Dear author, welcome to the five essential steps to making a poetry book. There is much to do—but it is easier in steps! Take a step with no hurry in mind, and enjoy being at that step.
Every step comes with lessons and insights, and happiness. Sometimes you may feel stuck at a step but please do persevere, you are made of more grit than you may think.
There is always a way forward to the next step. And then, eventually, you will arrive. Delighted! A poetry collection in hand. Self-published—and empowered!
Full-length poetry collections are usually 60 to 110 pages of poetry (about 100 pages is common). That’s 30 to 100 poems. They may further be divided into parts that share common themes.
My poetry collection When Eve Walked is evenly divided into three parts – Hidden, Rising, and Risen, and is a total of 72 poems. The print copy is 6″ x 9″ and 162 pages.
Always take writing inspiration from your own life, observations, and experiences. Poetry is emotional and requires a depth of authenticity to stir, uplift, and transform the reader.
Create a document of text (your poems!) called a manuscript. This requires you to develop an awareness of each of your poems within the context of the overall collection.
Many authors like to write in a notebook or on loose paper. You may have a variety of poems from years of observations. These need to be gathered, sifted, and typed up into a Word document.
In what order are the poems to be presented? Are there common elements? What will go, stay, or be improved upon? What size will your book be? All of this will affect the flow of your collection.
The success of your book is centred on three-sub-steps: Self-editing, Copy-editing, and Proofreading. Even if you’re on a budget, don’t skimp on professional copy-editing!
Self-editing is free but requires your time, meticulous attention, and repeated revisions. Amend errors and work through the elements of poetry – structure, punctuation, spacing, breaks, etc.
It’s essential to collaborate with a copy editor to bring your poetry collection up to industry standards. Then, you’ll need to proofread the editor’s work or have a proofreader do it for you!
(Yes, another necessary expense!) A professional book designer will take your manuscript and transform it into a spectacular book blueprint. I used Damonza*—books made awesome!
It’s a book designer’s job to create your book’s cover and interior layout – the font, format, and other visual elements within the book. Please note, a book designer is not a publisher.
The book designer will give you (PDF and EPUB) files to publish print books and e-books. You are the publisher, therefore, at every step of the book-making process, you are responsible!
Take your files and upload them to a self-publishing network with a global reach like Ingram Spark. The platform offers book printing and distribution with the highest quality and other benefits.
There is no need for you to order or store boxes of books because of print-on-demand technology. The platform also enables you to distribute e-books to all major e-book retailers around the world!
If you would like to learn more about each of the steps to making a poetry book for self-publishers, click on the links provided. My poetry book When Eve Walked is available September 22nd, 2020!