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Five Ways To Make Money As A Poet

If you’ve been writing poetry for any length of time, you’ve probably realized that there simply isn’t much money to be made in poetry. Poems are published primarily in literary journals and magazines that are affiliated with colleges and universities. Because those publications usually have a small subscriber base and work on a restrictive budget, writers are paid very little for their individual poems—if they are paid at all.

Also, because big New York publishing houses do not generally publish contemporary poetry (except for those elite poets who are household names), literary agents generally will not represent poets. Some authors may stand to make a small profit from winning poetry awards or publishing a book of poems, but few can quit their day jobs.

However, if you’re creative enough to be a poet, you may be creative enough to figure out how to make a little extra income by writing poetry. Although poetry, in its most literary forms, is usually limited to high-end magazines and literary journals, there are some practical ways that writers have been known to turn their poetic urges into dollars.

Write for the greeting card companies. If you love poetry, you can write greeting cards and verses. Every greeting card you read was written by a real-life human—not some impersonal poetry-generating robot. In fact, some greeting card writers even become relatively well-known, having their bylines written in the cards they pen. You may not be able to make a living by writing greeting cards, but you’ll have a good time indulging your muse—and getting paid for it! To get a foot in the door, approach a greeting card company like you would any creative writing publisher—with research and professionalism. Go to the store, jot down the names of greeting card companies, and look up their submission guidelines. Then follow those guidelines word-for-word. Poets are allowed to be creative in their writing, but in their submissions, professionalism is key.

Submit to Review Board

Teach. If you love language and literature—and you have the added bonus of being a people person—you just might find your calling in teaching. You can teach poetry at the high school or college level and beyond. Or you can teach just for fun on your own. Though you may not make oodles of dollars on your poetry, your poetry publications may earn you some money in the form of a nice, cushy teaching job (some positions will pay you to use your time to write and publish because your publications make the particular school look good). So even if teaching means you can’t spend every waking moment of your eight-hour day writing poems, you can, at the very least, spend your working day immersed in them. Not a bad gig!

Start your own business. Poets have long been forced to be creative and flexible, and because of that some poets can be great business people. Start a company writing personalized poems for people who might not have the same particular talent as you do. Are you naturally gifted at writing poems about mothers on Mother’s Day? Or what about writing poems as eulogies? Let out your inner entrepreneur and your muse at the same time!

Go into songwriting. Poetry and music are very close to one another in many ways. For poets who have a particularly musical ear, songwriting might be a good way to earn a little extra cash. Indulge your love of words, meaning, phrasing, metaphor, and depth. How do you start becoming a songwriter? It’s not the easiest journey. It may help to know how to read and write music, as well. But who knows? Write one song that takes off, and you might even go big-time!

Look for appropriate spin-offs of the poetry publishing biz. Would you want to work for a charity that supports the arts? How about a magazine that focuses on poetry? Those jobs are out there—it’s just a matter of being alert, open, and focused on getting them. You may need to build up a killer bio to nail a job related to the poetry business (and Writer’s Relief can help with that). But full-time jobs in the poetry business do exist. You’ll need to network with local poets, keep garnering publication credits, and be vigilant!

If you’d like to build up your poetry publications, remember to check out Writer’s Relief. We’ve got a great reputation for helping poets of all levels improve their bio so they can go on to get the clout they deserve. For more information, visit www.WritersRelief.com.

39 Responses to Five Ways To Make Money As A Poet

  1. Hi Lita,

    Writer’s Relief is an author’s submission service (not a literary agency, publisher, or publicity firm). We help creative writers get published by targeting their poems, essays, short stories, and books to the best-suited literary agents or editors of literary journals. This page will give you an overview (as well as our prices): http://writersrelief.com/publishinghelp

  2. I have written poems and I am confident that it has the creativity but I am unaware of publishing those via internet. So please help me to deal with this.

  3. Please don’t think that writing greeting card verse is anything like writing poetry, writing card verse is “saying something to someone from someone” it’s not personal like poetry is, it’s very hard to do and you need to be able to put yourself into a strangers situation, e.g. love for all ages and different situations, sympathy, age related birthday, anniversary the list of headings is very long, you’ll also have to write to a deadline and it’s seasonal, you can’t mention words such as “me” “I” “he” she” etc. because publishers want to use the verse for a lot more than one heading. I wrote greeting card verse for various publishers for many years, it’s a good earner if you can get into it but it’s a full time job and every publisher wants their own particular style of verse :) I earned mostly with romantic prose.

  4. Am teen trying to grow in the world of poetry. I would really appreciate all the help I can get in publishing my work and earning some money to save for university.

  5. Hello I just stared on this web sight and I’m really good at poetry and I was asking how do I make my poetry on the web?

  6. Hi Shelley, It’s great that you’re writing again, and that you’re finding it therapeutic. Unfortunately, most literary journals don’t have the budget to pay their contributors, so it’s rare for a writer to make money off of his or her writing. You can try submitting your work to writing contests for a chance to win money, but there are usually entry fees involved. Our Classifieds offer contest listings. You can find more information about this here: http://publishing.writersrelief.com/

  7. I been writing poems on and off since I was a teenager. I threw away my poems because I thought they weren’t good enough or why am I doing this I’m not making money on them. I started to write poems again. The ones I really like I rewrite them in my journal. I have five so far in my journal. One is about my cat I had to put down over a year ago. During the summer I got a kitten. So I wrote a poem about how sad I was losing him but the kitten is helping me to heal. She is no replacement for him and that I will always remember and love him. Then I wrote one about the tree of life. Two about Lilith. Then another one about the Goddess Brigid. I enjoy writing. It is therapeutic. Wish I could introduce them to the world more and maybe make a little cash doing something that I love.

  8. I’m 15 years old and I started writing poetry when I turned 11. I love poetry with all my heart but I don’t know what to do with the poems I’ve written.

  9. I been writting poetry since 12 years old and I love it.
    Throughout my years of growth I started composing my poetry into songs..
    Its so unbeilivable hiw good it sounds so real.
    So if you love poetry and want to make money.
    I say go for it especially if it can help lift someone up and help heal them mentally and emotionally in their time of need.

  10. I love writing poems. I love writing lyrics even more, but it is very difficult for me to write music with it, what should I do?

  11. Best place to earn money from your poetry is http://lyflii.com/

    Lyflii is a publisher exchange website that act as an PTC sites that offer a commission to it’s members for posting and viewing poems, blogs, art photos and etc..

  12. I have published an autobiography on my life “LIVING WITHOUT SWEAT GLANDS”, however I’ve written poetry for at least 35yrs off and on. I’ve written a chapbook after stumbling up on this video on youtube, where they actually say selling the chapbook which is an small catalog of a poets poems. What I’m told you do is network, sell them at shows or whoever and where ever to those who want them. This could allow to run into to a contact that could help with getting your name and poetry out there. Is this really true and how powerful are chapbooks to you.

  13. Really inspires and informs…Thanks….Does Writer’s Relief link up poets to literary journals and magazines?

  14. Hi am a teenager and i write poems i would like you to help publish my poem ,,,,,,perheps i will earn money and save it for tommorow whwn am in univesity,,,please

  15. I started writing poetry while I was at school so now I want to make a living out of my poems. I just love poetry because I get to express my self and expose what needs to be exposed. I really want to make same money out of this and I’m looking forward to helping people to understand poetry. By lungani a.k.a DALULO.

  16. I started writing poetry years ago while I was unemployed. It was a talent that I discovers and I really enjoyed it but I had bills to pay so I went back to work as a software developer, which is kind of like poetry but for machines instead of people.

  17. I began writing poetry quite unexpectedly. My 50+ poems began coming to me when I lost my husband and 3 brothers within a 6 month period. They are spiritual poems that help me deal with the overwhelming things in my life. God is the author. I am his vessel. Since I currently do not have the means to get my message out I want to thank you for this information. It has given me much to consider. May many blessings befall you.

  18. Hi Rumsha, normally, journals do not pay for accepted works, but there are some that offer free copies of the issue in which you were published. Of course, you can find a few that do pay, but they are few and far between. Instead, why not submit your work to contests? Our Classifieds Page has a frequently updated list of contests to which you can submit, so find an appropriate poetry contest and earn some cash! Some have entry fees, but you can earn quite a lot if you win.

  19. I love poetry and I use to write poems that have songs touch in them how can I publish them and get a bit profit.I do poetry as an extracurricular activity but my siblings are saying to publish them and earn some cash so please guide me. Thanks

  20. I love this it really gives me more info about making money as a Poet who want to see his work out there as some publishing company’s are very expensive when it comes to publishing poetry books for up- and coming poets who want see their work in a book form some poets are going through tough times for not getting more sponsorship from business people who can help them to get a start up on their creative sides.

    all and all this sides can make a big differances to any one who’s a poet and want exposure out there.

    Thank you and I thank you all @ Writers Relief.

    Love and Peace

    from Mxolisi James Majola in Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa .

  21. Excellent information for aspiring poets. Poetry is such an maxing source of relief, it’s good to know someone can pure to make a living pursuing their passion.

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