I normally send out poems to magazines once a year. However, for some reason I didn’t do it last year, just fired off a few almost at random. That’s given me a problem this year – I’ve written a lot lately, the system has backed up like a clogged drain, and I’ve got far more to send out than is comfortable.
There are certain rules I follow:
1. I regularly read the magazines I send poems to. There is no point in posting poems to magazines which don’t publish your kind of poetry.
2. I always check the mag’s guidelines (again) before I send them off. Writers who don’t read guidelines really piss editors off.
3. I don’t send too many poems to any one magazine – four’s probably enough.
4. I don’t send the same poems to different magazines. Again, editors hate writers who fire off multiple mailings of the same poems.
5. I always include SAE for returns.
6. I always use A5-type envelopes. Anything smaller can be difficult to open. Make the editor’s job easy.
7. I always include a cover-note, but I keep it simple and to the point. Editors can be put off by long and tedious CVs. They don’t need to know what you’ve done and where else you’ve been published.
8. I don’t assume I have a right to be published. There are many reasons why an editor won’t take a particular poem, and it may have nothing to do with the quality of that poem. I may utter an occasional bad word on rejection, but I don’t brood on it, and I don’t take it personally.
9. On the other hand, I write to communicate, and I’m always more than delighted when a poem of mine is accepted.
10. When a poem is rejected I may revise it and send it to another magazine later – I don’t send it back to the same editor.
So that’s the way I do it. Later this week some 30-odd poems will be whizzing off to maybe 8 magazines. It would be nice if 10 are accepted.