Friday, May 25, 2018

Publishing poetry

I know poetry is technically non-fiction**. I have an idea to pitch a book that is humorous poems about parenthood with drawings (like Shel Silverstein for grown ups). Since it's poetry, would I query once the entire MS is completed, or would I send agents a book proposal similar to what would be sent for a NF MS?

From what I've seen, most agents don't rep poetry at all. Is it best to just submit to small presses directly?

I'm glad you asked this question because it gives me a chance to talk about a terrific new kind of poetry that's appealing to a whole new audience.

Instagram poetry.
No, I'm not kidding.

There are a lot of folks posting poems on Instagram and building a fan base for their work.

This isn't the formal poetry published by Graywolf, FSG, Norton, Copper Canyon Press, etc.

The Instagram poet I'm familiar with is Christopher Poindexter.

If you're interested in publishing your work, getting it up on Instagram and building a follower base is the way to do it.  Non-traditional poetry publishers are very interested in Instagram poets, but they don't assess the work so much as evaluate the platform. (Notice the number of followers Christopher Poindexter has.)

If you don't know how to post stuff on Instagram, or use hash tags effectively, that's the first thing to learn.

In other words, you don't query agents with your work, you post it and build a following then agents will come for you.

Good luck!

**PS Poetry isn't fiction or non-fiction. It's its own category.


AJ Blythe said...

I'd never thought about how to classify poetry. I probably would have gone with fiction, but it makes sense it's its own category.

Can't add anything to this, OP, because poetry isn't my thing, but I am definitely going to check out the instagram poets, so if you go that way promo yourself here so I can follow =)

BrendaLynn said...

You just opened up a whole new world for me. There are people who have his words tattooed on their bodies!
Here goes. Another social media account. I spend a good two hours a day maintaining what I already have. I enjoy it but I really have to guard my writing time. Methinks that the trick will be to refrain from random trolling.

Sam Mills said...

That's really interesting. I have definitely bought friends and family members humorous compilation books of their favorite themed social media accounts. (Oh gosh, a sentence I probably couldn't have made a decade ago.) It certainly helps you curate your best work based on broad fan feedback!

The Noise In Space said...

I've been following poet Nayyirah Waheed on insta for quite a while now and she's excellent--I'd highly recommend her if anyone is looking for new accounts to follow. I think everyone in my office follows her. Ditto Zen Pencils, which is a little different but maybe closer to what OP wants to do as it's all illustrated (if you don't follow that account, you need to--wonderfully illustrated and very inspirational!) Honestly, insta and Tumblr are how I follow all my favorite artists too, like Ruby Etc. (In case anyone is wondering, by contrast, it took three of us to figure out how to search for tweets @'ed to a company yesterday, because none of us have logged into twitter in literally multiple years.)

John Davis Frain said...

Shel Silverstein wasn't for grown ups? Guess I shoulda been reading those aloud.

Karen McCoy said...

I love this! Instagram is quickly becoming a great place for authors and readers. See also: #Bookstagram

One Of Us Has To Go said...

I wish I had known this a while ago. I wrote two non-fiction pieces 'for'/about Calgary when I lived there, and they were published in a Calgary Newsletter last November and December.

Now I'd love for them to be on Instagram, but I suppose it's too late. I don't live in Calgary anymore... (And I am not on Instagram but, well, that could possibly be changed.)

Well, I wrote in some good old fashioned way to the Queen and just posted it from my current, temporary place (I won't stay in this town but in this country.).

Watch out for some pics of the Queen Mary 2, Queen 😀.

One Of Us Has To Go said...

I meant two pieces which I called poetry, but I am not/wasn't sure if that's what they are/were.

Colin Smith said...

Part of me thinks "Hmm... I wonder if I'll find readers on Tumblr. Maybe I should start a Tumblr blog and see if anyone's interested in my work...?"

Then I come to my senses. a) Time. b) If I can't get people to read my blog and Twitter posts, then adding Tumblr isn't going to help!

Oh well. I'll just stick to what I do best:



Michael Seese said...

Instagram may be the go-to site for online poetry. I (and a lot of folks) publish poetry to Twitter.

Just sayin'.

CynthiaMc said...

My Instagram account was going to be for my poetry (beachpoet) and it was going to be incognito. I have yet to put one poem on there (I had no idea it was a thing). Or even a picture of the beach as both cars are too ancient to make it there. Will have to work on that.

Teresa Robeson said...

I knew IG as the go-to place for visual arts, but never knew it was also a platform for poetry! Once again, JR teaches me something new. :)

Gabby Gilliam said...

I tried Medium for poetry, but never thought about Instagram! Thanks for the recommendation Noise in Space. I'll definitely look Nayyirah Waheed up. I've already checked into Poindexter. Looks like I have some research to do on effective tagging on IG. Thanks, your sharkiness, for the great advice!