Practical tips 1: the presentation of poetry for submission

If you’re thinking of submitting your poetry to a magazine or publisher, consistent presentation is a must. Whenever you make a submission bear in mind the likely requirements of publication, and the person reading your poems. If they have an hundred submissions on their desk inconsistent or sloppy presentation is likely to mean your work will be ignored.

Titles

These won’t be published underlined or UPPERCASE, so just as a matter of habit it’s better to have your titles as you would wish them to be, or as they are likely to be, published. ┬áThat is bold, in title case or lowercase. Make sure they’re consistent as well, for example don’t have ‘the’ in one title and ‘The’ in the next.

Alignment

Left align your poetry. Only under very exceptional circumstances should it be centre aligned (e.g. concrete poetry). Right aligned very occasionally works, but there has to be an effect in doing this that you can defend when asked.

Font

Make sure the font is legible, not too small (12 point is usual) and is consistent, i.e. use the same font for all poems in a submission.

Margins

Standard margin size on A4 is 2.54cm on all sides. Don’t have your top margin set at 1cm and your left at 5cm. It’s annoying.

Line length

Manage your line length in accordance with the likely format of publication. Most will be published A5 or smaller. If you are in the habit of writing on A4 with long lines the line breaks will change on publication, though the fact that the line is intended to be longer is generally evident from the indent on the overrun line. If the position of line breaks is important to you take this into account.

By this we mean if you have a long line like this, when it comes to publication it will look more like this;

or

By this we mean if you have a long line like this, when
…..it comes to publication it will look more like this

And finally

Don’t print your work off when your printer is running out of ink or has problems. Faint or miscoloured text, or text with horizontal or missing lines, is difficult to read and therefore unlikely to be read.