I will be honest, a lot of publishers are reluctant to publish poetry for it is not guaranteed to sell and make the New York Times Bestseller list. Because of this, many poets turn to self publishing. This is one of the reasons I self published my two books. Self-publishing is not for everyone so be sure to do your research and pick the best publishing route for you. One of the big reasons why I went the self-publishing route was because of my educational background. As well as being artistic, through my college education, I learned about marketing, design, editing and proofreading and other skills that have enhanced my artistic and writing abilities. I had an idea on the layout and design of my book, I just needed someone to print it and send it out.
I did not know how to bind, nor have the right printers or equipment to print a book so I went through a publisher and paid for the service. I didn’t know how much work it took putting a book together doing it myself. The first publisher I went through, I formatted and edited the copy myself, text for the biography and book description, filed the paperwork for the copyright, designed and created the book’s cover using my photographs. I now realize why many go through publishers and pay for the many services, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Going to school and studying Graphic Design, this is what we practiced in our classes. I enjoyed ever part of this process. One thing I would like to suggest, if you are going to edit the book yourself, I recommend getting this book: Merriam-Webster’s Guide to Punctuation and Style, 2nd edition.
Hoping to go a little easier on myself, for my second book I went with another self publisher in which I didn’t have to pay them, they paid me. The publisher paid to print the book and sent out a press release to local newspapers of my choosing. I still had to come up with the book description and biography, but they edited it and my manuscript free of charge which was nice. Their editing actually enhanced my poems and book description bringing out more of what my words were trying to convey. They offered to design the cover design, but also asked for my ideas as well. I sent them a book cover template of a painting I did. They added their ideas, a couple of e-mails back and forth and a couple of changes and a beautiful book cover was created! This overall was a very easy process with the publisher telling me what phases the book would go through step by step. My only anxiety was the anticipation and waiting for the final product and holding it in my hands. It was worth the wait!
Positive and negatives of self-publishing There are plus sides and negative sides to self publishing. Some of the positives are you can have creative control, your work is printed the way you want it to be, the publisher markets and advertisers for you and it may cost very little or none at all to get published. Some negatives are you may have to market the book yourself; the print quality may not be as good (to overcome this, design a very visually attractive front cover). Book stores like Barnes and Noble may not stock your books on their shelves if you self-publish. There are some in the publishing industry who frown upon self-publishing and may say you are not a “real author” for self-publishing. Many may agree or disagree with me, but my personal opinion is this. If the book is available for the interested buyer/reader to read and/or purchase, then you are an author. Let’s be honest here, anyone can publish a book, but the challenge authors face is getting people to read it. It is all up to you on what your publishing ambitions and goals are!