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How To Self-Publish Poetry Book Successfully


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Recently, a new wave of poetry has taken the literary world by storm, largely thanks to poets who have risen to fame through Instagram, such as Rupi Kaur and Atticus. These poets have drawn massive online followings by sharing their works visually on social media. They have often opted for self-publishing, which allowed them complete creative control over their books’ appearance. This also provided them a quicker route to deliver their works directly to their eager fans, bypassing the slower machinations of traditional Book Publishing Services.

History reminds us that some of the most celebrated poetry works, like Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” found their first audiences through self-publishing. This method has a deep-seated heritage of success, and modern poets continue to build upon it. Nowadays, achieving recognition in the poetry world doesn’t necessarily require the backing of traditional publishing houses.

In this guide, we will help you self-publish your very own poetry book successfully. 

1. Decide Why You Want to Self-Publish

Before you get into self-publishing your poetry, it’s important to take some time to decide if this route is right for you and your goals as an author. 

Here are some of the key pros and cons to weigh:

1.1 Pros of Self-Publishing:

– Full creative control – you decide everything from the cover design to the price

– Keep a larger royalty percentage – typically 70% royalties on ebook sales

– Faster process – no need to find a traditional publisher and wait months for decisions  

– Gain experience and learn new skills in editing, design, marketing

– Build an audience independently through social media and email lists

1.2 Cons of Self-Publishing:

– No advance payment like with a traditional publisher

– You pay for editing, design, and marketing costs instead 

– Less prestigious than being published by a major publishing house

– Harder to get into bookstores and access wider distribution

2. Step-By-Step Guide to self-publish:

Now that you know how to get started after having a motive to publish and then knowing which self-publishing route to choose, let’s get onto the actual self-publishing process.  

 2.1 Prepare Your Poetry Manuscript

Before self-publishing your poetry book, you’ll need to prepare your manuscript. Proper formatting for publishing your poems is essential for a polished, professional look. 

 Formatting Tips

  • Use a standard font like Times New Roman or Garamond in 12 pt size. Avoid fancy scripts or unusual fonts.
  • Double-space all poems. This creates white space and makes the pages easier to read. 
  • Center your title at the top of each poem if the title is longer than one line, double space between lines. 
  • Indent stanzas consistently, either with tab indents or by leaving extra space between them.
  • Number the pages in the bottom corner or header.

Manuscript Length 

Poetry collections generally range from around 50-100 pages. That typically equates to 30-60 poems. If you have fewer poems, consider waiting until you have more material. If you have over 100 pages of poems, you may want to break it into two books or prune it down by removing weaker poems. 

Shorter poetry chapbooks are popular, usually around 25-40 pages. You can also self-publish a chapbook before compiling a full collection.

With your poems properly prepared, edited, and arranged, your manuscript will be primed for publication. Taking the time to polish it will pay off with a more professional book.

3. Hire an Editor

Hiring a professional editor is one of the most important steps when self-publishing your poetry book. An experienced editor will help polish your manuscript and make it the best it can be before publication. 

This professional Book Editing Services provider’s guidance can greatly improve both the quality of your work and its marketability. There are several key reasons to invest in editing:

 3.1 Catch Errors and Problems

Even experienced, published poets need editing. As the author, you are intimately familiar with your work and may miss errors, inconsistencies, formatting issues, etc. 

A professional editor provides an objective, fresh set of eyes to catch all these. They will look for typos, grammar issues, style or voice inconsistencies, word choices, meter or rhyme issues (for formal poetry), and any other errors or rough patches. This polish makes your book shine.

3.2  Improve Style and Voice

In addition to fixing errors, a talented editor can suggest ways to enhance your style and poetic voice. They may point out spots where word choice could be stronger, imagery more vivid, descriptions more immersive, or emotions more impactful. 

Your editor may even highlight places where reworking a line or stanza could make it flow better. If you collaborate effectively, the editor’s guidance can elevate your work.

 3.3 Ensure Readability and Impact

Your editor will keep the reader experience at the forefront. They will check that your poems are coherent, your metaphors land properly, your messages come across, and each piece delivers maximum impact. 

With their help, you can ensure your book will deeply resonate with readers. They will also make sure the collection as a whole flows well and tell you if the order needs reworking.

4. Design an Eye-Catching Cover

The Cover Design Power is not something that you should take for granted. Your book cover is the first thing readers will see, so having an eye-catching design is crucial for making a good first impression. 

Investing in custom artwork and design can help your poetry book stand out, though using a quality stock image is also an option if you’re on a tight budget. 

When designing your cover, focus on creating something simple yet bold that captures the essence of your poetry. Some cover design tips:

  • Use bright, contrasting colors that pop against white space
  • Incorporate symbolic imagery related to your poems 
  • Pick an interesting font that reflects your style 
  • Place the title and author name prominently 
  • Leave adequate space so the design isn’t too cluttered

For the front cover, include the full title and author’s name. The back cover is a great place for an author bio, a brief book description, and positive endorsements, if available. 

Creating multiple design concepts and getting beta readers’ feedback can help narrow your options. Investing in custom artwork tailored to your poetry can make your book look more professional. 

5. Obtain an ISBN

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique number assigned to identify your book. It helps readers find your book online and in stores. There are two options for obtaining an ISBN:

 5.1 Get a Free ISBN

Some self-publishing platforms like Amazon KDP, Lulu, and Smash words provide free ISBNs. The ISBN will be associated with that platform. You’ll need a new ISBN if you want to sell your book elsewhere later.

 5.2 Buy Your ISBN

You can purchase single ISBNs for around $125 or bundles of 10 or more for under $300 from Bowker, the official U.S. ISBN Agency. The ISBN will belong to you as the publisher. You can use it with any platform or retailer.

A free ISBN could work if your book will only be available from one platform initially. But buying your own gives you more flexibility long-term.

For barcodes, paid ISBNs allow you to create a scannable barcode that embeds the ISBN. Retailers require barcodes for print books. Most self-publishing platforms will create barcodes for both free and paid ISBNs.

6. Set a Price

Setting the price for your self-published poetry book involves understanding printing costs, gauging competitor prices, and evaluating royalties from retailers. It’s typically better to price higher while maintaining a reasonable trade-off between price and sales volume. Prioritize fair compensation for your creative endeavor over merely boosting sales numbers.

 7. Upload Your Book File

Once your book is fully edited and you have a completed manuscript, it’s time to upload the file to your selected self-publishing platform. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want to publish your book as a print book, ebook, or both. 

Most self-publishing platforms make publishing in print and digital formats easy. 

The upload process is straightforward with most self-publishing platforms like Amazon Book Publishing. You’ll need to create an account, choose a publishing package, or pay as you go, then upload your print and/or ebook files. The service will guide you through entering your book’s metadata like title, description, keywords, categories, etc. Once uploaded and processed, you’ll have the option to preview your book before publishing.


Successfully self-publishing a poetry book is an attainable goal with careful planning and strategic decision-making. By improving your craft, leveraging social media to build an audience, selecting the right self-publishing platform, pricing your work smartly, and marketing with authenticity, you can elevate your poetry from the screen or the page to the hands of enthusiastic readers. 

We hope that with the help of this self-publish guide, you will now be able to fulfill your dreams and publish a poetry book of your own without any help from professional publishers.  However, if you need help through your publishing process, then hiring independent book publishers like book publishers New York is no harm. These publishers will simply guide you throughout your process without taking any credits.

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