For some poets, self-publishing is the best alternative. When I was in college, publishers who focused on writers who wanted to publish their own work were known as "vanity presses." But that has changed in the more recent decades.
Actually, there have always been self-published writers. If you're considering self-publishing, maybe you should consider the club you're joining/ You may know that Walt Whitman self-published Leaves of Grass.
For many writers, self-publishing that first book is the way to get your name and work infront of readers - and publishers.
Carl Sandburg self-published poems and essays with money from his college professor and later he began selling to Poetry magazine.
Here are some others:
- T.S. Eliot paid for the publication of his first book.
- Oscar Wilde self-published a book of poetry in 1881.
- British poet Alexander Pope ("The Rape of the Lock") also paid for the publication of his first book.
- Edgar Allen Poe self-published some of his writings.
- Another poet who paid for his first book to be published is English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning put up the money for her first book.
I like that E. E. Cummings self-published his volume of poetry titled No Thanks.
His mother gave him the money to have it published.
On the half-title page, he listed the 13 publishers that had rejected the book.