Thanks to the internet we now have access to many great tools, such as self publishing. You may be an aspiring poet hoping to get their work published, or maybe you have a compilation of original poems that you just want to share with loved ones. If you have a passion for poetry in general, you can also make a poetry book to include all of your favorites in one place. Whatever the motivation or reason, there are many things to keep in mind while you prepare to self publish a book of poems.
Before you begin brainstorming how you want your book of poems to look or what you want to include, you must first pinpoint a purpose or a goal.
- What do you wish to accomplish by creating this book?
- Make money by selling it to the masses
- Get recognized as an aspiring poet
- Give as a special gift for someone
- Give copies to friends and family
- Just for fun or to have a keepsake
- Who is the intended audience/recipient?
- One special person (significant other, mother, sister, etc.)
- Select group of people
It is important to define a purpose early on because a book of poems will need to be formatted differently for different scenarios. A book that is solely for your reference, for example, will most likely not need to be as formal as one that you plan on selling publicly.
Gather Content that You Want to Include
Once you set goals for your book of poems, you can begin compiling and organizing the content that you want to include. Do you want your one of a kind book:
- To include original content
- To be a compilation of existing content
- To be themed or styled (love, nature, rhyming, etc)
- To have extras (art, drawings, paintings, photographs, clippings, etc)
It is easiest to get started once you have all of the poems that you wish to include in one place. If you have paper copies, start by scanning them into a folder on your hard drive. If you have digital copies already, move all of the files into one folder on your computer or combine all of text into one document. I find that it is sometimes easier to work off of one manuscript rather than several smaller ones. Once the files are on your computer, start putting the text in order based on the direction that you want to go.
For example, lets say that the main purpose behind creating this book of poems is to put your original work that you wrote about nature into a pocket sized book to give to your closest family and friends. Start by taking all of the poems that you have written around this theme, and put them together in one place. Give all of them a good read over and decide which order you want them in.
Inversely, if your goal is to get noticed as a writer and you wish to publish your poetry book for sale to the general public, you will likely want one cohesive and very well edited manuscript to upload. Manuscripts like this generally require much more detail such as your contact information and a more formal styling. If you are really serious, you may want to contact an editor or publisher to see how they can help.
Putting Finishing Touches on Your Poetry Book
Before you publish to your book of poems, take the time to edit them thoroughly. It helps to print off hard copies of the text and read them out loud. If possible, also have a few other trusted sources read through them to make sure that there are no spelling errors.
Layout and Formatting Poems are often easier to read and will have more meaning if they are not crowded onto pages. Consider putting only one on a page, or breaking a longer poem down into stanzas and spread throughout a couple of pages.
Be sure to number the pages and give each sonnet a title. The title should be centered and in a larger font than the body (for example, size 14) and the body should be left justified with a smaller font size (for example, size 12). This writing style does not require that you begin each line with a capital, so play around with the styling to make it more artistic if you choose.
You will also need to create a title for the compilation and should consider creating a title page and a table of contents. Some authors also choose to include a dedication or acknowledgement page. If you choose to do so, put those pages at the beginning of the book.
Once you have all of these items sorted out, you can begin uploading content onto a book publishing website. One of my favorites is Blurb because they have easy to use interface that makes simple text formatting a breeze. Blurb is also great because they allow plenty of room for pictures or other items that you want to include. Thanks to online book publishers, self publishing a poetry book has never been easier. Have fun creating!