Skip to main content

Submitting Creative Writing for Contests and Publications

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically, he just loves to write.


A Personal Experience

This hub is about a personal experience I have had recently in submitting poetry for an anthology "best Australian Poems 2013" advertised by a publishing company called Black Inc.

I discuss the process of trying to select appropriate poetry from my collection on Hub Pages, through to corresponding with the publisher and ultimate rejection, rejection, and rejection.

Hopefully this helps other budding poets and authors to understand a little of the process of submitting their writing to publishers and for competitions.

What have I learnt from this? Don't take rejection from one publisher as an indication that your writing is not good enough, just that it doesn't suit the style or purpose of their proposed anthology, or that the contest has attracted a high number of high quality entries. Most of all, don't give up! Just take what you can from the publisher's reasons for rejecting you and use the advice to make your future writing even better.

The Best Sites to Access Poetry and Fiction Contests and Marketing Your Writing


The Call for Submissions

A few days ago I came across a publishing house called Black Inc. calling for creative writing submissions "The Best Australian Stories, Essays and Poems 2013/2014." Until now most creative writing competitions and calls for submission that I have found have been USA based, so this was a pleasant surprise and right up my alley.

The only stipulations for the poetry submissions is that poems should be recent and,if already published, must have been published between 1st August 2013 and 1st August 2014 . A maximum of three poems can be submitted and of a maximum length of 70 lines. The best part is that there is no entry fee and $40 is paid for the rights to publish each poem selected. The deadline was 1st August 2014.

Now's My Chance

Wow! I thought this was my chance to get at least one poem published and make some money. So I have been busily reading through my poetry to select three suitable poems. That has proved to be easier said than done as I have written over 100 here at Hub Pages.

The 70 line limit helped me to whittle it down by a few, then it was a matter of selecting poems with a somewhat "Aussie" flavour.That still left a considerable number to choose from and it wasn't easy.

One other stipulation was "Submissions should be able to be enjoyed by 'general readers' who don't necessarily read much poetry - as well as by those dedicated ones who do."


Poetry Selected

Eventually, after much deliberation, I chose three of my poems. The funny thing is these poems aren't even close to my most popular on Hub Pages judging by the number of their views and comments. Sometimes what an author likes and what there readers like are two different things.

Because of this fact I don't know if I made the right choice. I will just have to wait and see if they are chosen for publication. The three poems I chose are:

  • The Dying Land (Beyond a Reasonable Drought)
  • Wake in Fright (Counting Sheep)
  • The Boxing Troupe

I was about to ask for the opinion of any of my Hubber friends who have read these particular poems, but as I write this I received an email from 'Black Inc."

"These poems make strong points, John, especially the first one but the technical side of them still needs a bit more work, I feel. They're not sufficiently faultless for BAP 14, I'm afraid.

Best wishes

Scroll to Continue

Geoff "


Ok, so these first three poems were rejected but there were some positives. Geoff said, "these poems make strong points". They were just not technically strong enough. Fair enough, I can accept constructive criticism, so I decided to submit three more. I still have a few days until the 1st August deadline.

I browsed through my poetry once more and selected:

  • Windows of Rainbows
  • Grandpa's Chair
  • Help Save This Good Life

This time I was confident at least one would be accepted. Well, I shouldn't have been! within minutes of sending the email I received one back from Black Inc. as follows:

"Hello again John

I fear these are not any more sophisticated technically. They tend to be too direct (too many abstract nouns) and there's a cliché or two scattered through them. e.g. 'The world in all its glory' and 'If you have to search for happiness

Through all the pain and grief'.

All the best..."


If At First You Don't Succeed...Ask for Help!

Well if I have any character trait I'm proud of it's that I am competitive, and not a quitter. I still have six more days before the deadline and I am determined to keep submitting poems until then. Geoff at Black Inc. will probably be sick of the sight of emails from me, but hey, I have to give it my best shot even if every poem is rejected. At least they are being read by a publisher.

So, now is where I need some assistance. If any of my Hubber friends are reading this and have read any poem of mine that they particularly like, please let me know. I need your help in selecting three more poems to submit for inclusion in "The Best Australian Poems 2013".

If you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below, thanks.

My Third Attempt

After reading through my wonderful followers comments I decided on these three poems for my third submission:

  • My Friend the Oak
  • When the World Explodes
  • The Last Supper of Judah

Unless there are specific requirements or particular topic specified for submission it is difficult to choose poems for competitions.


Final Update on Submissions to Black Inc.

Well, it seems I have submitted my last poems for 'The Best Australian Poems 2013". I think it's clear from the following email from Geoff at Black Inc. that the last three weren't good enough either and he wasn't interested in receiving any more from me.

"The BAP 14 poems have to be faultless, John, within their own terms and both of these have troubles within the first couple of stanzas. There's nothing wrong with the subject matter and at a reading people might well relate to them, overlooking the awkwardnesses. I think that's about it for this year anyway. Thanks for sending them in.

Best wishes Geoff"

If nothing else with was a learning experience for me and I will direct my efforts to other competitions and magazines, eBooks etc. Maybe when I have polished up on my technique and fundamentals I will resubmit poems in future years for "Best Australian Poems." Look out Black Inc., you haven't seen the last of me.

(please feel free to do complete the polls and leave me comments. Your advice and recommendations will still be helpful, as will constructive criticism of my poetry.)

The Twelfth Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize

I came across this poetry competition that I can't enter but one of the other fine poets among you may wish to. Details follow:

The Twelfth Annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize for the winning book-length manuscript by a poet residing in the Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NJ, NY, WVA, NC and District of Columbia) will consist of $500, two cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer*, manuscript publication by Broadkill River Press, and 10 copies of the book (in lieu of royalties).

Manuscripts must be received by midnight, September 1 (Labor Day).

Even though I am not eligible to enter this contest the name "Dogfish Head" jumped out at me. I had just recently written a limerick in my hub "Lessons for Life Through Limericks" which really suited the name of this place, The Dogfish Head Restaurant and Brew Pub.

"I knew a young lady from Parkes

who was terribly frightened of sharks,

but she'd swim in the sea

with dogfish you see.

She thought that they'd warn her with barks."

Cutting a long story short, I emailed the co-ordinator of the contest and offered her the use of this limerick to use however she saw fit. I received this lovely email in return.

"Hi, John -

Love the limerick. And I'm thinking that I might use it at the celebration for the winner of this year's contest. We always have a presentation party at Dogfish Head Restaurant & Brew Pub and your limerick seems just the thing to recite before the presentation. Thanks!


* I may not be able to enter the competition, but I feel the acceptance of this limerick to recite before the presentation of the winning poetry collection at the party is a success.


Ego Boost

A friend and fellow hubber Billrrr suggested I check out a site called 'fiverr' where you can advertise various services and your skills for $5.00 per gig.

Well, I did as he suggested and actually signed up, advertising to write a poem on any topic for special occasions etc. I had a booking immediately for a poem, but not just a poem..but to actually write a poem to be used as the rhyming text for a children's picture book.

Because you could only charge $5.00 per gig he agreed to pay $5 per four line stanza (one stanza per page). Not only that but I will get a percentage of each book sold. He loved the finished poem and has already approached a commercial digital art studio to illustrate the book. He has another idea for the next book as soon as this one is up and running and wants me to provide the rhyming text for it as well.

I am stoked, and my ego received a welcome boost after the previous rejections mentioned in this hub. Thanks again to Billrrr.


Another Poetry Contest

I since submitted some poetry to the Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, and received this wonderful acceptance email:

"Dear John,

Thank you so much for submitting your work for The Jane Lumley Prize. We are truly humbled by the faith that you have placed in us, and we promise that your work will receive our best attention. We are so excited to go through it!

We write this email to you to inform you about a few things pertaining to the contest. We plan to notify all the participants about the status of their submission by 3rd December. However, we will officially announce the winner, finalists and the honorable mentions on 5th December.

The contest will yield one winner, two finalists and seven honorable mentions. Please note that if you win the competition, you will be rewarded a cash prize of $300 via Paypal within a week of declaration of the results. Your poem will also be converted into a broadside and sent to you, along with a certificate. If you are a finalist, you will receive a broadside of your poem and a certificate that will be sent to you by post. Please note that the broadsides and certificates will be mailed to you by the end of January. Your poems will also find publication in the January issue of Hermeneutic Chaos.

If you are an honorable mention, we would love to publish your poem in the January issue too. However you are most welcome to withdraw your poem and submit it somewhere else mentioning its achievement in The Jane Lumley Prize. If you choose to publish your poem with us, we will make a broadside of your poem which will be made available for download in a PDF format, along with those of the winner and the finalists, in January.

Thanks again for participating, and all the best!

Warmest Wishes,
Shinjini Bhattacharjee
Editor-in-Chief "

This is an encouraging email that, unlike Black Inc., actually sounds like the publishers welcome your submissions. Although it doesn't guarantee I will win the competition or have my poetry published it is written in a kind and welcoming way which makes you feel like your efforts are appreciated.


Persistence Pays Off

Sometimes the writing you think your best chance at being accepted for publication, unfortunately, is not seen with the same eyes by publishers.

As you can see from this article I have persisted in submitting my poetry to competitions and publishers in the hope of being discovered and published. Apart from having one poem accepted for (unpaid) publication in an anthology about sex trafficking and being hired to write the text for two childrens' books I haven't had a lot of success to brag about.

Now something has happened that has made me reconsider where my focus is in regard to my writing. I submitted one of my poems "Counting Sheep" and a short story "Just a Humble Hero" for consideration for inclusion in: We Go On – A Veteran’s Anthology for Charity. Well I received an email congratulating me that my short story had been accepted for publication and subsequently sent a non-exclusive contract and payment. I will also receive a free copy of the anthology when published.

The poem wasn't successful. So although poetry remains my first love, perhaps I now have to concentrate my efforts more towards submitting short stories for publication. The point is though..keep persisting and you will succeed eventually even if it is in a different area than you expect.

© 2014 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 29, 2020:

Hi Lora, thanks for checking this article out. I hope this was helpful to you.

Lora Hollings on January 29, 2020:

Great article John for all aspiring writers. I will have to check out some of these writing contests and publications. Thanks much for sharing these venues and your invaluable experience. You are so right. Persistence pays off especially in writing! Thanks for sharing.

Mahi Hossain from Dhaka on October 19, 2018:

No problem my friend. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 19, 2018:

Thank you Mahi. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

Mahi Hossain from Dhaka on October 18, 2018:

Nice article for aspiring writers!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 24, 2014:

You are very kind Bobbi. Oh I'll keep on writing don't worry, and whatever will be, will be. Thanks for reading. You have a great week too.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on September 24, 2014:


I loved Grandpa's Chair and you follow your heart. Just keep writing poems and short stories like the Avon one and one day the guy who turned your poems down will want your autograph.

You cannot keep talent hidden. Have a great Aussie week.

Bobbi Purvis

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2014:

Thank you for reading this motherofnations and your fine comment. I didn't always have this confidence and motivation. For years I didn't think my work good enough and had it filed away for only some family members to see. Hub Pages has given me the opportunity to practice my craft more and the confidence to start trying to promote it. God bless you too.

mothersofnations on August 29, 2014:

Another very encouraging article. You're very confident & persistent - admirable qualities. It's easy to see you have more than just the potential to succeed. I'm grateful you've chosen to share your experiences with us. Motivation! :)

I wish you the very best. God bless you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2014:

I will never stop Wayne :) thanks for the advice. Yes I check the writer's market and have submitted stuff to 'Australian' friendly publishers and competitions.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2014:

Thank you DealForALiving for reading this and your congratulations. Please do go ahead and submit your writing for contests and publications. Here is a link that may be helpful:

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2014:

Hi Audrey, thanks for your advice. Yes I have joined a couple of poetry critique groups on Google+ and the Internet and it is a reality check. Fellow Hubbers here on HP tend to be very generous with their comments which is wonderful, but people who don't know you personally read your work they are free to be more critical. I think you need both for a good balance.

Wayne Barrett from Clearwater Florida on August 28, 2014:

Keep working it my friend. If you haven't already, you might want to browse the Writers Market. It's a great resource.

Nick Deal from Earth on August 28, 2014:

Congratulations Jodah and thanks for sharing this. I've thought about sending my works for contests and publications so it was a good read.

Audrey Howitt from California on August 28, 2014:

Hi John. Glad to hear that you are submitting. I too hate the rejections. But my work has gotten better because of them. I hope you hang in there--join a poetry critique group--it helps

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 16, 2014:

Thanks for reading and your sound advice Tolovaj. It does seem editors do not like cliches, and I guess they are all looking for different things. As you say at least I received feedback. I won't give up.

Tolovaj on August 15, 2014:

I don't know a lot about poetry, but I submitted many radio plays, essays and short stories for different contests. I won some of them and I didn't even qualify in top ten percent in others, but, as you said, it is important to keep moving. Your experience with the editor is very good one, because most of them don't answer and I know several who even don't read submitted texts.

If you want my tip, I'd try to improve things Geoff pointed out - avoiding cliches and improving technical staff, but don't neglect your strongest characteristics. And never give up!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 12, 2014:

Thanks Kevin.

The Examiner-1 on August 12, 2014:

I hope that you win! Good luck.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 12, 2014:

Hi Kevin, I submitted nine poems in total. You could only submit three at a time, but the final email I received from Black Inc said they only selected "faultless" poetry, and mine didn't meet that criteria. They said the subject matter was good but my poetry was awkward. They suggested, not too subtly, that I had submitted enough for this year.

I have entered "Help Me Doctor..I Think I Have a Book Inside"in a different Humorous Poetry contest. So see how that goes.

The Examiner-1 on August 12, 2014:

Have you reentered any yet John?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 12, 2014:

Thanks Eric, I do. They have to either like it or hate it. I can't help it if certain publishers are narrow's their

Eric Wayne Flynn from Providence, Rhode Island on August 11, 2014:

Write for you John, always write for you. Love your persistence. I do admire it.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 04, 2014:

Thanks so much teaches, it didn't pay off for me this time but it was a learning experience, and I have plenty of other contests and publications to submit writing to.

Dianna Mendez on August 04, 2014:

Your persistence is inspiring, Jodah. I believe your advice to ask for help is so important. We sometimes feel that we are alone and that causes us to quit. Great advice in this article for all writers.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 31, 2014:

Hi Kim, glad you found this hub eventually. Also that my limericks stay with you and make you happy. I was stoked that they liked the one I sent them. You are awesome too, thanks for the vote up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 31, 2014:

Thanks for reading, voting up and sharing Eddy. Blessings.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on July 31, 2014:


Not sure how this one got passed me, but glad I found it eventually. The entire time I kept thinking about your limericks and how much I enjoy them so I am glad to see that you got creative and got a limerick noticed all the same. Great hub with great information. Voted UP and Awesome--just like you.



Eiddwen from Wales on July 31, 2014:

A great hub John which I know will help many.

Voted up and shared.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 30, 2014:

Thanks for reading and sharing your own story Jamie. I am in the same boat, trying to go through and organise my poems into some sort of order and document that I can eventually publish. You are right, it is a daunting and scary task. Until I am at that stage I,have been entering one or two in contests and submitting for anthologies. Good luck with yours.

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on July 30, 2014:

Jodah, I have always been so scared of publication and taking the next step in my writing. But I finally took the first step, told my wife, (joking) bought a Poets Market at Barnes and Nobles and began following the instructions the book gave. The first part was organizing all my poems, so that is what I am doing now. The problem is I don't know what is good or not and looking over all these poems is kinda depressing. But I will overcome and publish I have faith. I will keep you updated. Good luck on your journey. Jamie

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 29, 2014:

Thanks for your comment Mike. Yes I agree that people on here can sometimes be too kind when your work doesn't always deserve it. If I don't really like a hub I prefer not to comment rather than leave a negative comment, but that doesn't really help a writer improve does it? The real world is not so kind.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 29, 2014:

Hello Jodah. I am afraid I cannot be of any help. I do feel that the writers here at hubpages get spoiled. As a rule are writing is accepted and applauded, our friends gather and tell us how well we are doing and that is part of what makes it a great place. It does not however get us prepared for the world of writing outside hubpages.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 29, 2014:

Hi Dana, thanks for reading and your kind comment. Hey, I too was a member of Fan Story for a few months. I had a couple of semi-harsh criticism about one poem The Mermaid's Song, but most were positive. I was runner up in three contests there. I just got sick of paying to be a member there more than what I was making on Hub I did like the competitions and prompts though.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 29, 2014:

Thanks ologsinquito. Entering competitions and submitting work for publishing isn't everyone's cup of tea, especially if you can't handle rejection.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 29, 2014:

Jodah: One of my fondest moments is when I wrote for this site called fanstory and I entered a poem of mine and this one commenter said too me: "Your style of writing will never make it on this site". Well they had a poetry contest and I entered my poem "broken" and won. Personally I thought grandpah's chair would have been a good one but hey, I love all of your work asking me too choose is like asking me to eat just one lay's potato chip. Persistence is the key. You keep trying, eventually you'll strike gold...Good luck!

ologsinquito from USA on July 29, 2014:

I've never done this and probably don't plan to, but it's good for people to know what to do, if they've been considering doing this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 29, 2014:

Thanks Flourish, I have a few more arrows for my bow, but maybe my best idea is to publish my own book. We'll see. I'm not giving up, that's for sure, and not changing my style.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 28, 2014:

My favorite was "Book Inside." Don't give up. (I know you won't.). Maybe that particular anthology isn't for you. I don't know anything about it. Some poetry collections can be so over ones head that they leave you wondering what? You have a more direct, tongue in cheek or whimsical style, and you need to decide whether you want to change it to be accepted in an anthology or merely tweak your mechanics and embrace who you are, full steam ahead, to hell with anthologies.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 28, 2014:

Thanks for the support Gypsie. I agree with you and think some publishers seem to have tunnel vision as far as creativity is concerned. Congratulations on your poem being accepted for an anthology. I have had one selected before but it was unpaid, though for a good cause..awareness and abolition of sex slavery. I don't mind having my work rejected if they give a valid reason..other than it isn't flawless or perfect.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 28, 2014:

It's good to see a poet who knows he's creative and he's good and doesn't give up. I think they made a mistake not accepting your poems. I wish you lots of luck in your next endeavor. You know there is one thing I'll never understand about these contests and that is how much the people looking over the poetry know about talent. A long time ago I wrote up a poem for a contest and I was doubtful as to how good it was. However I figured they'll probably reject it but will give me some good criticism and the next time I'll know better. Go figure they accepted that poem and it wound up in an anthology. To this day when I reread that poem I still wonder why they chose it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 28, 2014:

Thank you Genna for your kind advice. I am a member of a couple of other poetry oriented sites. I do post poetry there and have won 'poem of the week' twice at one and been runner up. I enjoy the community here at Hub Pages and don't intend to leave.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 28, 2014:

By the way, by mentioning these sites (a couple of them are amazing); I’m not suggesting that you leave HP. DON’T. I just think you might find these helpful.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 28, 2014:

Hi John…

I’ve only ever entered one contest and it was a national contest for poetry some time ago. (It was just before I took a long sabbatical from creative writing, but this had nothing to do with the contest.) It won honorable mention along with some others and was published, which surprised me because it was a rhyming poem and I didn’t think this style of poetry was very popular. I don’t know the rules of the road for writing various forms of poetry in terms of what contest mavens look for. But tastes and criteria vary, and that doesn’t mean your poetry isn’t good – it is. (I liked Come the Sentinel.) I want to cheer you on in your determination to stay with it, John. That’s what it’s all about! Don’t give up. Your style won’t change, but will evolve. There are a few writing sites on the Net that are dedicated, solely, to writing poetry, with some very talented poets as members. You might find these helpful. Good luck and please don’t give up!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 28, 2014:

Thank you for your encouraging words Chitrangada. I agree. freedom of expression is the whole point of poetry and creative writing. Too many rules and restrictions spoil the whole process and finished work.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 28, 2014:

Thank you jodah, for sharing your experience with everyone!

This will definitely help others, who want to get their creative work published.

I find all your poems very expressive with deep meanings having a great message. It is difficult to choose one of them.

In any case, I do not like edits in creative writing. Then the creative thoughts are restricted. A poet should have freedom to express in his own style and thoughts.

Good luck to you and may you succeed in your efforts!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 28, 2014:

I am glad you found this helpful prasetio30. Thank you for reading this hub.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on July 28, 2014:

Very informative hub. You have great tips. Thanks for sharing with us. I learn much from you. Voted up!


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 27, 2014:

Thank you Jean for taking the time to read this hub and some of my others after reading my comment in the forum. I really appreciate you sharing your own experience and advice. I think you are right when you say often it is who you know and not the quality of your work. I don't think I have ever read a 'faultless' or 'perfect poem'. The reason I like to write poetry is that it offers more freedom of expression and as far as I know most rules aren't set in stone. I made an enquiry with Xlibris myself, just asking for publishing prices and they have been hounding me ever since to get me to publish with them, but want about $600 to do so. I have some poetry entered in other contests, so I'll see how those go. Thanks for your encouragement. I'll check out your hubs too.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on July 27, 2014:

Hello Jodah,

I saw you in the forums. I think for the publisher to tell you work has to be "faultless" is not true. Poetry is just not that structured. Contests are hard to win, I used to enter a lot of them here, and was often surprised that things I thought were not that good were winners. I got the feeling you had to be a "pet" of one or more of the administrators.

I finally self published a book on Tarot poetry, thinking it was a unique way of learning the meanings of the cards for beginning readers. Although lately a new clairvoyant and intuitive group I've been meeting at a school called the Healing Center like the book, it didn't sell well. Since most of these people are well versed in metaphysical disciplines, at least they understand it.

But the publisher, Xlibris, priced my book so high it's not worth it for me to pay for too many copies to sell it. I couldn't get them to negotiate a better price, except for the e-book. I got so many rejections, even from Llewellyn. And Poetry isn't really my thing, I teach Astrology and lately am working with meditation and clairvoyance. I have a blog that gets about 700 or so viewers a day, and even though, nobody clicks the ads anymore, and I've made very little money on it, except for tarot and astrology readings.

You just have to keep trying, I read some of your poems and really like them. I think it's often who you know, people are afraid to take a chance on someone new. I have had people write me who noticed some of my work on HP here, but usually they want me to put links to their sites in my work, which would violate the TOS here anyway. None of the deals were advantageous to me. Good luck, and I think your time will come.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 27, 2014:

Thanks for that Insightful and supportive comment Audrey. You are correct, I am protective towards my poems like I would be my children. Weird isn't it. When they are rejected it feels like a personal attack. Thanks for sharing that about Beethoven, it's inspirational. I guess I am just a rule breaker like him. I know I still have a bit to learn but my poetry is really where I want it right now and I doubt it will change much in the future. As long as people keep enjoying what I write I feel successful. It's not all about money.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 27, 2014:

Yes you are right Colleen, newspaper editors are more accommodating . I have have had about 8 or 9 poems and articles published in newspapers, and one published in an ebook about child sex slavery by Poets For Freedom. I didn't mention them because they were non-paying, but yes they still count towards your portfolio.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 27, 2014:

Jodah - I am proud of you! You are nothing if not persistent. Perseverance doesn't demand more than we have, but all that we have.

Your poems reveal talent. Each one is your child. We learn how to be a great parent by loving our role as a parent. As you continue to use your love of writing poetry as your catalyst for inspiration, it will all come together.

How would you feel if someone rejected your child? You would probably defend your child. So it is with your poetry. I'm not saying that you shouldn't learn all you can about the technique of writing poetry - not at all. And it can be helpful to listen to the opinion of others. But in the end, follow your heart.

The musical style of the great composer 'Beethoven' was rejected by the masses and authorities of his time. His music was different and some of the "rules" were broken.

He thumbed his nose at the mountain of rejections and composed as he pleased. He had no doubt that he was inspired by God. The rest is history.

Trust your heart. - Audrey

Ann Carr from SW England on July 27, 2014:

I agree with Colleen; start locally and build up. Then you have a portfolio to show to anyone else.


Colleen Swan from County Durham on July 27, 2014:

I used to enter loads of competitions, but alas no wins. Surprisingly I submitted several short poems to editors of local and regional newspapers and many were published. I think newspaper editors like to have something small to fill a space.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 27, 2014:

Thanks Ann, I'll check it out. Yes I have seen The Writer's Market on Bill's hubs. I will let you know what happens.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 27, 2014:

Glad to have cheered you up!

Just had a thought - I don't know any specific national publishers who would be good for you to try but I do know that books such as 'The Writers and Artists Yearbook' have a comprehesive list of publishers. That's the British one and I think the American one is 'The Writers Market' or something similar - billybuc often has it advertised on his hubs so check with him. I think that's the best and longest list of publishers that exist for writers of any genre.

Best of luck! Let us know how you get on.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 27, 2014:

Yes Marie, I have experimented with haiku already:

I also think I have practiced getting more "punch" with my short 'micro-poems' and 'limericks'. I have already noticed that my style has evolved too but I can't see myself ever becoming a traditionalist as far as poetry is concerned. I just need to find a publishing house who can look outside the box. Thanks for the advice especially gearing a poem about the "parallel commonalities" of two unlike things. That could be an interesting project.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on July 27, 2014:

Your style will evolve, Jodah, perhaps without you realizing that it has. One theme with which you can experiment is to compare two unlike things and gear the poem around parallel commonalities. And, if you've ever experimented with haiku, you'll develop a knack for getting the most "punch" for your words while creating a striking image for your longer poems.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 27, 2014:

Hey Ann, I really needed to hear that. The ego took a slight hit with the fairly blunt rejection I got from Geoff. I'd really like to read the poetry that makes it into the anthology "Best Australian Poetry 2013." I'm very interested in seeing the "perfect" poetry he mentions.

I've been writing 'my way' for so long, I don't think I could change if I wanted to... :) Thanks for your encouragement. I will try others.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 27, 2014:

I like all your poetry, John. Two Left Feet, The Body in the Forest and Help me doctor, I think I have a Book Inside are ones I particularly liked. However, I think other publishers would not be so 'traditional' in their demands, so I'm sure it's worth persevering with other poetry 'houses'. It's a personal style and I don't think you should change your style on demand.

Poetry is a personal expression of a personal viewpoint; that can't be altered on a whim.

Keep writing in your own way; it's great and we all enjoy it. Geoff doesn't know what he's missing!


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2014:

They do

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2014:

Yes Will that doesn't surprise me. It seems that people like poetry but publishers, Google and site like HP don't realise that. Thanks.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2014:

It has certainly been an eye opener for me Monis Mas. Thanks for the well wishes.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2014:

Thank you DDE, I thought it may be helpful to share my experience. It is a very competitive business.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2014:

Thanks Alicia for your encouragement. I will keep trying.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on July 26, 2014:

Folks just like you, Will! ;-)

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on July 26, 2014:

People love poetry.

I'm a short story writer, not a poet, but I've made a couple lame attempts and to my everlasting astonishment, they have been read more than my short stories!

Best of luck!

Agnes on July 26, 2014:

What a journey. I am glad you didn't get discouraged! The best of luck John!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 26, 2014:

Great hub! Writing to get published has always been a competitve issue all my best to you

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 26, 2014:

I admire your persistence, Jodah. Sharing your experience makes this a very useful hub for other writers. Good luck with trying to get published. I'm sure you'll succeed eventually!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2014:

Thanks Frank. I knew your stories would have done well. Yes it was open to anyone, published poets and all, so I guess the competition must be tight. I'll try elsewhere for more practice. I have had one poem accepted for publishing in another eBook..."Follow Me". Thanks for the encouragement.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 26, 2014:

the comp must be tight.. but I feel you have publishing creativity.. I think the body in the forest will stand out... good luck my creative friend :)... entering in these types of contests et al is fun and challenging.. I won top three and four in a Twilight Zone Magazine.. that was long ago, but fun.. I haven' entered since... because nowadays the comp is tight..

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Hi Faith, thank you for the wonderful comment and advice. At least I am getting feedback from a publisher which is helpful and I take their advice on board to improve my future poetry. I considered "A Walk in the Bush" and maybe "R.I.P Motorcycle Gangs" as it is topical here at the moment. I am glad those links are helpful to you and encourage you to enter some of the contests.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 25, 2014:

Oh, I know you are not a quitter, John, and it is just about submitting to their guidelines. I went back and went through some of your poems and tried to locate those related to Australia. I found:

* A Walk in the Bush

*The one about the Motorcycle gangs

*Spring and Autumn Rain

All of your poems are excellent no matter what.

You are right about authors, as they do tend to like different pieces of their work than their readers for sure.

I just noticed your comment above mine. If they are looking for serious poetry, and you do not think any of these here on HP will fit their criteria, you could always write new poetry or dig up some past poetry that you have not published here ... just a thought?

I had a very short poem published in a book, after I entered a poetry contest, but it was one of those where they published different authors and if you wanted a copy of the book, you paid them : ). I was invited out to Las Vegas to a poetry convention but I was unable to attend. It would have been interesting, possibly.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and posting the links to the site. It inspires me to try to enter something.

I am looking forward to reading about when they accept your poem(s).

Blessings and have a great weekend ahead.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks Randy, all good. I wish I could submit some of my limericks but unfortunately I don't think they would consider them serious poetry.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on July 25, 2014:

Like Bill, I don't know beans about poetry, but I wish you well in your endeavors, John. I'm strictly a limerick fan when it comes to verse. :)

Nell Rose from England on July 25, 2014:

I think its the same with books, I have often sat there and said, What? how the hell did that awful boring book win the Booker Prize? For example! I read one a while ago, can't even remember the name of it as I fell asleep every time I read a word in it, and it got top prize! its beyond me, I think they all go for the pretentious nonsense and totally ignore talent!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks Nell, it is people like you I write for who appreciate my work. I don't really care enough about the technical side for my poetry to be classed as classically perfect. If that's all they are looking for, they won't get it from me. Maybe 'tree poems are what they want...I'll give them 'My Friend the Oak".

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Yes Eric, we all have to start somewhere and just keep trying and believing.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks for reading Homeplace, appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks Audrey. You are kind. I don't know either, I chose ones for the second submission that I thought technically sound but they still didn't pass muster. Maybe I should submit 'Badland's Stampede' lol.

Nell Rose from England on July 25, 2014:

Hiya, I think the trouble is that some of these people who have rejected your stuff are so darn pernickity, is that how its spelled? lol! we could love some, they would hate them. I wrote a poem about a tree, years ago and sent it off, and luckily got it put in an anthology, not sure what happened there, probably just luck, but it obviously had that something, since then nothing, zilch nadda! Good luck, I am sure you will be successful.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks Graham, quite a few people like 'Grandpa's Chair', but unfortunately the publishers don' back to the drawing board.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

I appreciate your comment. Thanks for reading my poems and your suggestions too. I am not a technical poet but write mainly about issues I feel are important and to entertain so if they are looking for technically perfect poetry I may never make it. I think publishers need to see a wide collection of my work to understand where I am coming from. I will keep trying.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks for the helpful advice Rachael. The poll is a good idea, and I'll have to go through my poems to try and find some "cliché" free ones lol.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks for reading Thandi. Yes persistence is the key. I will choose more

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 25, 2014:

Just the beginning I believe.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on July 25, 2014:

Useful. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 25, 2014:

Hi Jodah. Real proud of you for entering contests. I don't quite understand what they mean by technical errors. Might be the structure of the poem, except that I think your poetry is outstanding. Good luck in all these endeavors. Blessings. Audrey. You are a winner.

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on July 25, 2014:

Hi Jodah. I will leave the selection to you. I enjoyed Grandpa's Chair and others. I hope you satisfy their requirements.


Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on July 25, 2014:

Hey jodah ! :). I can't tell you how many times I have been rejected. Keep trucking through, I'm proud of you for taking steps towards something you want very badly. I will read your work and give you my thoughts soon :). Hang in there. P.S writing is like art: some like it and some just will never get it.

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on July 25, 2014:

Persistence is key! I hope you get over the difficulty of making a choice in your selection cos that's what I have been battling here. Still looking for a favourite of mine from your poems. No matter, I wish you a rocking with style. Best of lucks. :)

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on July 25, 2014:


Since you have already submitted 6 and so we don't have to re-read your hub to recall which 6 they were about a suggestion?

Go through the poems you favor the most (that come within their guidelines of non-cliches, etc.) and put up some polls. I know you picked out 3 poems. but...

Put 3 more poem choices in each poll with an introductory text capsule to each poll, showing the link where we can access the poem easily to go read it.

Be open to suggestion that if a line or two might have to be changed, to come in line with what they are looking for in their poetry guidelines.

Let's see if we can't help you find at least 6 more to submit so that hopefully they will take 3 out of the 6 you offer.

What do you say?

PS I loved Grandpa's Chair. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thanks Kevin, I like the three you chose. I have entered "Help Me Doctor, I Think I Have a Book Inside" in a humorous poetry competition, yet to be judged. Thanks for helping.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thank you Ruby, that's two votes for The Body in the Forest, Lulu and the Archangel, and My Friend the Oak. Glad you like Two Left Feet and Just a Humble Hero(but it's not a poem, Just a Tramp is the poetry version) Thanks for taking the time to comment and your well wishes. Much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 25, 2014:

Thank you Marie, I appreciate your encouragement.

I know publishers can't accept every poem especially if they are looking for a certain thing. The comment made by this publisher that poems submitted needed to try to appeal to general readers who normally wouldn't read poetry was what gave me hope mine may be suitable as a few hubbers have told me they didn't like poetry until they read mine. Anyway I'll keep trying.

The Examiner-1 on July 25, 2014:

Hi John,

I would have voted in the poll if there had been plain "No", or, "No, I do not feel good enough".

I chose the 3 that I felt were good for you to enter - My Friend the Oak, Lulu and the Archangel, Help Me Doctor, I Think I Have A Book Inside. I also shared this.


Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 25, 2014:

John i think you are a very talented poet. I especially liked these- The body in the forest-Just a humble hero- Lulu and the Archangel- and my favorite, My two left feet. I know you are no quitter, so go for it again. Good luck.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on July 25, 2014:

I've done poems for Poetry World, Jodah, and have received certificates, but never payment. For some reason, I don't keep an anthology; rather, my poems just float around out there somewhere in the universe. Publishers take what they can use, so a rejection doesn't necessarily mean your poetry isn't good--it just didn't fit into the publisher's format or plan.

Related Articles