy for your next steps. You might learn you have more poems on a topic you weren’t planning on including in this book which could lead to you switching directions. I knew I wanted to write some new poems exclusively for this book which allowed me to learn where I was lacking so that I could start filling in the holes with new poems. (Time: A few hours, you should be about to catalog in a day. The question is how you want to catalog and what information you want. I added the column called book collections when I realized I had 3 different collections forming. This could take another day)
Take in stock.
3. Now that you know which poems are going to be included, you can start organizing them. Do some have a theme, will your book have chapters, do you want long poems or strict forms grouped together. (Time: You might do this the same day as your catalog or you might do it in the few days following.)
Group poems to form book structure.
4. You absolutely should take breaks from this so that you can look at the collection with fresh eyes. This is your dream, no need to frustrate yourself and take the fun out of it. Set a generous timeline for yourself. Allow yourself a week for every grouping. One day, think about how each poem flows to the next. Another day, think about how each poem looks on the page and focus on making grammatical sense if that’s what you’re after. (Time: 2 months might be a good marker, but you know how you work and the type of collection you’re trying to achieve)
Sometimes you need a creative break and some time apart from your collection.
5. This is normal and healthy. If you want, now you can research. Research publishing sites and talk to fellow poets about their experiences. Visit a bookstore and browse through the poetry section. What do you like about some of the books and how do you want yours to be different? (Time: You can start this while you’re working on editing your poems/chapters and also take 3 weeks after)
6. As I mentioned, for my collection, I knew I wanted new, exclusive poems. There may be other ways in which you want to make your collection more desirable, such as art work or collaborating with other artists. (Time: 2-5 months)
Now your collection draft is complete! It is time to edit!!
7. There is a suggested three edits: grammatical, format, and cohesion. For me, the hard work was definitely putting the draft together but I absolutely hate editing! Even with editing over 10 versions, I’m still looking for an outside editor to also review my draft. (Time: 2-4 weeks depending on your process)
8. Once you’re happy with your edited draft, it’s time to submit to the self publishing site/company you’re using! I used CreateSpace, it was super easy to navigate, they tell you exactly what you need in order for your draft to be accepted, and offer helpful services along the way. (Time: A few days for filling out the information and your file being reviewed and approved).
9. You’ll be sent a proof once your files are reviewed and approved. This will be your final proofreading and editing before having your book ready for sale.
Finally set a Launch Date and promote the heck out of your book!
10. Use Social Media, in person marketing, and relevant message boards online. It’s also common for Author’s to throw a Launch Party to inform locals about the release.
Get a copy of my book here!