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formatting poetry collection

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B.J. Lee

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My collection is finally complete and I'm ready to begin subbing it. It has 30 poems. I've read in some places to single space the poems and in other places to double space them. I read somewhere to center the poems but I don't agree with that advice.

Also, should I put a header on each page with the my name/name of book and page # just like I do when I submit pbs? Thanks for any help.

bj
#1 - July 17, 2009, 11:03 PM

aniprof

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I'd be interested in hearing responses to this thread as well.
#2 - July 18, 2009, 06:23 AM

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I'd put the header on each page, B.J.

I would not center.

I would use either double or 1 1/2 spacing.

Good luck!
#3 - July 18, 2009, 07:14 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

jeanne k

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I don't have an answer, but CONGRATULATIONS on finishing your collection and GOOD LUCK!
#4 - July 18, 2009, 08:25 AM

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If your poems were longer, I'd say go for single space, but all of the ones I've seen easily fit on one page. Go for the easier readability factor.

But yes, do include the header .. because the purpose of that is to be able to easily put the manuscript back together should the pages get separated .. so I think a header should be included on any submission, regardless of the genre.

I'm not subbing a poetry collection .. although I've entered partials in contests .. .and I'm currently subbing a verse novel, and this is the way I format. Well... for the free verse I single space because many of the poems are a full page or more.
#5 - July 18, 2009, 09:32 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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Hi BJ,

When Jen and I formatted our anthology, it was double-spaced, aligned left, and included a header.  I think headers are important because, as Lillian said, should your pages get separated, the editor can put your manuscript back together.  Our header was simply the title/our last names on the left, and the page number on the right.

Good luck!

Laura
#6 - July 18, 2009, 12:11 PM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
www.LauraWynkoop.com

Do you do one per poem per page, or whatever fits?


buglady
#7 - July 19, 2009, 12:56 PM

B.J. Lee

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Thanks everyone with all your help on this. Most of the 30 poems are one-pagers. I have maybe
3 -4 two-pagers. I've kept these double-spaced as well, not wanting to change the format, but if I single-spaced those 3-4 poems, they'd definitely fit on one page. Whatdoyathink? Keep true to double-spaced format throughout?

Also, my husband is confusing me (he writes for adults). He insists I have a title page. I've never submitted a complete ms before. It seems to make sense to put in a title page because I can put all my contact info there, then my Table of Contents, then the first poem can just start at the top w/o putting my contact info on it (except for the header, of course). BTW, I'm going to first sub it to Wordsong because they indicate in their guidelines that they like "multiple forms" which I have.
If any of you who have seen a # of my poems in my 2 crit groups can think of a more "fitting" house, please let me know.  Thanks BJ
#8 - July 19, 2009, 11:09 PM

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I'm for the title page. B.J. don't get yourself too worked up over this. Make it neat, professional, and easy to read, and you'll be fine. Do follow any specific guidelines if they are given .. but otherwise, just make it look nice and easy to read.
#9 - July 20, 2009, 05:41 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

B.J. Lee

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Thanks Lill.

I just have one more question. I'm double spacing the whole thing right now cause most poems are only 1 page. However, I have about 4 two-pagers. Should I single space them to fit on one page or keep them double spaced? It probably doesn't matter than much but I'd like to hear what others do.
#10 - July 20, 2009, 09:29 AM

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I would keep the spacing consistent throughout the collection.

If you decide to go with single-space, double-space between stanzas. I don't think I've seen any of your two page long ones.

I think either way is fine .. just do it the same way throughout.
#11 - July 20, 2009, 11:09 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

B.J. Lee

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Lill - Okey-Dokey. Yeah, maybe 4 of them have one stanza pushed to the 2nd page because of the double spacing. I think when I posted them to the crit group, I single spaced them so they probably didn't look quite so long to you. Thanks for all the tips.  :typing
#12 - July 21, 2009, 12:13 AM

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Hi BJ,

I think you're fine if you have a few poems that spill onto the next page when double-spaced.  Most of our spooky poems fit on one page, but an occasional poem had one or two stanzas on the next page.  I don't think it's a big deal.  As long as the spacing is consistent, then it will look professional.

Laura
#13 - July 21, 2009, 12:17 AM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
www.LauraWynkoop.com

B.J. Lee

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Lill - also I've been meaning to tell you I love your avatar. Is that one of your children or you as a child? Adorable!

Thanks Jeanne, Wolfie and buglady for your help.
#14 - July 21, 2009, 12:18 AM

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That's me in 2nd grade. :)
#15 - July 21, 2009, 02:52 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

B.J. Lee

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Lill- I  thought it was probably you based on the style of dress. I remember dresses like that!  :smile
#16 - July 21, 2009, 10:37 PM

As I made the move from adult to children's poetry, it was hard for me to get used to double spacing poems.  It looked so weird to me, since the visual presentation of poems is so integral to the reading experience.  A sonnet just doesn't look like a sonnet when it's double spaced.  But as I've formatted more children's manuscripts, I'm getting used to the double space approach.  I still dislike it, though, in particular because it (more or less) doubles the number of pages of the manuscript. 

Someone asked if you can put more than one poem on a page.  I don't know the "official" answer, but I have several poems that are just four lines, and even a couple that are just two lines, and I put more than one on a page.   

Lil's advice is the most sensible.  Follow the guidelines, of course, but the main thing is to come up with a sensible, professional, tidy presentation of your work.  I've had my work rejected for any number of stated reasons, but no editor has ever mentioned bad formatting as a reason for not publishing my work. 
#17 - July 23, 2009, 08:38 AM

B.J. Lee

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Thanks Bob.  I agree with you that poems do look better single-spaced; however I can and will double-space them. And I agree with Lill as well that tidiness and consistency is the way to go.
#18 - July 23, 2009, 08:17 PM

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