Thinking of sending poems to HappenStance?

Unsolicited pamphlet submissions are almost never accepted here. Why? There are constantly too many publications in the pipeline already. If you are extremely keen to be published by HappenStance, it's best to ask for detailed feedback on a small amount of work and see where it gets you, but to get detailed feedback you'll need to subscribe. (If you are skint, choose online only subscription.) 

If you don't want to do this, or are an established poet not looking for a debut pamphlet, you're welcome to send a proposal, together with four poems, pasted into the body of an email, during the window months of July and December. The answer, unless we already have some kind of a fruitful connection, will almost certainly be No. 

There is just a chance, of course, that I will adore the work at first sight, and ask you to send more. The chance of this is higher than winning the lottery but lower than winning the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. 

You will normally need a record of publication in several good quality UK magazines before HappenStance will consider publishing you. Check out the reputable magazines page, but be aware it is far from comprehensive.

To find out about editorial preferences (if such things really exist), look in the HappenStance blog under the tag ‘Getting Your Poetry Published’, or take a look at the sample poems on the publication pages in the online shop. Or even better — buy a couple of pamphlets, or a book from the online shop.

Getting detailed feedback on poems
If you’re already a HappenStance subscriber, you can send up to 6 poems by snail mail, or even three by email (can be useful if you live outside the UK) twice a year. Email senders should paste the poems into the body of a message. These poems can be offered together with a proposal for a pamphlet publication or simply in order to get some feedback on the work: it’s up to you. 

But please don’t send poems before the reading month starts, and equally please, please don’t wait until the last two days of the month in question. If they arrive after the last day of the window, I will post them back to you unread. You think I am not hard-hearted? Over a thousand poems in a month, and a personal response to each poet, will harden anybody's heart.

Submission guidelines
Whether a subscriber or not, please follow the steps below:

  • Send the appropriate number of poems by snail mail (subscribers have the option of 3 by email) during the months of July or December.
  • A4 envelopes preferred.
  • Enclose an SAE big enough to return the work.
  • Send no more than the stipulated number of poems (see above). It doesn’t matter if they’ve been previously published, though please don't send a whole set of previously published poems, and not work currently available on your own website.
  • If poems are lengthy, go by number of pages rather than number of poems.
  • Please don’t staple or bind the poems together.
  • No need to include a contents list.
  • Include a note of where/if youve had poems published, either online or on paper, as well as a bit about yourself (no lengthy CV but a personal letter is much appreciated). 
  • It is always a good idea, with any publisher, to explain why you've decided to make an approach to them (as opposed to any other publisher).
  • No endorsements thank you, no matter who wrote them.

Please send poems typed or word processed in a size 12 font, single-spaced. Include your name and address discreetly on each page.

What’s next?
If you have a whole pamphlets-worth of poems, hold your horses. Or enter them for one of the many pamphlet competitions. We will ask to see more of your work in due course if the first few poems connect strongly. Remember preferences in poetry are subjective, and mainly it takes time to build a connection and sympathy with the way an individual works.

What if it’s not a debut pamphlet you're looking for?
See earlier paragraphs. HappenStance specialises in first pamphlet publications, so p
lease be realistic. This small press publishes 6-8 pamphlets a year. The schedule for 2017 is full, and so is most of 2018. The answer is more likely to be ‘no’, than ‘yes’, and this is not a reflection on your work. Do take a look at www.sphinxreview.co.uk for features or interviews about other pamphlet presses. You can also download a list of UK pamphlet publishers here.

On the plus side, your poems will receive a thoughtful reading, and 2019 is closer than you think. It's closer than we all think!

Paid Reading Service
We offer a paid service for poets requiring detailed editorial feedback, and some discussion of how best to further their aspirations. Please don’t confuse this with paid entry into being published by HappenStance. It is nothing to do with that

There isn’t time to offer the paid service to many people, so if you think it might be useful to you,  send an enquiry through the contact box or an email to nell at happenstancepress.com. The current rate for four hours of time (how this would be spent is discussed with each person) is inside the publications list, which you can download from the home page.

Alternatively, get hold of a copy of How (Not) to Get Your Poetry Published, which could save you a lot of pain, at the same time as sharing many of the unwritten rules of this frustrating business of getting poems published.

Address for submissions and enquiries:

Helena Nelson
21 Hatton Green

Fife KY7 4SD