How to Publish Poetry

In a past life (aka my twenties), I spent a lot of time writing, editing, and publishing poetry. I even got my Masters degree in writing it and published a book. These days, other things are higher on my list of priorities, but I still admire good poetry, it’s the word-based equivalent of watching Barcelona pass a soccer ball.

Anyway, because about a zillion people try to write poetry, I used to get asked a lot how to go about publishing it. I wrote a few pieces about this for my personal blog, and after some years, those pieces still got more hits than anything else I wrote. So I’ve taken that content and built How to Publish Poetry specifically for it. It’s advice for South African writers specifically, since I know my local scene best, and there’s not much help for writers in this part of the world.

The site’s monetised with Google Adsense advertising. If I ever find time, I may write up a more comprehensive guide to writing poetry for publication in South Africa, and sell it as an ebook. (Those grand intentions don’t mean anything now.)

Tools used: The site has a WordPress CMS with the OnTheGo theme from Elegant Themes. Photos are either mine or they’re Creative Commons Attribution licensed pics from Flickr (attributed in the file names).

Process: Register domain (we use Hetzner); install WordPress; download, install and set up the theme; create a site logo in Photoshop; find photos; paste past blog entries into WordPress as Posts and edit/update them; set up Google Adsense account; get Adsense code and paste into WordPress backend. All in all, probably about five hours’ work spread over several days, not counting several hours writing blog articles occasionally over a few years. Also, in order to make sure Google sent people to the new pages (instead of the old blog pages, which Google’s been sending people to till now), I added redirect instructions to the old site’s htaccess file. This is pretty technical for non-developers, and messing it up can break stuff, but I followed instructions on a few sites (like this one) and it all worked fine.