Want to get paid to write poetry but not sure how to get poetry writing jobs?
Yes, there’s something romantic about the poor poet languishing in a French café, accepting of his humble circumstances.
But guess what? Times have changed.
Nowadays, even a poet has bills to pay and mouths to feed.
Read on as we walk you through how to make good money writing poetry.
From greeting cards to magazine submissions, poetry schools to personal blogs, we show you where to submit your work, make some cash, and keep doing the thing you love: writing.
Let’s jump in.
6 Top Ways to Make Money with Poetry Writing Jobs
Believe it or not, there are tons of ways to make money with poetry. Here are a few ideas to try…
There’s an impressive number of poetry contests on offer throughout the year. Many of them run at the same time, so being organized with dates is key to your success.
Submit to multiple competitions and have a chance to win big bucks.
Especially as some contests offer several thousand dollars in prize money!
Here are a few to get you started:
- Prize $1000
- Prize $2000
Wergle Flump Humour Poetry Contest
- 1st Prize $2000
Already won a few creative writing competitions? Why not put your knowledge to good use by teaching what you’ve learned?
If you’re a little more experienced you could try your hand at a poetry workshop.
Find a good space or host it online. And if you have any connections in the world of poetry, use them! Invite them to be part of your workshop.
Poetry School offers great workshops that can inspire you and give you an idea of how much you can charge.
Aside from preparing the workshop content and the venue, you’ll need to create a website for sign-ups and submissions.
So, spread the word by marketing your workshop on social media and other channels.
Publish Personal Poetry Blog
Blogging is a great way to make money if you know what you’re doing. In fact, this might be the best way to go if you want a more stable stream of income.
However, it’s not a short-term strategy. It can take years for your blog to start generating money.
But there are ways to accelerate the process…
Check out this epic post on how to start a blog to find out more.
Self-Publish Poetry Book
Ever thought about putting your poems together into a book?
Today, thanks to Kindle and Amazon, you don’t need a publisher — self-publishing is the new black. Plus it’s simple.
Let’s be realistic, though — you’re not going to make millions on your first book. You’ll need to write several books and build traction before you see the fruits of your hard labor.
To really make money with self-publishing, you need to have a business mindset and work based on what the market wants.
That’s not to say you have to write dross just to please the crowds, but you do need to see this as an entrepreneurial — rather than an artistic — endeavor.
Ever wondered where those snazzy one-liners on greeting cards come from?
Well, people just like you!
You might be surprised to learn that writing verses for greeting cards can be pretty lucrative, and it’s a skill. So your poetry talent can be paramount to the success of greeting card companies.
And for that, they will pay.
Some companies pay up to $700 but most are in the $100-$200 range.
Here are some examples of companies looking for writers:
Finally, there’s one big route to fame and fortune (OK, just fame) which we’ll talk a little more about next.
Submit Poetry to Literary Magazines & Journals
We’ve left this for last because it’s the broadest of all the options.
The thing about submitting poetry to literary magazines and journals is that you can’t just send the same thing to all of them, or write whatever you feel like.
Most publications are after a particular type of poetry. Make sure to check their guidelines for all information ahead of starting.
Here’s what to consider before submitting your work:
- Read and stick to the guidelines
- Check whether they allow you to submit the same work to several publications (some don’t)
- Check for submission fees
- Check submission dates — most have a submission period and won’t read anything outside of that.
This is a fantastic way to make money writing poetry — but beware of the long reply times.
Read on for a list of publications you can submit your work to.
10 Best Submission Sites for Poetry Writing Jobs
We’ve cherrypicked the 10 best publications to save you from trawling through endless lists of low-paying gigs.
Poetry Magazine is one of the oldest, most renowned monthly publications in the English language. So getting published isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
The good thing is it’s free to submit and if your work gets accepted, the pay’s not bad — $10 per line with a minimum payment of $300.
The downside is it can take up to 8 months to get an answer, so don’t hold your breath.
This journal is a Canadian publication that prides itself on offering variety to its readers. They’ll accept poetry from new and established authors, as well as book reviews and the odd critical essay.
Submissions have a small $2.00 fee and you can get up to $5 per page (up to 5 pages) plus two copies of the magazine if you get published.
AGNI is named after the Vedic fire god, which tells you a little about what they’re looking for — unconventional, innovative, powerful poetry that’ll blow their readers’ minds.
Submissions are $3 a pop but the pay is decent — $40 per page for accepted poetry, up to a maximum of $300, plus 1 year’s subscription to AGNI.
Thanks to their unconventional ways, AGNI boasts more than one Nobel Prize winner in their ranks.
Formerly Crazy Horse, Swamp Pink accepts poetry but also prose.
They are particularly interested in poetry from minority groups and poets from marginalized and underrepresented groups.
You pay $3 per submission and if you get accepted they pay $40/poem.
The Sun Magazine
An ad-free, reader-supported publication, The Sun Magazine wants no stone unturned. They ask for mostly narrative poetry and want to expose the raw, most vulnerable face of humanity.
The Sun encourages writers who are marginalized based on their circumstances or identity to submit their work.
Submissions have a $2.50 each but this one also pays well – $150 up!
New Letters originally came from the University of Kansas and has gone by several names since then. They originally wanted to portray the cultural reality of the region, but over the years they’ve opened up to many other themes.
Submissions have a $4.95 fee for non-subscribers but are free for subscribers.
The pay starts at $12, and you get 2 printed copies plus a 40% discount on further copies.
And don’t miss their contests section, where you can win up to $2500!
Boulevard Magazine is a high-class publication that aims at a finer style of writing. In fact, they don’t accept light verse such as Limericks.
They usually publish freelance writers with more experience, but if you’re unusually good for a newbie, they might still accept your work.
Submissions are $3 online but free by snail mail, and they pay between $50, and $250 for an accepted poem.
Three Penny Review
This little gold nugget is a non-profit organization for poets from all backgrounds. They publish a combination of classical works but always add a few unexpected twists into the mix.
Submissions are free and they pay $200/poem. Pretty good, ha?
The Pedestal Magazine
The Pedestal Magazine is open to all themes, styles, lengths, and genres.
They’re classed as a not-for-profit charitable corporation, and survive mostly off donations. Their readers are well-educated consumers, and they publish both new and established writers.
They’re open for submission for a few days for each reading cycle, charge $3/submission and pay $50 per poem.
Rattle is an unassuming publication with a mission to move readers through the written word and promote a community of active poets.
And they are good news for a creative writer on a budget: they don’t believe in poetry submission fees (hurrah!).
Plus all submissions are entered into the Neil Postman Award for Metaphor, a $2,000 prize.
If they accept your work, you receive $200/poem for print and a one-year subscription. For online submissions, you get $100/published poem.
Pick Your Favourite Poetry Writing Jobs
There are plenty of options to make money with poetry writing jobs.
Yet, you probably won’t get rich on this alone.
But in combination with freelance writing, you can definitely make good money from writing and continue to do what you love.
Our advice: pick one or two of the strategies we’ve listed above and work at it until you’re making a regular income, and then expand into the next niche.
If you need some help along the way, have a look at our job postings. You’ll be surprised how much is out there!