Self-Publishing Poetry

The best route to getting your poems in print may be self-publishing your poetry. It can be an inexpensive and low risk way to help your poetry reach its audience.

Poetry may be published in a paperback or hardcover book. Many poets choose to publish chapbooks, which are stapled booklets containing poems. Chapbooks are usually 8-1/2″ by 5-1/2″, that is, the size of a standard sheet of paper folded in half. A chapbook may have from 8 to 48 pages. Depending on the quantity needed, you may print chapbooks on your computer printer, or have them produced at your local copy shop or print shop. The copy shop can handle the binding for you if you choose to print them yourself. Depending on the number of pages and the quantity printed, the cost will probably be about $1 per booklet.

Another option is to have some of your poems produced in color on fine paper, suitable for framing. Poems published in this way make beautiful gifts. You may do this on your computer and color printer, or go to your local copy shop.

If you choose to self-publish a book, you are responsible for all aspects of production. That means not only writing and editing, but cover design, layout, distribution, etc. To have your book carried on or in bookstores, it will have to have an ISBN printed on the cover. Depending on how much you do yourself, how many copies you print and other variables, expect to spend from several hundred to a few thousand dollars and up to self-publish a poetry book.

Instead of taking on the challenge of self-publishing, many authors and poets choose to have books published by one of the “self-publishing companies.” It is important to note that when you use these companies, you are not really self-publishing. The company you pay to publish your book will be the publisher. However, this can be a fast and easy route to publishing. (See this article on self-publishing companies.) The cost may be as low as $300, including design and layout.

Once your book or chapbook is published, it is up to you to sell the books or booklets. Refer to this article on Marketing Your Poetry Book for more information.

Copyright Cathy Stucker. Cathy Stucker is the author of many books, including The Mystery Shopper’s Manual.