Poetry comes in many forms, from sonnets to epic poems. Writing poetry that conveys a message to your reader while still sounding and looking beautiful is a challenge for most aspiring poets. When perfecting your poetry, consider these tips.
Read poets you like (or don’t like) and ask yourself why you feel that the way you do. Oftentimes, it’s hard to put your finger on what exactly it is that makes a poem great (or not so great). Spend some time reflecting on your reading experience, to pinpoint specifics. Consider the word choice, the way the poem looks on the page, and the tone of the piece. Eventually, you’ll know what it is you want to strive for and avoid in your own poems.
Ideas for poetry can literally come from anywhere. Pay attention to all aspects of your life to find inspiration. Anything can be developed into a coherent and entertaining poem, from a bit of conversation overheard at a restaurant to your deepest, darkest fears. Keep a dream journal. While you don’t have to write about your dream, taking thoughts and ideas from your creative subconscious is an excellent way to come up with topics you may not have thought of while awake.
Once you know what topic you’d like to write about, list descriptive words about that subject. Poetry is supposed to create a picture in your readers’ minds, so consider adjectives very carefully. Look at your list of descriptive words to discover how best to use alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, etc. in your poem to create the right sound effects. Examine the length of your words to think about how you can create an appealing pattern on the page. By seriously considering all descriptive words available, you will develop a poem that is the best it can be.
Poetry is one of the most distributed forms of literature in the world. Simply targeting poetry readers with generic poetry will not be an efficient use of your time or resources, and will likely leave you disappointed in the outcome of your poetry book. Instead, take the time to really think about what group of people would be interested in your type of poetry. If you write religious poetry, you’ll be more likely to successfully connect with spiritual people. If you write cutting-edge, experimental poetry, a spiritual audience is probably not the way to go. No matter what type of poetry you write, there is an audience for your work. The challenge is finding them and communicating with them effectively.
Once you have located your audience, it’s time to talk to them. Where and how you showcase your work is just as important as the work itself when it comes to generating awareness and sales. Look at your target consumers and ask yourself: (a) Where do they hang out? (b) To which journals do they subscribe? (c) Where do they attend poetry readings? (d) What other types of events do they frequent? Take the time to research all of these questions and get to know your target consumers well enough to market to them effectively.
You are not the only poetry author available for purchase. Interesting poetry is generated all the time, and unfortunately, your target consumer cannot purchase and read it all. Document your competitors’ marketing efforts in a spreadsheet and mimic those that are the most successful. Actively compete with them on every level. Start by engaging your regional competition and then branch out once you’ve solidified a core readership at home. You can’t hope to tackle your competitors without a strategy, but in order to develop any kind of attack plan, you first need to identify who you’re up against.
Now that you know who you’re competing with, you have to clearly identify why a poetry reader should choose your collection over your competitors’. List the unique points of your voice and your poetry. In order to define your exclusive selling position, you need to understand your work’s divergence from your competitors. Obviously, since you’ve set aside the time, money, and energy to publish your book, you must feel that your work deserves to be read. Identify the reasons that you felt your book was good enough to be published, and develop them into a message to your consumers.