Go from writing to PUBLISHING poetry
You’ve spent years developing your voice, learning the craft of writing poems. You’ve probably always pictured yourself as a well-published poet. But how do you get from here to there? The path to actually publishing your poetry feels like hacking your way through a jungle with a dull machete.
You might leave an MFA program or a poetry course thinking, I’ve got something publishable here. But you quickly find that the steps toward that goal aren’t nearly as intuitive as they’re made out to be.
Whether you’re working on building a portfolio of reputable journal publications, assembling a chapbook, or composing a full-length collection, the frustrating truth is that there isn’t much out there to help you cross the finish line and get published.
Established poets make it seem easy … or impossible.
“I worked hard on the poems and then publishing just happened.” Subtext: I am that brilliant.
(No, they’re not.)
“It took years … you’ll just have to endure years of rejection like I did.”
(Also not true.)
Maybe you’ve even had some publishing success. You think I’m on a roll, finally! … until it gets mysteriously harder.
And your desire to be published is not just a matter of fulfilling your personal dreams of holding your book in your hands, as important as that is.
Publishing matters. Publishing is what opens doors to other opportunities like residencies, grants, awards, teaching positions, and conference invites.
Let’s be honest.
There’s a no-man’s land between writing and publishing poetry.
No, you aren’t imagining this gap.
Most poetry publishing advice out there is vague almost to the point of gaslighting: “Send out as many submissions as you can, as often as possible, and eventually you’ll get published. That’s what I did!” “Just spread the poems out on the floor and you’ll see how they fit together.”
Advice like that not only doesn’t help, it actually makes you feel that the problem is you, that you’re failing, or that publishing is “just about luck” or “arbitrary.” (It’s not.)
It’s a miracle any poet keeps at it.
It’s not you. Confusion about how to get published is the norm.
Do you keep circling back to your stack of poems, saying things like
I’m not sure …
- what publishers want
- which poems to include, how much variation is OK
- how to structure a book, how to order the poems so it hangs together
- where to send my work, what kind of press is right for my poetry
- if it’s really ready
Or I worry that …
- my work isn’t what I think it is
- some of the poems aren’t “good enough” or will feel unfinished in hindsight
- my submission will seem amateurish or disjointed to publishers
After studying with you, that’s when I started getting published.
“Working with you fundamentally changed how well I can think about my own work.”
published poet, author of a chapbook
Underneath all of that, you may secretly worry that … my poetry isn’t compelling enough to be published. (Ouch.)
It made publication possible…
“I took your poetry manuscript course when I was trying so hard to figure out how to order the sequences in my book I|I. I loved your practical advice, and it really made publication possible for me. Thank you!”
author of I|I, selected by Kazim Ali, 2022 Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize + winner of the Colorado Book Award in Poetry
Wouldn’t you rather …?
- Feel confident your work is ready for publication
- Have confidence in your decision about which poems to include and what to leave out
- Be clear about whether you have a chapbook or a full-length collection
- See how the poems fit into a structure—and how that structure impacts the power of the manuscript
- Reduce the time between writing and publishing
- Identify ideal publishers and start building an audience for your poetry
Wouldn’t it be nice to know—for sure—that you haven’t skipped any crucial steps that will increase your chances of receiving those acceptance letters?
You absolutely can have that level of confidence in the work you send out to publishers.
Crack the poetry publishing code with …
Get Published Poetry Coaching
Chart a path to publication with custom support.
Identify Your Zone of Unique Genius
Identify your work’s unique qualities and thematic strengths. Our work together starts with getting a clear perspective on what’s most essential about your poetry, your voice, and about where it fits in the publishing landscape.
Shape Your Submission to Stand Out
Shape your submission. Then we’ll work through a process that strengthens what’s already brilliant in your work, fills in the gaps, and shapes your submission so that it rises well above others.
Identify Right-Fit Publishers and Make a Plan to Get Published
We’ll develop a strategic, concrete publishing plan, identifying and targeting publishers who are looking for work like yours.
One-on-One Coaching with Radha
90-minute sessions every other week for 3 months.
A Clear Process
and customized action plan to meet your publishing goals.
to keep you moving between coaching sessions.
Private Client Workspace
for feedback on you rwork and access to session notes, tools, and recorded instructions to support you.
Turnkey Tools and Templates
for finalizing and publishing your work.
Access to the Complete Manuscript Course—a comprehensive, 22-lesson guide to assembling chapbooks and full-length collections.
Complimentary Poets Circle membership, a private community of accomplished poets helping each other get published.
You receive three months of one-on-one coaching with me for $3750.
Curious about coaching?
Let’s explore your work and publishing aspirations.
Really, it’s not about pure talent.
What separates poets who get published from writers who give up? It comes down to having:
- Clear focus on finalizing the work so that it becomes a powerful whole.
- Certainty about where their work fits in the publishing landscape.
- A concrete plan for getting published.
Above all else, published poets have confidence–and that confidence isn’t acquired in a vacuum. Confidence comes from doing the work—yes—but also from having feedback and guidance in the process.
More than ever, we need your poetry.
Longing for public accomplishment shouldn’t be something poets feel bad about. Wanting to see your work in the world is not naive or egotistical. Readers you’ve never met are waiting for your poetry.
A much better writer now.
“I’m a much better writer for the work we’ve done together.”
published poet & fiction writer, author of a hybrid memoir
If only I’d had the clarity I have now earlier!
I’m Radha Marcum.
I’m the author of two award-winning poetry collections—Bloodline (New Mexico Book Award, 2018) and Pine Soot Tendon Bone (Washington Prize, 2023).
Along the way to getting those books out, I kept a presence in journals like FIELD, West Branch, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, Bennington Review, Notre Dame Review, and Poetry Northwest—and the list keeps growing.
Honestly, it took longer than I wanted to reach that first big publishing milestone. But the process taught me a lot. My second book took just three years from the time I started drafting poems to when the manuscript was accepted for publication.
During the time I was writing my first collection, I was simultaneously working professionally in publishing and marketing, getting to know how publishing really works.
My first book was a finalist for prizes, including the FIELD Poetry Prize, the Alice James Beatrice Hawley Award, the Akron Poetry Prize, and the Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize.
I’ve taught poetry and manuscript development part-time at colleges, community writing programs, conferences, and privately for 10+ years. Since 2017, I’ve mentored writers working to publish in journals, or on poetry or hybrid-genre manuscripts. In 2021, I launched Poet to Poet, a newsletter and private community, and in 2023 I launched the Complete Manuscript Course.
Get Published Poetry Coaching includes everything I wish I’d known sooner.
Questions You Might Be Asking (plus, answers!)
How do I know if coaching is for me?
Coaching is for you if …
- You are seeking to build a portfolio of prestigious journal publications
- You have a manuscript you’ve been compiling for a while; you’re not sure what it needs
- You’ve just finished or are currently in an MFA and need auxiliary publishing support
- You want to meet the submission deadline for a dream press (or several)
- You’ve published a first book or chapbook and are working on a follow up
- You’re shaping a first book or legacy work to publish independently
It might not be for you if …
- You are currently too busy to devote some time to the work between sessions
- You’re looking for a group of poets for feedback
- Want an editor to do the organizing for you
- Want help primarily to generate the work
What’s the difference between coaching and an MFA or chapbook course?
MFAs and chapbook courses typically help poets generate and revise work. Some will provide ideas about how to shape the work into a complete manuscript. Most leave you on your own to do the work of assembling and finalizing the work for publication. Almost no MFA programs or courses teach poets how to successfully navigate the publishing landscape. Get Published Poetry Coaching fills those gaps.
What if I’m not sure what to focus on publishing first—individual poems, a chapbook, or a full-length collection?
Get Published Poetry Coaching can be applied to any of these goals. In fact, working on one will improve your chances of achieving the others. The principles are the same.
You may have heard that you need to publish many individual poems in journals before attempting to publish a book. While that can certainly help in some cases, individual publication credits aren’t always necessary to getting a book published. Get Published Poetry Coaching starts with discussing the goals most important to you and making a decision on which direction to pursue.
What’s the difference between coaching and manuscript consultations?
Many published authors offer individual manuscript consultations. These consultations typically provide ideas about how to improve the manuscript. Unfortunately, most consults focus on the nitty gritty of the work—its craft—and miss the big picture. Usually, a consult does not include perspective about the publishing landscape and developing a concrete plan for publication.
Get Published Poetry Coaching isn’t focused on stylistic choices or opinions. It is based on principles that transcend opinion, gathered over two decades in publishing and teaching, and incorporating knowledge of and appreciation for diverse voices and styles. It also takes into account the evolving literary publishing landscape and is rooted in direct conversations with publishers and editors.
I have an MFA. Isn’t that sufficient?
Unfortunately, no. MFAs are training grounds focused on honing your craft, developing your voice, and understanding the history and context of contemporary writing. MFA programs weren’t developed to give poets perspective on publishing. Although some universities run small presses, most do not offer perspective on the wider poetry publishing landscape, most of which exists outside of the academy. It’s mostly up to us poets to educate ourselves.
How do I know I’m ready? Do I need a certain number of poems or publication credits??
You don’t need to have a certain number of poems or publication credits. If you’re not sure, I recommend scheduling a call to explore whether you are ready to get your work published.
What if I haven’t completed the process by the end of three months?
Coaching is designed to give you the kind of clarity that makes it possible to move very quickly in the process. However, life happens. Things come up. Rest assured, by the end of three months you will know the steps you need to take. If you’d like to continue coaching, you’ll have first priority whenever I have an opening.
From a stack of poems … to a collection.
“I know how to read a manuscript like a collection. I have a concrete way to think about how my poems relate to one another. Our one to one conversation was really helpful because it illuminated blind spots.”
published poet and author of a chapbook
Publishing poetry is not arbitrary.
“When I get an acceptance, it’s just arbitrary. I got lucky.” I hear this over and over. Nothing makes me more frustrated, because I know that those writers are taking a trial-and-error approach.
Here’s the thing: Shooting in the dark can eventually work. But it truly takes years—often a decade or more. And it leaves you feeling that publishing is something you can never be strategic about, which just isn’t true.
I don’t want you to waste time. You can have a clear plan.
Paying it forward is an important part of my calling in poetry.
Nothing is more fulfilling than helping writers ensure their work reaches its greatest potential and finds a publishing home. It’s a thrill every time a coaching client messages me that they’ve received a publication or an award.
“Support that fills you with ideas.
“This [manuscript class] was one of the best and most helpful classes I have taken. It was well organized, with helpful details and great examples. Filled me with ideas and spurred me on.”
poet, aspiring book author