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How to Sell Poems Online [Step-By-Step Guide]

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Establishing a dedicated audience as a writer, more so as a poet, can be quite challenging. If you love writing poetry and want to make money doing so, you’ve come to the right place.

With the power of the internet, you can capture readers’ hearts and earn some money on the side from the comfort of your home! And this article will show you exactly how to do it.

Read on for some tips on how to sell poems online.

vector graphic showing an illustration of how to sell poems online

Why You Should Consider Selling Poems Online

The internet makes literature much more accessible, as seen in the prevalence of affordable ebooks, audiobooks, poetry blogs, and more.

If poets like you take advantage, you should enjoy the following benefits:

  • Money: Make as much as $160 per poetry gig, or get up to $300 by submitting to an online literary and poetry magazine.
  • Audience: A worldwide audience is much more accessible with only a few clicks of a button.
  • Feedback: You can assess your skills objectively and get honest feedback from clients and editors.
  • Convenience: Unlike traditional publishing methods, doing things on your own online saves a lot of money and effort.

Problems With Selling Poems Online

Selling stuff online may be convenient, but along with it are tough yet surmountable challenges, especially for writers trying to sell their poems.

Tons of poems are now available online for free, so you, as a poet, have to go the extra mile to attract readers who are willing to pay for poetry.

Several other factors affect the reality of selling art and literature online as profitable products:

  • Demand: Securing a market for poetry is difficult since it’s considered a subjective work of art rather than a marketable commercial product. Also, poetry is a niche literary genre compared to more popular ones such as fiction, particularly short stories, short fiction, and science fiction.
  • Competition: One editor claimed he rejects approximately 99% of thousands of poem submissions yearly. With the number of aspiring poets worldwide coupled with low demand, the odds are against the new writer trying to get noticed.
  • Marketing: Poets, as artists, aren’t necessarily marketing experts. So, they still have to learn how to appeal to various audiences for their poems to be noticed and recognized. In addition, poetry as a niche genre makes it hard to be marketable to general readers.
  • Obscurity: If you’re a new poet and nobody knows your name, it’ll be hard for a potential client to recognize you since you’re practically anonymous without an established reputation. Moreover, you can’t assure that just because you have a well-written poem, a client will trust it enough to pay for it.

What You’ll Need to Sell Poems Online

Before you can sell your first poem, poetry collection, or poetry book, there are some things to take note of.

Be sure to keep the following in mind to make your sale easy and hassle-free.

  • Original Poetry: Selling or publishing poetry that’s not yours is punishable by law. You can be sued, fined, or even jailed. Plagiarism can cost you from $750 to $30,000 for each work copied. Hence, ensure that the poems you’re selling are not directly copied from others and were authored by you.
  • Copyright: On the other hand, be aware of copyright laws and your rights to your poems as an author. Knowing these will help protect your work from others trying to take advantage through plagiarism or copyright infringement. Take note that you automatically own the copyright to your poems the moment you write them.
  • Submission Guidelines: Ensure you’ve read and followed submission directions when submitting to literary journals. If you don’t, there’s a much higher chance of your work not being accepted or even considered.

Where to Sell Poems Online

A lot of apps for selling are available online. It can be a struggle to choose the ones that are most suitable for your needs.

To help you, here are some excellent platforms for new writers. We’ve also included a literary magazine ideal for newbies to make their first poetry submission:

1. Fiverr

A screenshot of the fiverr homepage

On Fiverr, clients can hire freelancers to accomplish any task for a minimum price. This flexibility makes the website a popular destination for all kinds of freelancers looking for extra income.

What Makes This Option Great

Aside from the minimum, it’s up to you to set your pricing so that you can charge per word or hour. You can make personalized, custom poems or song lyrics for clients who need poems for special occasions like birthdays.

Many poetry writers charge $15, $20, and even up to $100 per gig. Some include extras and charge $160.    

  • Fees/Commission: Clients should pay at least $5 for one gig. Freelancers can set the price higher.
  • Payment Methods: Credit cards, PayPal, Fiverr credits/balance

2. Etsy

A screenshot of the etsy homepage

Etsy is an international online marketplace for handmade, vintage, and other craft items. It’s a place for finding unique customized items for collectors and for artists and crafters to showcase their wares.  

What Makes This Option Great

If you have some uncommon side hustle ideas, Etsy is the place to go.

Remember that poems are written not just on paper but on just about anything. Knowing this, a lot of writers sell poems written on handcrafted items. They also sell poetry through greeting cards, T-shirts, hats, mugs, and more.

If you don’t want to acquire additional items, you can offer to work with another Etsy seller. They supply the needed items, while you supply the poems.

  • Fees/Commission: Selling costs up to $0.20 per listing with a 3.5% fee from the sales price.
  • Payment Methods: Credit/debit cards, Etsy gift cards/credits, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and other methods depending on location

3. 50 Haikus

A screenshot of the 50 haikus homepage

50 Haikus is a literary journal where emerging and established poets are welcome to submit their haiku and get published.

What Makes This Option Great

Getting your poems published in a literary journal is a great stepping stone for your writing career.

50 Haikus is one of the best journals to submit your work to since they always welcome emerging poets. They’re also part of the few journals that don’t require submission fees.

  • Fees/Commission: Submissions are limited to five poems a month. Each poem submission can earn you $1.50 to $10.
  • Payment Methods: PayPal

How to Sell Poems Online: Step-By-Step Instructions

We’ve prepared an easy and handy guide to help you sell your poems online:

Step 1: Begin Writing

Before anything, start writing your poems. Edit, revise, and polish as needed. The poems should be nothing short of excellent to be ready for sale or publication.

You can ask the help of trusted friends or fellow writers to assess your work. Once you’re confident with your poems, you can finally show them to the world.  

Step 2: Revisit Your Copyright Laws

Research and revisit the copyright laws applicable to your side of the world before making any sale.

Refamiliarize yourself with plagiarism and copyright infringement, as well as how you might unintentionally sell illegal poems. You might get fined a large amount or even incarcerated if you violate laws.

Lastly, learn how you can protect yourself from plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Step 3: Choose Your Selling Platform

You can sell your poems on various online platforms. Because there are so many of them, researching and being aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each will help you decide if your option is fair and profitable enough for you.

Be wary of any fraud or scams pretending to be legitimate selling platforms.

Step 4: Prepare Your Payment Method

Link your bank account to your preferred payment method.

Choose payment platforms that are the most convenient in your location. It should also be popular enough so that you don’t run into payment complications with clients.

If you’re selling poems as a side hustle, signing up for various payment platforms is practical since your potential clients and their payment methods will usually vary.

Step 5: Promote Your Poems

There are various methods for marketing yourself, especially in today’s age of the internet. Consider using social media, poetry blogs, or podcasts.

You can also collaborate with fellow poets. Promoting or marketing your poems in whatever way you can imagine will help you gain a paying audience.

Things to Consider When Selling Poems Online

Aside from everything mentioned above, consider the following factors as they might affect your sales.

Remember, you’re an entrepreneur as much as you’re a poet when selling poems online. Hence, you should think like one.

1. Pricing

Many poets are underpaid for laborious mental work. Aside from low demand, writers also deal with high competition. Hence, they settle for an unfair price for the fear of losing potential clients.

On the other hand, writers can also overcharge. So, before setting prices, be sure you’re aware of fair compensation prices for your line of work.

2. Niche

It’s okay not to stick with one particular niche if you’re still a new writer trying to figure out your identity as a poet.

Nevertheless, if you already know the poetic genre you’re comfortable writing in, you can adhere to it to have a consistent audience.    

3. Promotion or Advertising

You can promote or advertise your poems through other means, such as social media, poetry blogs, and more.

You can also share your work with your family, friends, and acquaintances so that they can help spread the word that you’re open for business.

Promoting your poetry will help you gain more clients.

4. Pro Bono Work

Many creative freelancers do pro bono work to get their name out there. You might consider doing this as a newbie.

By writing for free, you will gain exposure. Your work will also reach other people and potential paying clients. Just be sure the project you accept will lead you to more paying projects.

5. Additional Fees

Be aware of additional fees if you want your poems published in online literary magazines. Extra fees can also apply to other selling platforms.

Calculate your overall expenses in light of these additional costs and decide if you won’t spend much more than you can earn.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Can I Sell a Poem For?

Online literary magazines pay between $1.50 to $300 per poem. For some magazines, there are submission fees.

On average, poets get $50-200 per poem, $25 per page, and $10 per line. Additionally, you can charge up to $160 per freelance poetry gig.

Do Instagram Poets Make Money?

With the popularity of social media, Instagram poets like Rupi Kaur get a lot of exposure from different people worldwide.

This exposure allows them to market their poems effectively and gain a significant following. In turn, they earn money in several ways like private commissions, poetry readings/workshops, or selling merchandise.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

If you’re interested in earning money online, check out the following resources to help you:

  • How to Sell Art Online: This tutorial will help you navigate various online selling platforms and help you sell your art through the Internet.
  • How to Sell an Online Course: This is an in-depth resource for anyone looking to earn an income from sharing general or specialized knowledge online.
  • How to Sell Pictures for Money: If you’re a photographer or a photography enthusiast, this resource will show you how to make money from your pictures.

Wrapping Up

With the information above, we can conclude that poets nowadays have many ways of showing the world their work and even gaining some profit.

By knowing the ins and outs of online selling platforms and literary journals, you’re surely one step ahead of the writing game. Writing poetry online has never been as thriving as ever.

What do you think about selling poems online? Let us know in the comments. And if you liked the article, please share it with fellow writers and poets.

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