Poets (and writers in general) have been known to have a hard time coming up with ways to make a living off their poetry. Let’s face it, publishers these days aren’t offering thousands of dollars to poems asking them to write for them.
So it’s obvious that making money from poetry is not easy.
However, that doesn’t mean you are doomed–there are actually a few different ways to avoid becoming the starving poet.
Here are a few options for making money as a poet…
What will I learn?
1. Submit to Literary Magazines & Publishers
For most poets, the best way to earn money is by writing poems for literary journals, magazines and websites that focus on literature.
Some of these places also accept short stories. So not only you can get paid for your poems, but you can also get paid to write short stories
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Here are a few poetry markets to get you started:
- The Sun Magazine: Pays $100 to $200
- Poetry Foundation: Pays $150
- Goblin Fruit: Pays $10
- Leading Edge: Pays $10
- Clubhouse Jr Magazine: Pays $50 to $100
- Crazy Horse: Pays $20 to $200
- Agni: They pay between $20 to $150
- Ruminate Magazine: Pays $15
- US Kids Mag: Pays $25 (minimum)
- VQR Online: Pays $200
- Alaska Quarterly Review: Pays $10 to $50
- Three Penny Review: $100
- Boulevard Magazine: Pays $25 to $250
- EPOCH: Pays $50 (minimum)
- Dreams and Nightmares: Pays $10
- Grain Literary Magazine: Pays $40 to $70
- Antigonish Review: Pays $30
- The Pedestal Magazine: Pays $40
- Fun For Kidz Magazines: Pays $10 (minimum)
- Arc Poetry Magazine: Pays $15
- The Capilano Review: Pays $50 to $150
- Chicken Soup for the Soul: Pays $200
- New Myths: Pays ¢ 1.5 with a minimum $30
- Orion Magazine: Pays $100
- Clean Sheets: Pays .03 (per word)
- Ploughshares: Pays $25 to $250
- Rattle: Pays $50 for online submissions – $100 for print submissions
2. Submit to Poem Contests to Win Cash
Another option is entering poem contests in hopes of winning some cash.
Here are a few current contests:
- Boston Review Fourteenth Annual Poetry Contest: Prize = $1,500
- Bellevue Literary Review’s Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize in Poetry: Prize = $1,000
- Poetry.com Contest: Prize = annual $5,000; monthly $250; daily $25
- Fanstory: Prize = varies based on contest (they have a few contests for different genres.)
3. Write Poem for Greeting Cards Companies
Let’s not forget the poems on greeting cards. Most greeting card companies pay you for your submissions. It could be a poem, a quote, a very short story, basically anything that is a good fit to put on a greeting card. Of course it has to be your own work.
Here are a few:
4. Sell Your Poems on Fiverr
You can even use gig sites like Fiverr to offer custom poems for clients. Fiverr is a small tasks sites where you can sell any kind of service for $5. But you can add extras and make up to $160 on each gig.
Register with Fiverr for free and create a gig offering custom poems to clients.
5. Put Your Poems on T shirts
I have talked about making money by designing T-shirts and other customizable items before.
You can actually use your poems to create unique and customized products on sites like CafePress and Zazzle.
6. Use Etsy to Sell Poems
Yes Etsy, the big marketplace for handmade products!
Not only you can sell prints of your poems, but you can also put your poems on handmade stuff like a wooden sign.
If you are not handy and don’t want to deal with creating stuff to put your poems on, contact a few Etsy sellers (especially woodworkers) and offer to work with them. You supply the poems, he or she supplies the product on which your poems get printed. It could be the perfect home business for both of you.
Are you a poet? Have you ever submitted your poems for money? Have you ever used any of the sites mentioned here?
I would love to hear from you and about your experience in trying to make money from your poems.