While you are in a period of non-writing, continue your publishing research. Once you have a complete manuscript, you will be thankful that some of this work is done.
Fiction and non-fiction authors usually have more luck procuring agents than poets publishing their first books. As I’ve written in earlier posts, it is important to publish a number of shorter pieces (poems, short stories, articles, etc.) before submitting your full manuscript to an agent or publisher.
Here are some resources to help you start researching the best outlets for your full manuscript:
Council of Literary Magazines and Presses
Poets & Writer’s Magazine’s list of Small Presses
The Writer’s Market series is a wonderful one for guides on agents, publishing opportunities and more. There is a Guide to Literary Agents, Poet’s Market, etc. You can search for them on Amazon.
Poets often publish their first book through book publishing contests. Like literary magazine contests, these contests often come with a fee (up to $35.00.) Beware of contests that cost more or require you to pay to have your work published. Research the contests and publishers before sending in your check.
Some presses have open reading periods. This is when they will read your manuscript or sections of your manuscript without a fee.
As you complete this research, keep clear notes for yourself. List the presses that look interesting (perhaps they have an open submissions period or have published authors that you identify with) and make a calendar of submission periods. Include the websites on your list, join mailing lists and read books that the various presses have published.
Good luck and please share other resources that you've found helpful.