How to Make Money Writing Poetry
Most people think that writing poetry will never be something they can ever rely on. After all, there aren’t many poets able to earn a living from their poetry; even the best-known ones like Poe and Dickenson struggled. If you’re like the average poet, you content yourself with the knowledge that you’re poetry helps you express yourself, and allow yourself to be satisfied whenever a literary journal publishes one of your pieces.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few, it’s unlikely that you’ve even thought about publishing a book of poetry. Not only do most publishing houses ignore pitches for books of poetry, but also with the rare exception of those that take on poetry for children, you won’t even be able to find an agent to represent your work.
Believe it or not, as long as you’re willing to use some initiative, you can use the poems you pen to help supplement your income. What could be better, you‘ll be able to express yourself, and you’ll be earning money at the same time! It’s the kind of life most people dream off.
Not a Shakespeare – Can I Sell Poems for Money?
Most people only think of poetry in forms of what one reads in literary journals or in books of Shakespeare. Few people stop to think about all the different, commercial, uses for poetry.
As appealing as the idea of using your poetry to help supplement your income might be, you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that it will be easy. It won’t be. You will have an enormous amount of hard work you’ll need to do before your poems start generating any revenue. Even then, you shouldn’t expect to earn more than a modest income from your poems.
While the Internet has increased the number of opportunities available to help you earn some money with your poems, it hasn’t turned poetry writing into a booming business.
If you still think you want to at least use your poems to earn a little extra money, you can keep reading.
Use Social Media to Earn Money For Your Poetry
Obviously, our most adored poets, like Robert Frost, did not have social media. Now we're able to connect with the world if we wish. All with little smartphones, tablets and computers. It's mind-blowing that someone just like you or I can go from complete obscurity to fame by sharing with the world.
If you want to start simply, maybe just create a Twitter account. Drop a few lines of your poetry each day and use hashtags that a poetry audience might search. For instance, #micropoetry or #poetry. But before you get super ambitious, protect your work by having in copyrighted. The chances of what you post being shared is what you want, but it can also lead to conflicts as to who the original author is/was.
And, if you do build a huge following, you'll want to bank on this by being able to prove it's all your work. Having a large Twitter audience will lead to companies wanting to reach your audience as well. You could potentially get offers from big brands to tweet a promotion out for them. Before dreaming of dollar signs – know this can take awhile and earnings for a tweet can vary wildly. But if your work is adored and shared – there is potential.
Write Poetry for Money on Associated Content
At first glance, Associated Content seems to be the mirror image of Gather, but poets who have posted work on the site, say it’s not. They say that in order to make just $2.00, they have to generate a 1000 page views, and that creating a group of followers seems to be a great deal more difficult.
Still, most people feel that posting a few poems to Associated Content is worthwhile, after all, something’s better than nothing at all.
Make Money Monetizing a Poetry Blog with AdSense
You should always set up your own blog, post your poetry, and collect some AdSense revenue.
At first, this seems like the best solution for most poets. They’ll maintain creative control over everything they do, and most people hear all sorts of wonderful things about the kind of money that can be made from the AdSense program.
While it’s true that it’s possible to combine blogging and AdSense to make scads of money, when you check out the bloggers who seem to make this happen, you’ll notice something. Most don’t have very many poetry-themed posts, much less an entire blog dedicated to poems. The bloggers who have created poetry blogs sadly report that while some can boast about high page views, it doesn’t seem like many of the poetry readers like to click on the ads.
They don’t want to shop; they want to soak up poetry.
If you want to make money from your blog, you will have to mix the poetry posts with other topics that more commercially minded folks will be attracted to. WordPress is extremely easy to use and with companies like Bluehost for hosting your blog, I promise – it's literally minutes to create a blog. Use my Create Your Own Blog – Step by Step Guide and be on your way!
Teach Poetry to Make Money
If you have a solid grasp of the rules of poetry and you think you can help others understand just what it is that make a good poem, you might want to think about teaching. This will be the best opportunity you have for making some decent money from your passion.
If you don’t have the credentials needed to teach poetry at a community college, you should see about teaching a class at a community center. Not only will you be filling your time with poetry and earning some extra money, you’ll also be creating a chance to meet all kinds of neat people.
There are so many online tutoring and teaching companies out there right now that need teachers of many topics. You might want to look over the list I have compiled of these types of companies and consider teaching English or poetry. Many Online Tutoring Jobs are flexible and part-time. They allow you to work at home too.
Create and Sell Personalized Poems
The world happens to be full of people who need your services, you might as well profit from this need. Lots of people know that they want to use a poem to help them tell someone how they really feel, but they lack the ability to do so themselves. You should offer your services and create the personalized poem they’re looking for. You can expect to be very busy around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Look at sites like Fiverr.
Compose Lyrics to Monetize Poetry
The only poets who seem to earn really good money, are the ones that create the lyrics for the song. When Garth Brooks was hot, a lyricist who penned the words to any song that appeared in one of his albums, even the ones that never became singles, could expect to make about $500,000. While this is a rare example, it does happen. Even your song never gets picked up by a billboard topping star, you can put poems to music that become sales jingles and make some extra money. The better you can read and interpret music, the easier songwriting will be.
Get Poetic and Create Pretty Slogans for Cash
Sometimes you can find a spin-off that could benefit from one of the poems you’ve written. Volunteer work is a great way to get started in this; you can start out by offering to write a lyrical slogan for the non-profit. If it catches on, you can do this for other non-profits, and then start selling your slogans to other companies.
Greeting Card Companies Buy Poems for Cash
This isn't going to get your name in lights or have literary snobs singing your praises, but greeting card companies pay cash for poems. Sometimes this can be $100 or more for a few lines of prose. They typically give guidelines and let you know specifically what they are looking for.
I have a large resource page regarding making money with greeting card companies.
How to Publish a Poem for Money
Finally, let's talk about self-publishing. I won't go into submitting your poetry to various media outlets and publishers, because I feel like this is sort of an obvious route to look into. I recommend buying a book like, Poet's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide for Publishing Poetry. This is what I used to submit my 75-page book of poems to publishers.
It can be expensive to print copies of your poems, and then postage to mail them. Some accept electronic submissions though. However, what about just having your book or collection of poems scanned and digitized? Then you could sell them online as an ebook or Kindle book. To give you an idea of what this might involve, you might want to read my post, Publishing Small eBooks for Large Profits – Here’s How.
The Bottom Line
Yes, it’s possible for you to make some money from the poetry you create, but you shouldn’t count on being able to use it to earn a living. At best, you can only think of it as a supplemental income. You should start out with the websites that pay per page view, and then go from there.
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