In the era of contemporary publishing, aspiring authors don’t necessarily need to write a novel long manuscript for a shot at success. Other forms of writing such as poetry, short fiction anthologies, and literary chapbooks are gaining momentum in the publishing world, and there are now many resources for writers to turn their dreams into tangible work. Though working with a traditional, large publishing house and the literary agent is the most familiar way for writers to break out into the industry, more writers are beginning to work with poetry publishers who accept unagented manuscripts. In fact, poetry as a genre “is more popular now than ever” according to a 2017 National Endowment of the Arts survey (Trombetta). The results from the 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts showed that the number of poetry readers in the United States has jumped to 28 million, doubling since 2012. Poetry’s growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, either.
With the increasing influence of poetry, an increasing amount of opportunities for poets to be published accompanies. There are dozens of poetry publishing houses, like Four Way Books, Copper Canyon Press, and Trio House Press. Each of these publishing houses also offers aspiring authors unique opportunities to get their share work aside from publishing; poetry contests and competitions are prominent examples (Vyas). Additionally, many of these companies are a suitable start for aspiring authors with limited prior publishing experience, as they emphasize accepting and working with writers who have not been published yet. Many of these publishing companies have a niche for short stories and anthologies as well.
Some publishing companies, like Muñoz Publishing House (MPH) take both long and short stories. Even a poet can find success with a publisher like MPH, as they are open to submissions from all genres. According to Nathaniel Muñoz, founder of MPH, “publications outside of the stereotypical novel allow for a stronger connection between authors and their audience,” (Muñoz). MPH doesn’t necessarily have a niche to one particular genre, but rather, a niche to indie and rising authors. This encourages aspiring authors to submit anything from the traditional novel-length story to an experimental poetry chapbook. By publishing writers of varied genres and levels of experience, and accepting all kinds of literary work, publishing companies like MPH can showcase unique and refreshing voices.
Writers can also be published as part of a literary magazine. Literary magazines are typically a compilation of various writers’ works of poetry, microfiction, essays, and art (Kavanagh). They are an assuring place for aspiring authors to start building a name for themselves and getting their work recognized. Though well-acclaimed magazines such as The New Yorker and The Paris Review have an extremely low submission acceptance rate, there are plenty of smaller and independent literary magazines that encourage submissions from new and experienced writers. Writers do not often gain any monetary benefits by being published in a literary magazine, but any publication is a positive gain for a writer’s curriculum vitae.
Chapbooks are also a feasible way for aspiring authors, specifically poets, to get published. A chapbook is “a small collection of poetry, generally no more than 40 pages, that often centers on a specific theme...typically saddle-stitched and is a format well suited to smaller print runs” (Klems). Poetry publishing houses accept chapbooks just as much as they do full-length poetry books. Additionally, aspiring authors can create and publish chapbooks entirely on their own. Chapbooks are relatively inexpensive to produce and self publish and can be profitable. Writers may actually earn more in the long run through self-publishing than going through a traditional publishing house and being required to pay the sometimes costly agency and royalty fees.
For aspiring authors who don’t necessarily prefer print to digital publishing, social media can be a practical medium to self publish their work. Platforms like Instagram give writers the opportunity to share their work, as well as network with other writers. Writers are also able to build a solid base of followers and gain readership they can then rely on if they choose to publish tangible work in the future through a more traditional publishing house.
Overall, there is an abundance of routes aspiring authors can follow to become published. Writers do not need to conform to a novel-length, chapter book, and they do not need to limit themselves to going through a traditional publishing house. The world of publishing is a thrilling one for both new and experienced writers, as it continues to constantly reshape and evolve.
Kavanagh, Dave. "Why Are Literary Magazines and Journals Important?" The Blue
Nib, 6 Feb. 2020, thebluenib.com/
Klems, Brian A. "What Is a Poetry Chapbook?" Writer's Digest, 3 Jan. 2012,
Muñoz, Nathaniel. Interview. 19 Aug. 2020.
Trombetta, Sadie. "There's a New Report out about How Many People Read Poetry
— and It's Actually Encouraging." Bustle, 8 June 2018, www.bustle.com/p/
Vyas, Hiten. "17 Top Publishing Houses for Poetry." Writing Tips Oasis, 25 June