Hi Everyone. I’ve just joined and I have to say that this site has developed a nice community of like minded people. 


I want to throw something out there and get some advice from whomever reads this. 


I’ve never really been around anyone else that enjoys reading or writing poetry, it’s just something I’ve always done...like breathe I suppose. 

But last year I decided I wanted to share my work with others. I didn’t bother trying to get an agent or a publisher, I decided to self-publish. Which I am in the process of doing now. I’d say I’m about half way through the process, finalizing the interior design on the book. 


But anyway - my point is, it’s taken me this long to finally start doing research to work out how to market my book and reach my target audience (I know, I should’ve done this sooner), but the more I delve into this, the more I get an indication that self-published poetry is not respected..?! That’s it’s “only for those who weren’t good enough to get published”?


Has anyone else heard of this before or has experienced it? I think it’s outrageous. Regardless of how we get our work out there, we all have something magical to share. 


These preconceived notions need to be destroyed and I refuse to give up. Poetry cannot die and if self-publishing is the only way to keep it alive, then I plan to do everything I can to keep it going.

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Hi Rachael,

I say just go for it! get your ideas out there and do not worry too much about preconceptions certain people may have about self publishing. I am also in the process of self publishing my upcoming collection entitled "Frosted Murals". I previously published my Father's biography in his native tongue (Greek) and found the whole process very stimulating and rewarding, yet Exhausting!


My suggestion would be to apply for your ISBN now along with a barcode ... This first step will spur you on to complete your collection and get it out there. After that you can then submit copies to the National Library in Canberra and the NSW library


Good luck



It is worth noting that Walt Whitman self published his first book of poetry. It would also be a worthy project to research how many other poetry giants have self published. I think self publishing may be more prevalent and respected with poetry because the market is smaller and commercial print runs are smaller. One thing self publishers might like to look into is to engage a literary agent. The right literary agent will have the right contacts and will be able to provide guidance.


Hope this helps. By the way, I have not self published anything other than business articles on the web. So I'm not an expert.

Hi Rachel


I have self-published, the main problem was distribution. I had a ready made niche network system and sold 300 copies, I am told this is rare. At the time I was writing Christian encouragement poems, so I had plenty of self made networks to sell through. Currently, I am working on a group of poems about issues facing those with disabilities. I am toying with launch it to co-inside with International Day for People With Disabilities. I am part of a small writers group who provide feedback so that is helpful. I also print on demand so that kept overheads down, but increases the costs per book to print. My Blog has my writer's bio and some recent poems. Well that's my limited very sheltered experience. Best piece of advice is to develop and maintain good networks. Good Luck!    

Hi Debbie


I have a consulting practice and we do a lot of work with community services and disability services organisations. If you let me know when your book is published I would be happy to send some emails to my contacts in the sector.



Dallas Burgess

Thanks Dallas,

That means I better find a proof reader (available free through society of women writers) or put all the poems together, LOL!


Hello Rachel.

Well done and good for you. I have the utmost respect for you in your attempt to self publish. I like you have been wrtitng poetry on a off for a few years now and also have a book concept and like you have never really been around other "poets." After reading a few other responses have realised many peots would like to or have thought about self publishing.

It sounds as though your poetry is very personal to you like most as is mine. Most of my poetry if not all is written about personal experiences, tragedy etc.

I would really like to read some work of yours and I will also buy one of your books. Let me know how you go cause one day I would like to self publish. all the very best kieran

Hi Kieran,

Thank you for your kind words. I released my book in Autumn last year and majority of my sales were at the book launch and since then in person. My book is listed on Amazon (link below) but I haven't had time to get it into any bookstores yet. That in itself I know will be a huge challenge.

Been working on a short video interpretation of one of my poems from the book that I will launch shortly as a promo video to sell it.

Things have been good but self-publishing in itself is very hard work, especially when juggling a day job and a demanding life. But definitely something that I would encourage anyone to do if it suits their needs and I can guarantee that it is very fulfilling experience.


Hi Rachael,

It doesn't matter who you publish with or how you decide to publish, if the work is good enough, it will stand on its own.  Take for example the internet sensation "Go The F*ck to Sleep".  This was self published, and has sold millions.  It is also rather poetical!

I write because i love to write, and i've been published in journals here and there, and if, when i have enough poems for a collection, i cannot find a publisher, i will probably join you and self-publish.  

In my day job, I work for a publisher (new South Books) and we publish poetry (Australian Poetry Since 1788) and also distribute for Girramondo (publisher based at University of Western Sydney), who publish a lot of collections by a single authors (most poetry collections that sell are anthologies, rather than books by single authors).  I'm a sales rep, so i know first hand how difficult it is to get bookshops to stock poetry. This is simply because they cannot make money out of it - people do not buy it.  THis means that commercial success with poetry is rare.  

Having also previously owned a bookshop, i can tell you that most bookshops will take on books by local, self-published authors, but you will need to put in a quite a few publicity and marketing hours.  Try and get your local paper to profile you, do readings at your local library, offer to do a signing at your local bookstore (and bring your own friends along to buy the book and guarantee the numbers at the event).

As a bookstore owner, one thing that used to annoy me no end about self-published authors is that they did not understand the transaction process.  That is, when a bookstore promises to buy the book from you, you will usually need to offer it on a sale or return basis - that is, if the bookstore doesn't sell the book, they need to be able to return it to you for full credit.  You will need to provide an invoice to the bookstore (so you will obviously need to be set up with an ABN etc).  When you get to this stage, you will probably also need to know that bookstores buy books at a discount off the RRP.  This means you will need to set an RRP for your book and then offer the discount off that RRP.  Say you price your book at $20.  Most booksellers will expect 40 - 50% discount off that price, so the book should cost the bookseller $10 or $12.  

I hope this helps from a sales perspective.  

good luck



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