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Poetry Publishing: Set Realistic Marketing Goals

You’ve published your first collection of poetry, and you’re an emerging writer officially on the literary scene — it’s no wonder you’re excited. But you can’t let your excitement run away with your sense of marketing. Publicizing (and selling) your collection requires a realistic examination of your content, your experience and your sphere of influence. However, a marketing plan that sets unrealistic goals only leads to disappointment and disillusionment.


Readers may have waited hours to buy the latest Harry Potter volume, but how many avid poetry fans do you see camped outside your local bookstore, eagerly waiting the moment when the doors unlock and they can finally buy the latest collection by Li-Young Lee?

Not many.

That’s because poetry is not about the Benjamins. It’s a way of expressing your deepest thoughts and innermost feelings, and besides, you didn’t publish your poetry book to become a millionaire. It would be wonderful to bank on your work immediately and get an impromptu phone call from Oprah inviting you onto her show, but the realistic picture is much different, and the more you try to jump ahead of your marketing plan, the more you’ll miss the mark of your goals.

Some unrealistic poetry publishing goals include:

  • A high profile agent coincidently stumbles upon your book and, out of the kindness of his heart, arranges national talk show interviews for you the next morning.
  • An acclaimed editor buys your $8.99 book on a whim, loves it and writes an article in the news as copies of your book fly off the shelves without you ever having to lift a finger.
  • Simultaneously, bookstores across the nation decide they’ll take a chance on one totally unfamiliar poet and choose to stock your book on their shelves and invite you to read at their benefits for the next five years.

Of course, you’re voice is unique, and your message, critical, and such occurrences have been known to happen once in a blue moon, but you shouldn’t count on unrealistic goals for your literary satisfaction. Being picked by The Oprah Book Club without employing a single marketing strategy is about as likely as winning the lottery, and you don’t see intelligent people planning their retirement around winning the Powerball. Appearing on Oprah isn’t impossible though, nor is winning the lottery, but if you put in the hours, practice effective marketing and keep publishing, you never know – renowned critics could be knocking at your door in the future.

But what are some of these realistic poetry marketing goals, and how can you begin to practice smart marketing?

Consider our advice as poetry book publishers. The following are methods of smart marketing for your poetry:

  • Submit individual poems to literary journals and contests.
  • Join online writing communities and network with other emerging writers.
  • Post your poems, constructive feedback and opinions onto ongoing blogs.
  • Arrange book signings and readings in your local area.
  • Attend open mic nights and sell copies of your book afterward.
  • Leave flyers and posters at venues where you know your readers frequent.
  • Create and maintain a Web site with your biographical and book information.
  • Book radio, television and magazine interviews.
  • Send your book to professionals for review.
  • Include information about your forthcoming books in copies you sell.

The more you focus your efforts on achievable objectives, the likelier you are to notice tangible results, in both monetary and emotional rewards. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so make your first step onto the poetry scene a good one and make real, observable progress today with AuthorHouse.  We understand your goals and we understand poetry; that’s why we offer five specifically designed poetry packages and a plethora of services to help you on your journey of self expression.