How to Make Money With Poetry
By Eric Hammer
It is every poet's dream to make money with poetry. Sadly
however, very, very few people make much money if anything at
all from their poetry. Poetry is very much a labor of love rather
than a way to make money. That said, there are a large number
of ways to turn your poetry into cash, if you are good, though
even the best poets alive today rarely make their entire living
from their poetry (and if they do, they're likely not doing it
writing the kind of poetry you typically would write if you were
a poet; more on this in a moment).
First, you can always look for magazines that publish poetry.
A large number of such magazines exist and they do pay for poems
they like. However, the money you can make is typically no more
than token payments (anywhere from $1 to $25, though occasionally
you can find professional places that offer several hundred dollars
for a poem). Plus, the competition is extremely fierce.
If you are very good and already well known, you could also
publish a book of your poetry, though again, books of poetry
rarely make much money. Even famous poet's work such as Dylan
Thomas, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, which are quoted all
the time make very little money for publishers who offer them
in collections in book form.
Finally, you may be able to make money with poetry by selling
it for a variety of non poetic uses. You can sell poems to song
producers who may turn them into a song. Another very big market
for poems is greeting cards. Keep in mind however, that in both
these cases, you are not going to have the freedom to write poems
that express deep inner meaning for you. Instead, these need
to be short and snappy with a clear message that anyone can understand,
even people who don't like poetry. Plus, they typically need
to be happy messages.
How Much Can You Make?
Those looking exclusively for ways to make money with poetry
will find that they can't make much. Even those who regularly
publish poetry professionally make only a few thousand dollars
a year from the job. For the average poet, if your poem gets
published and you make a small, token payment, you should consider
it a good day.
On the other hand, those who write commercial poetry (i.e.,
songs, jingles and greeting card poems) do make in the neighborhood
of $50,000 per year. The catch is that most poets don't consider
this "poetry," at least not in the classical sense
of the term.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Bottom line: few people if any work ONLY as professional poets,
writing poetry all day. That said, many professional poets do
many money with poetry by offering their services as lecturers
in universities and tutors so that they work in the world of
poetry, but not necessarily only in the writing of the stuff.
Qualifications / Requirements
There are absolutely no criteria required to get published
except that your work is truly exceptional and worthy of publication.
However, if you want to work as a university professor or even
a tutor, expect to need at least a Master's degree and possibly
a PhD to get such a job.
Start by visiting poetry forums online and hone your skill.
Show off your work to others. Then, look for professional markets
to get yourself published in. Once you are established, it's
often easier to make money with poetry from less conventional
Check out these helpful resources to find out more about how
to make money with poetry:
Ezine Articles: How to Make Money From Poetry
- A very good guide to writing poetry professionally and making
money when doing it.
Poet Sanctuary - A web forum devoted exclusively to poets.
- Not specifically devoted to poetry, this web site lists nearly
1,000 markets that buy fiction. Many of these markets also purchase
poetry. You can search by keyword for the word poetry at the
duotrope web site. (Just click on "Show more search options"
and put "poem" into the keyword search).