1. I have an odd amount of pages in my manuscript. I actually go a little above or a little below most requirements.
2. I might automatically disqualify with some publications and presses because of one thing and one thing alone: I use identifying elements in some of the poems. An acrostic poem that spells out your name will usually do it.
3. There will be some places where I would want to submit both HSH and Late Night Feelings; very few allow multiple submissions.
As I sit and wonder if maybe I should go for a book length edition (already have a title and everything), I also consider why I am going to chapbooks and why I am willing to search for places that fit my manuscript rather than making my manuscript fit for presses.
When I decided to put a book together, I chose chapbooks because I wanted to take stock of my collection. I've written a lot of poems, but a lot of them are awful. Most of them are about love, but occasionally I write about my family or get a little political. To throw them all in one collection would mean that I am not thinking about telling a story or showing some sporadic (but related) progression. All it means is that I'm trying to have a book. There is a difference. Anyone can take writing from all over the place and put them in a book. They'll be able to say "This is my book."
But a writer wants to tell a story. A writer wants to tell a string of unique stories and show us what we all have in common. A hundred people can write stories about cheese. But fifty of those stories can be about American cheese. Most likely, unless you have the tremendous gift for words that makes your story of American cheese stand out, your story is going to sound like everyone else's.
That's where the writer and the ability to sketch out a plan for their story comes in. A writer will think about American cheese and all of the five W's (who, what, when, where, and why...and occasional how). The writer will also think about all the different ways you can tell a story about American cheese. American cheese could have a whole big adventure! One of those ways will click with the writer and then the writer will organize all that he or she has accordingly to tell the story. They don't think about rules for a contest. They just write with a vision. That vision includes format, style choices, and risks they feel make their story unique.
That's the approach I took when selecting poems for each of my manuscripts. I had a specific story I wanted to tell in each one, with a string of poems. None of the topics are new, but I took everything I had and made it work for me. So a manuscript that has my name hidden in it may disqualify me from many contests. But it tells my story. To eliminate one of those poems would change the scope of the story I want to tell. Sure, I would meet the requirements for submission, but if I'm not telling the whole story, isn't that just as useless?
Find places that will work with your work. Don't ever compromise the integrity of your manuscript unless it's absolutely necessary. Even if it means going through a slow, uphill battle because your name is all over it. Even if it means looking for months to find the place that will accept it as it is. That will take what you have to give and more. Don't do it!
Remember that you write for yourself and the world you create, not the industry or even the genre.
Your manuscript is a reflection of you (okay that sounds cliche!). Just don't chop up your masterpieces for the masses, okay?