Last Updated on December 5, 2023 by Ava
So, you want to get paid to write poems?
This is endeavor is not for the faint of heart. You are in for a challenge, but with a little luck, you can find your way.
I consulted Google Trends to find out how poetry is doing, and it’s been in a long march downward, but don’t lose heart!
I get it, this graph is disheartening for those of us who love words. However, I also know that there is a place for poetry and it will never die. We just need to think outside the box a bit. I also checked greeting cards on Google Trends and the graph mirrors this one.
I have to admit that made me utter an audible, “Wooow!”
Perhaps it’s social media that is causing this decline, I’m not sure. What this tells me is to definitely not concentrate on submitting to the greeting card industry. Again, we’re going to need new ideas if we want to do something besides languish in obscurity here.
While poetry isn’t doing so hot in the trends, I also took the liberty to check “spoken word”, and well, let the results speak for themselves.
All is not lost!
The takeaway for me here is that poetry in traditional formats is basically dead if you want to make money.
There is a whole new horizon for poetry in digital. We no longer buy greeting cards for birthdays and special occasions. We post on social media; we send an email; we send a text message.
The good news is that poetry is valid and adaptable to all of these new digital formats.
The not-so-good-news is that it’s going to be a hard sell.
If you still want to pursue poetry and create an income stream, it’s not impossible, just difficult. Anything worth doing is going to be hard. Ad Astra Per Aspera! (To the stars through difficulties!)
Poetry, as with all art, is difficult to monetize, but for those wondering how poets can make money, there is hope, so stay tuned!
If you’ve spent any time at all in writing communities, then you’ve probably heard that there’s no money in poetry. There’s a famous quote by Robert Graves that says:
There’s no money in poetry, but there’s no poetry in money, either.
It’s so true.
Let’s explore some avenues we can master to capitalize on our talent for words.
Get a Relevant Mentor
My first piece of advice, if you want to get paid to write poems, is to get a relevant mentor. I cannot explain to you the benefits of a mentor, but I can certainly explain the directionless wandering you will do without one!
Do as I say, not as I do!
There a few young poets out there doing quite well publishing poetry. The first one that comes to mind is Shane Koyczan. He’s a Canadian poet who found fame when his spoken word piece To This Day went viral.
He turned that momentum into albums, videos, books, and more.
Erin Hanson is one of the most prolific poets I know. Other than that, I know absolutely nothing about her. She writes a lot, shares a lot, and self-publishes poetry books.
Lastly, I bring you Clementine Von Radics. Her Mouthful of Forevers quickly became one of my favorite poems. She is an American poet who, like Shane Koyczan, has spun her brand of spoken words into a business. She does events and also sells her books.
So, you see, if you treat your poetry like a business, you can earn money writing poems.
Find someone who does or has done what you want to do, and follow them. Try to duplicate their success. Get a relevant mentor!
Find and Know Your Audience
In researching for this article, everyone sounds like a broken record:
- Go on Fiverr
- Sell on Etsy
- Put your poems on mugs, t-shirts, etc.
- Submit to journals and magazines
- Enter contests
I’m not going to tell you these things won’t work, but it’s going to be a case of not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Those last two are one-trick ponies. You can only make the money once and you’re going to spend gobs of time and money on submissions.
If you want to make money, you have to have an audience to sell your product to. In this case, it’s poetry. Flinging your words into the ether and hoping some wandering soul finds them and then says, “I want to throw my money at you.” is a long shot.
First, you have to build a following of loyal fans who are willing to pay to own your work in one form or another. That means you’re going to have to get your work in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
The path of least resistance for doing so is social media.
Then you must engage those who show interest. Make yourself available. Be vulnerable. Post often. Post your best work. I recommend that you choose one avenue:
- A Facebook page or group
- An Instagram account
- A YouTube channel
- A TikTok account
- Twitter (X)
- Your website with an email list (it’s fair to do this and one additional avenue listed above)
Pour yourself into it and capture your audience. Keep posting. Eventually, you will be able to pitch products to them based on your poetry. Whether that’s a book, an album, printables, or a little bit of everything is completely up to you. Listen to your audience, price fairly, and deliver what they’re looking for.
Get Paid to Write Poems
So, you’re ready for the uphill battle of trying to get paid to write poems? This is as out of the box as I can get. Please comment below if you have more ideas off the beaten path.
Hear me out. Most of the places like Blue Mountain Arts that used to take submissions for greeting cards have dried up. You might get lucky actually looking for jobs in this industry on Indeed or the like, but gear up for some stiff competition. Also, expect to be required to have a Bachelor’s Degree.
If you are interested in creating greeting cards, go digital.
You can either create printables which I’ll talk about in a moment or you can create social media equivalents. We’ve all seen the birthday notifications on Facebook. It’s really encouraging to receive sentiments on your special day, so I created a bunch of birthday graphics with Canva, some feminine, some masculine, so I can easily share an image with my sentiment on Facebook.
I’m sure there are folks who would pay for a pack of these so they have something more to share than just a “Happy Birthday” like everyone else.
What kind of ideas can you come up with along this same line of thought?
The more original your ideas, the better your chance at success.
Do something no one else is doing! They’re all doing that list from all those other sites I mentioned above. Be different = stand out.
Songs are merely poetry set to music. If you have a knack for rhythm and rhyme, you’d probably make a very fine songwriter even if you’re not musically inclined.
A staggering number of famous crooners don’t write their own music from Elvis Presley to Beyonce.
Ghostwriters can write a lot more things than books. Expand your horizons!
Songwriter of the Year is a Grammy Award!
Have you ever noticed how quotable poetry can be? You can pull a few words or phrases and make an amazing statement or even a funny one!
Comb through your poetry and pull out statements that stand out. These are great for social media, but also great to put on products.
I’m going to expand on this idea next with some new info you probably won’t see anywhere else. Keep reading!
What you’re able to come up with will determine the best product to put it on.
Maybe you’ve written a poem to your mom and you can put a verse on a mug as a Mother’s Day gift.
Maybe you write about pirates or ninjas, we could definitely use some more phrases for shirts. “A pirate’s life for me” is totally played out.
Put your creativity to good use and create something unique that hasn’t been done before. Don’t stop with one thing. Try several.
You never know what the next big thing will be until BOOM, there it is!
You have the option of creating digital content that is available for download or creating tangible products. Do both!
AI has exploded in the last year. There are tons of art generators and text generators to try. Take some of those aforementioned statements and use them as AI prompts!
I put a line from one of my poems in Midjourney, and it was amazing! The line was “a universal night rhythm of stars.” Here’s the image it generated:
This is great if you’re not artistically inclined, but want something visual to accompany your words.
You can do holiday-themed art, flowers, and any really anything you can imagine and put into a text prompt. Midjourney is 10 bucks for the cheapest plan. Here are some currently free alternatives:
You can also have AI help you with your writing. If you’re stumped, put in what you have and ask it to give you some ideas on how to move forward or complete your poem.
You can also ask it to give you ideas for poems or clean up an existing piece you’ve created it. There’s no limit to what you can do with it. Just experiment.
Here are a couple of free options to try:
Poet for Hire
If you can create poetry on the fly and you can channel the feelings of others enough to write poems for them, that’s an option as well. You can find people who might want to hire you via Fiverr. I’ve seen a lot stranger things on there!
If you have a knack for Haiku, you might try something like these folks did. This writing trio who got a few vintage typewriters, some blank index cards, and commenced to make $225 per hour writing Haikus at an event.
They are what I would call unicorns. They are exceptions to the rule. However, it’s that kind of out-of-the-box thinking that creates unicorns!
Self-publishing is my jam. If you’ve built an audience that adores your words, you could probably get a good number of them to buy a collection in the form of a self-published book.
I published my own book of poems, and it sells from time to time. I won’t link it here because it’s in dire need of reformatting.
If this is something you’d like to explore further, contact me with your questions.
So, Is There Any Money in Poetry?
Will you get rich?
Probably not, but hey, don’t let me limit your horizons. You never know what you can do until you try.
If poetry is something you truly love, you’ll never stop writing. It was never about the money for me. It’s just an added bonus. If you are a poet, leave me a comment, I’d love to check out your stuff.
I hope I’ve provided you with some ideas that will get your wheels turning. Regardless of poetry’s trending power, it’s a gift and you should absolutely share it.
You never know when your words might help someone else.
Art is about healing and goodness knows our world needs that these days.
So get out there and create your community and thrive, writer!
This article had some good ideas – https://diggitymarketing.com/how-to-make-money-online/writing-poems/