I see a lot of talk on here about self publishing. And all that talk is fine. However, I’m reasonably certain most of you would like to have someone else publish your book. As we all know, there is no money in publishing poetry. So, for most publishers it is more a labor of love, or a labor of credibility. So, they are generally interested in writers who have a demonstrated respect for the process. It is about networking. If you’re in college now, this helps as you are currently developing such a network, which is most of what you get in college anyway. So, here is the big secret:
GO FOR GRANTS. State, county, local, whatever you can get. This accomplishes three things. One, you get judged by people who know their shit. They’ll know if you are deserving, and then so will you. Two, If you get the grant, people will start to know who you are. They will actively pursue you with publishing opportunities. Three, you will get money.
READ IN PUBLIC at least once a year in the metro area nearest you. This is important as meeting and speaking with people spreads word of your work. It just helps to be pseudo famous in a regional (at least) circle of writers and other artists.
USE SOCIAL NETWORKING tools like tumblr as much as you like. It doesn’t hurt. But it helps less than you think when you get very little real critical perspective on your work. That is the most important key to getting published. Getting better. Even if you do everything else correctly… No one is a perfect writer. So we all must get out of our ruts, always change, adapt, and just plain get better.
(Notice I didn’t say send your work to publishers? That would be the very laaaaast thing on the list. It’s not like publishing a novel.)