How do You Self-Publish a Poetry Book?

Jude, one of our challenge participants, asked me a valuable question. He wanted to know how to self publish a poetry book. (If you have had novel experiences publishing your poetry book, please share in the comments).

This is a brilliant question! I usually compile my manuscript on Microsoft Word, but as a MAC user, I also have Pages which is free. Then, I upload my manuscript to Kindle Create on Amazon.com. However, this might not be the way you publish your poetry books.

So… I’ve compiled a few links that will help you on your journey:

Proper Manuscript Formatting: https://www.shunn.net/format/poetry/ (I would say this is a suggested way to format your poems for submission into contests, publishers, or literary journals). It’s best to follow the directions required by the publisher.

How to Publish a Poetry Book Step by Step: https://authority.pub/publish-poetry-book/

Kindle Create Tutorial: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GYVL2CASGU9ACFVU. This link will walk you through using the Kindle Create program on Amazon.com. I can only speak for this version. I assume each country’s Amazon has their own links to Kindle Create? If you know differently, please let us know in the comments.

50 Free Writing Software And The Best Free Writing Apps: https://justpublishingadvice.com/free-writing-software-and-the-best-free-writers-tools/

  • From the article above: If you are not using Calibre, you should be. It’s one of the best ebook editing tools for authors, and it’s free.

The Best Free Sites To Publish Poetry Online: https://justpublishingadvice.com/publish-poetry-online/

canva.com has a great selection of kindle book cover templates. This is a free site. They also offer classes through their blog to teach you how to use the program.

Consider submitting to a poetry contest for poetry books. Many small presses hold annual contests to attract new talent. Many of these contests are listed in Poets & Writers’ Writing Contests, Grants, & Awards Database.

Poetry Book Publishers: https://poetrysociety.org/about/resources

I’ll create a page to save this information for future reference on Word Craft – Prose & Poetry.

GOOD LUCK & HAVE FUN!

70 thoughts on “How do You Self-Publish a Poetry Book?

  1. I’m in the process of self-publishing a poetry book, and I’ve decided to make it super difficult by including photographs. I’ve been able to do all of the formatting myself for different file types, except for fixed EPUB. I’m going to pay IngramSpark to do it if they ever send me the hard copy proof I ordered. I’ll check out the resources to see if I’ve missed anything. Thank you for compiling them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome. I’ve been told the payout from Amazon with books that have images included is less. Check this out four yourself. I used png images in my Fairies, Myths, & Magic book and I make less in royalties. Let me know about your experience with Ingram Spark. I’m considering purchasing the Vellum program from Apple to make ebooks and print books. Thanks for sharing, Liz. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard the same thing about the smaller payout, which is why I’ve kept the book relatively short. There have been issues with IngramSpark because of the pandemic, so I’m taking a wait and see attitude at this point.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. IngramSpark charges $49. to upload your formatted manuscript. Where it can really add up is the revision fee, which is $25. However, if you’re a member of ALLI, the fees are waived for up to 50 submissions (manuscripts and revisions) a year. I think I have this right from memory! The print cost is reasonable to include photographs if you don’t go with the premium photograph paper. (I wanted to, but it would have doubled the print cost, and the purchase price would have be unreasonably high for readers to want to make the purchase.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent information and links. I think I have read a few of them in the past, though need to update myself. I have made a few poetry books, one was my daughters and one for a local lady where i used to live. They were fun to do. I used Word Docx. I think my daughter did a pocketbook size.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Hello, yeah if you can read my comment below, I think I at least tick that checkbox, 120 poems and short stories definitely goes wayy beyond 70pages but I’m still stuck though this from Colleen is so amazing

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the links. I’ve just finished formatting a paperback and e-book of poems for a member of our writing group and found it a challenge avoiding unwanted breaks in lines. also deciding where to begin the second (and subsequent) page of longer poems depending on whether they face the first page or a differentpoem (this may only make sense if you’ve tried it yourself and seen what I mean). Fortunately my friend isn’t in the habit of making shapes with her lines, which would have been a different nightmare to format. I’ve set up a variety of styles to accommodate longer lines and move short-lined poems further to the centre of the page.
    The e-book is another matter, since we can’t know what font sixe the reader will choose, but I have split all the longer-lined poems (there’s probably a literary term for that…) at a point where lines still make sense on their own, so there is less chance of them runnining onto several lines like prose.
    I discovered when we published our two anthologies that poetry presents a whole different set of challenges from short stories and essays.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for all this information! It is most helpful. Most of my published poetry is syllabic and not long. However, I have some longer pieces in my next book. I found Kindle Create easy to work with for the formatting. I’ll let you know how the new book fares. Best of luck to you. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hello Cathy, yeah I’m facing these too. But it helps that I wrote them and know exactly where I’d want a break. However, it’s such a challenge doing it alone, I have syllabic poems in my poetry book like etherees, Shadorma and the like which definitely need visuals on the page, though the syllabic count makes it an automatic shape so all I have to decide is whether to centre on the page or not

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good luck with that. The only problem I can see with an e-book is what happens with a centred line that’s too long when the reader increases the font size? (In fact I feel like trying that and sending it to my kindle to find out.)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ll experiment with that myself. The changing of fonts is out of our hands. Most of my syllabic poetry I center on the page. For haibun, it worked fine as well. I’ve considered buying the Vellum program for Mac. It’s a thought. ❤️

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I center my syllabic on the page, Jude. For haibun, I only center the haiku portion. I’ve not had issues. I do a page break after each poem. If you add images, Amazon pays you less so keep that in mind. We can control how the poetry looks in the kindle when the print is enlarged.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good information Colleen. Of course, I can’t even get to the part of putting things together..I don’t know how everyone finds the time to do all they do. I am always in awe, being someone who can barely manage numbers one and two each day on my list of things to do. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess it’s mainly determination K. That’s all keeping me going right now. No one has actually read my book so far because I have to be my own editor. Not really surrounded by people with as much passion for writing and the likes. So I’m doing it all myself. But my biggest hurdle comes down to the financial bit so I’m looking for as low cost a way as possible.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you so much for posting this Colleen. I’m going to check out all these links. But so far I’ve been told Amazon is quite unfriendly to people not in the US or in the UK. With royalties and all that. As for the formatting, I’ve been trying all types since my poetry book is themed and it has enough free verse, a plethora of syllabic poems, and a few short stories that cover upto 2 or 3 pages each, sonnets and the like, etherees and nonets that need the visual upon the page.

    I’m a bit scared about the Amazon because of setting up the accounts, and apparently, royalties begin coming in after the first 100 copies are sold, so that’s pretty steep

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It does get tricky with poetry and pictures included. I didn’t attempt to format either of my books that have poetry. I had to keep to cost higher for the print copies because of images, which I don’t like to do. My next poetry book I will be doing the formatting myself and you have some good information here to check out then. Thanks, Colleen:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is all so useful, everyone, thank you! I’ve really been wanting to publish my poetry for my gran but I don’t even know where to start. This helps! Thank you for sharing! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m simultaneously excited and really.. nervous. I think only two people have ever read my poetry before and the idea of sharing it with people? Little bit nerve racking! 😳

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I think I will check out some of the challenges. I’ve really been enjoying blogging and i’m hoping consistent exposure to writing will help me break out of my shell a little more. It really helps that you’ve all been so wonderful, thank you!

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Colleen what a wonderful article packed with great information. I have bookmarked this page. I have published one book, but I wish I would have had some of this information to help guide me. It was my first book and I made mistakes, I plan on doing a second edition of the book. My problem was learning how to format the book right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brenda, my first book was a YA fiction story dear to my heart. I recently took it down because after many years, I’ve decided to rewrite the story. That’s what we do… we learn and apply what we’ve learned. I owe that to myself and my readers. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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