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Poetry Publishing Post, Part I

Updated: May 20


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Ok, I promised y'all a breakdown of my publishing process. So, buckle up, it's story time!

My publishing journey started in August of last year, when I happened across a call for manuscripts from my publishing company on Submittable. Yes, it was really that simple! For many other publishers, you have to do your research and know when they're open for submissions.

A helpful link for those of you looking to submit full-length poetry manuscripts is this handy blog: https://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/presses-with-open-readings-for-full-length-poetry-manuscripts/ There is a lot of information to sift through, so I recommend following other poets with similar styles to yours on social media to find the "right fit."

For me, and other Spanish-language poets, the process is a lot more limited. There simply aren't very many presses in the U.S. that accept Spanish-language poetry manuscripts. Simply put, I got lucky. I searched for "spanish poetry" on Submittable and the ONLY result was the call for manuscripts from my publisher.

Now, this particular poetry collection has been collecting dust on my shelf for over 15 years. I started writing it back in college (I double majored in Education and Spanish Literature for my undergrad). When I saw that this press was looking for full-length poetry manuscripts, it felt like a long shot. Luckily, I didn't have much time to second-guess myself- the reading period was closing in a week. So, I brushed the dust off the collection, did a few haphazard revisions, and sent it off.

I was SHOCKED when I got a response almost immediately from none other than the internationally famous poet, Fernando Valverde. I had no idea at the time that Fernando was the acquisitions person for Valparaíso. Here's a little blurb about Fernando, so you can see how big a deal this actually was:

Fernando Valverde has been voted the most relevant Spanish-language poet born since 1970 by nearly two hundred critics and researchers from more than one hundred international universities (Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, Princeton, Bologna, Salamanca, UNAM and the Sorbonne). His books have been published in different countries in Europe and America and translated into several languages.

He has received some of the most significant awards for poetry in Spanish, among them the Federico García Lorca, the Emilio Alarcos del Principado de Asturias and the Antonio Machado. His last book, The Insistence of Harm, has been the most-sold book of poetry in Spain for months and has received the Book of the Year award from the Latino American Writers Institute of the City University of New York.

For his collaboration in a work of fusion between poetry and flamenco he was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2014. He directs the International Festival of Poetry in Granada, one of the most important literary events in Europe, that has received more than 300 authors, including several Nobel Prize laureates.

After falling out of my chair at his email, I picked myself up and scheduled a call with him. Before I did that, however, I knew that I had to go in to the meeting prepared to represent myself as an author, without an agent or lawyer to advise me. That process was scary, and I'll get into it more in my next blog post!

I think I'll leave it here for now, and continue on the journey of the meeting and subsequent negotiations for the next post. Thanks for reading!
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