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I Wrote a Poem - and Got it Published!

For the past five years, I've mostly focused on writing novels, a very long and intense process, that is followed by an even longer and more intense querying process, that is followed by a downright brutal submission process (this is the phase I'm in with my current novel, and let's just say it's as hard as everyone says it is). After days and weeks and months and years of doing the same writerly thing, I decided to try something new. Except, it wasn't that new.

From the very first novel I wrote, I've almost always included poetry in those novels. I love the added dimension a poem can bring to a work of prose, whether the poem is used as an epigraph (that front piece authors sometimes include to introduce their story), as a way to divide the book into sections, or as pieces within the story my characters have written or are reading. As a result, I had quite a few poems that were trapped in books that will (most likely) never be published. So, I thought, why not try and find them a new life?

A dear writing friend (thank you Audrey Burgess!) who has published numerous short stories, essays, and satire pieces in journals pointed me to Submittable. There, I was able to find journals that were open to poetry submissions. Submitting through Submittable was easy, and I definitely recommend it, except my poems are written for a young audience--either children or young adults--and most of the journals on Submittable were geared toward adults. I knew my chance of being published would be higher if I submitted to journals that were focused on young readers, so I scoured the Internet and discovered a few. I crossed my fingers and sent off my work, having no idea what to expect.

In the weeks that followed, rejections started rolling in, but I'm a pro at receiving rejections. I write novels, after all, and I spent years in the querying trenches, and now I'm reliving those days in the submission trenches. I responded to the rejections in my usual way, by sending more poems out to more journals. I was not going to quit.

Then, a few months in, I received a very kind note from Paper Lanterns, a journal based in Ireland that is geared specifically toward teen and young adult readers. They offered me a spot in an upcoming issue for my poem, Turning Point, and it was as if they'd handed me the moon. I was finally going to be a published author . . . perhaps not of a novel (yet), but of a poem I'd written and which I loved just as much.

Thank you, Paper Lanterns, for making my dream come true. You've given me hope that my work has a place out there, and that I will continue to see my writing in print for many years to come.

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