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Once a Book Is Printed, How Can I Distribute It?

        By "distribute" you probably mean sell, and it may be naive to think you can sell even a single copy.  Poetry must rank right next to zucchini as the most over-produced commodity in the world at least in terms of sales (though perhaps none of us has enough poetry in his life).  I know I buy very little modern poetry, and I am a professional in the field.  Nor have I bought most of the poetry I have learned from and loved in the past:  I read it in school, in the library, or I got free copies for one reason or another.  Most of the poetry sold in the United States is in textbooks, assigned for college reading.  Many who buy poetry at all buy anthologies, not works by individual writers.  If I had the money I'd like to attach a $5 bill to each of my books as an inducement for others to read it.  Poetry is a buyer's market:  most of us are a lot more eager to have other people read our poetry than they are to read it, so maybe we should pay them to do so.

        If you paint pictures or do embroidery or weave baskets, you probably don't expect to sell your products and should probably not expect to sell your poetry, either.  The best way to distribute it is to give it to your family and friends.  But let's consider some of the more commercial possibilities.

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