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A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing a Poetry Book in 2023


Writing poems is way more difficult than writing a book. Because poems are typically shorter than books, every word and phrase counts, and poets often spend a great deal of time crafting and revising their work to make sure every line is just right.

Yet, people often tend to think that poetry books are easier to write and all it takes is a little bit of time and hard work, but let me tell you, poetry relies heavily on metaphors, symbols, and other tools of figurative language, which can be difficult to use effectively. It requires a deep understanding of language and the ability to use it in unexpected and evocative ways.

Wanna let the poet in you shine through?

Wanna write a poetry book, but ain’t got a clue?

Then do yourself a favor my dear,

And let Gnome Book Writing help you!

Sheesh! That took a lot. Hence, as a beginner, it is better to consult book writing companies to get in touch with professional poets and book writers. Gnome Book Writing is a team of expert book writers that have created award-winning books out of the messy ideas of beginners. So, why not give it a try?

Let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions revolving around writing and publishing poetry books.

How Many Poems to Write for a Poetry Book?

Generally, a full-length poetry book can contain anywhere from 40 to 100 or more poems, although there is no hard and fast rule. Some poets may choose to include only a select few of their strongest poems, while others may include a larger number of shorter or thematically linked poems. Ultimately, the number of poems in a poetry book is up to the author and publisher and should be based on what best serves the collection as a whole.

What is a Poetry Chapbook?

A poetry chapbook is a small collection of poems, usually no more than 48 pages in length. Chapbooks are a way for emerging poets to showcase their work and gain recognition. Chapbooks can also be a stepping stone for poets who are working towards a larger publication, as they provide an opportunity to experiment with form and style, develop a readership, and establish a reputation within the poetry community.

Chapbooks can be produced in a variety of formats, including handmade or letterpress-printed booklets, saddle-stitched or perfect-bound booklets, or even digital editions. They are often distributed by the poet themselves, either through their website or at readings and other events.

Poetry Chapbook vs Full-Length Poetry Collection

Difference Aspect Poetry Chapbook Poetry Collection
Length (no. of pages) Less than 50 pages More than 50 pages
Purpose Stepping stone for beginner poets Showcases a poet’s more substantial work
Theme & Style More focused revolves around a single theme Contains a wider range of themes, styles, and subjects
Target Audience A smaller, more subject-centered audience A wider, general audience
Publishing Source self-published or published by small presses published by larger publishing houses

Should My Poetry Book Follow a Theme?

Whether or not to follow a theme while writing a poetry book is ultimately up to the individual poet. Some poets may choose to explore a single theme throughout their entire book, while others may include multiple themes that are related to each other in some way.

A theme can be anything from a specific subject matter, such as nature, love, or social justice, to a particular form or style of poetry, such as sonnets, haikus, or free verse. By having a theme, poets can create a structure and a focus for their work, which can help to guide their writing and editing process. It can also help to create a stronger connection between the individual poems and give the collection a sense of coherence.

Order of the Poems in a Poetry Book

Do you need to put your poems in a certain order for your poetry book?

Yes, the poems in a poetry book are usually ordered in a deliberate way. The order in which the poems appear can have a significant impact on the reader’s experience of the book, as it can create an emotional arc that ties the collection together.

There are several ways that poets and publishers might choose to organize the poems in a book. Some common methods include:

Chronological Order

Poems are arranged in the order in which they were written, which can give readers a sense of the poet’s creative journey and evolution over time.

Thematic Order

Poems are grouped together according to a specific theme or subject matter, such as love, nature, or social justice.

Narrative Order

Poems are arranged in a way that creates a particular emotional or narrative arc, leading readers through a specific journey or story.

Structural Order

Poems are arranged based on their formal or structural elements, such as meter, rhyme, or repetition.

Formatting Your Poetry Manuscript

Here are 9 tips for formatting your poetry manuscript before submitting it to publishers:

  1. Start with a cover sheet that includes your name, the title of your manuscript, and your contact details.
  2. Include page numbers and a table of contents at the beginning.
  3. Acknowledge any previous publications of your poems in the manuscript.
  4. Give each poem a captivating title and start each poem on a new page with a properly capitalized title.
  5. Use clearly defined page breaks by inserting a “page break” in your word editor.
  6. Follow MLA style conventions. These standard formatting conventions outline how poems should be formatted:
    • Single space all line breaks in the poem.
    • Double space between stanzas.
    • Input 1-inch margins on all sides.
    • Use a 12pt font on all text.
    • Use a 14pt font for the title.
    • Keep poems left-flush on the page, unless the text flushing has a relationship to the poem.
  1. Use a serif font such as Times New Roman or Garamond.
  2. Use consistent copyediting to ensure proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
  3. Organize your poems thoughtfully to create a cohesive narrative or theme.


Read MoreHow to Outline a Novel: Learn in 6 Simple Steps

How to Publish a Poetry Book

To successfully publish a poetry book, you need to understand the poetry book publishing world. Most poetry books are published by independent presses with limited budgets and smaller readerships compared to fiction and nonfiction titles; hence, don’t expect to get a hefty book deal just yet. Only “The Big 5” publishers (Penguin, MacMillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster) can afford expensive book titles, those too from well-known poets only, so the chances of a beginner to get their poetry book published by these publishing houses are close to nil. Hence, building an audience for yourself as a poet and finding the right publisher are crucial for a successful book launch.

Read MoreHow to Get a Book Deal & Become a Published Author

How to Impress Poetry Book Publishers

Impressing poetry book publishers can be a challenging task, as the market for poetry is relatively small and competitive.

However, there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of getting your poetry book published:

  • Research and try to find publishers who are a good fit for your style of writing.
  • Read poetry and get a sense of what’s already out there and what’s being published.
  • Write a strong manuscript that is free of errors and formatted correctly.
  • Have confidence in your work.
  • Follow the submission guidelines of your desired publisher carefully.
  • Having a strong social media following can help support your chances of getting published.
  • Be patient, keep submitting your work, and don’t give up.

Some Popular Poetry Book Publishers

As a beginner, it is better to consult book writing companies to get in touch with professional poets and book writers. Gnome Book Writing is a team of expert book writers that have created award-winning books out of the messy ideas of beginners. Not only that, but they help you in getting your book published through leading platforms such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble!

When researching poetry book publishing companies and sites, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, distribution options, editorial support, and reputation within the literary community. Here are a few options to consider:

  • CreateSpace (by Amazon)
  • Lulu
  • IngramSpark
  • Copper Canyon Press
  • Graywolf Press
  • BOA Editions
  • Tupelo Press

Do I Need an Agent to Publish My Poetry Book?

No. Literary agents do not typically represent poets due to the lack of financial gain in poetry. As a result, many poets submit their works to contests or represent themselves. However, there are still poetry agents who may be interested in working with new poets if they have a proven track record of success, such as previous publications or a strong social media presence. Having an agent can be helpful for publishing with larger publishers, but the process of recruiting an agent usually involves submitting a query letter and effectively selling oneself as a writer.

Can I Self-Publish a Poetry Book?

All the publishing sites mentioned above offer self-publishing of books, which is a viable but tough route as when you become a self-publisher, you have to take care of the business yourself, and you have no guarantee if your book is desirable enough or not. It’s better to get it written and published with the help of book-writing agencies such as Gnome Book Writing.

Read MoreHow To Self-Publish Your Own Book in 8 Steps


Many people believe that writing a poetry book is easy, but it is a complex task that requires skill and expertise. For beginners, it may be helpful to consult with professional poets or book writing companies, such as Gnome Book Writing, which can assist in turning ideas into successful and award-winning books.