Yes! Selling Poems for Profit Is Possible!
If you've been told that it is impossible to sell poems for cash and you'll need to settle for the prestige of just seeing them published somewhere then you've been told wrong!
It is perfectly possible to earn payment by selling poems in a number of ways. I can't promise that you'll be able to retire on the earnings, but you should be able to make at least a small return on your creative investment.
Selling Poems to Magazines
Magazines do pay for poems!
Contrary to what many people think, there are plenty of magazines around to which you can sell poems. Add to these the plethora of websites and ezines that are constantly springing up around the web and you will find that there is actually a huge market for poetry and verse.
Of course the majority will not pay anything other than a free copy or two, but there are plenty of markets that will pay in good hard cash. Selling poems to these markets is competitive, but as long as your writing is of an acceptable standard, you've as good a chance of making a sale as anyone else.
Payment varies considerably from a couple of pounds offered by small literary magazines existing on a shoestring, to the more affluent, Arts Council supported publications buoyed up by generous subsidies. In this case you might get £20, £30 or more for a poem.
Selling Poems to Greeting Cards Companies
Good money to be made selling poems as greeting sentiments
The greeting card market can be very lucrative as long as you understand the needs of the consumer which means studying the company and who they are aiming to sell to. It's no good trying to sell poems to a traditional hearts and flowers company if the verse you write is the kind of cheeky, risque rhyme which is popular with the young and trendy!
A lot of greeting cards publishers have permanent writers and illustrators so do your home work before approaching and check that they welcome freelance submissions. The good news is, the market has a high demand for not only appropriate verse, but short captions and pertinent sayings and there is still a demand for the slightly "old fashioned" poetry that gets the thumbs down from current literary contests.
Selling Poems to Niche Markets
Weddings, Christenings, Retirements All Potentially Good Markets For Poetry
With a bit of creative thinking and some good marketing skills it is possible to earn good money selling your poems to specialised markets such as weddings, christenings and other major life events. Of course your poetry will need to target the individuals concerned so your pre-written stuff isn't likely to be suitable, but it is certainly an area worth pursuing.
Tip: If you can hook up with either a musician to set your work to music or a photographer to create audio visual DVDs your chances of making sales will increase dramatically.
Selling Poems to Commercial Organisations
Can you sell poetry to the business sector?
I expect this one has you wondering! How on earth do you manage to sell your poems to companies such as Cadbury's, Coca-Cola or Dell? Well you don't! What you do is run a search on the web for consumer contests. There are hundreds of them running at anyone time. They are usually very easy to enter with many being nothing more than free prize draws.
There are, however plenty around that ask for a tie-breaker slogan. The winning slogan very often rhymes which is good news for us poets. You'll need to think creatively rather than literary, but the rewards can be phenomenal ranging from cash prizes of hundreds or even thousands of pounds to expensive rewards such as cars or holidays.
Sell Your Poems For Profit & Prestige!
You can have your cake and eat it!
As you can see from this brief article, you don't have to settle for the honor of publication and no payment. Provided you are prepared to put yourself out and search for the niches that pay for your poetry you can make at least a little bit of cash from your work.
As this will almost certainly lead to publication in some form you will also reap the prestige of seeming your work in print and in some cases figure very prominently in the public eye.
That's all well and good, you say, but much of this calls for clever jingles and chocolate box type poetry, what about my more literary stuff? Can you really sell poems that are of a deeper, more thought provoking nature?
The answer is YES, but we'll go into that in another article!
I'd love to hear about any success you may have had selling poems. The more ingeneous the better!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES SELLING POEMS - Share your successes here!
jason scott (viking) on April 12, 2019:
finding a way to sell verse
I had some stolen and worse
but when you follow advice
things could be nice
and you will finally fill up your purse
Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on October 12, 2017:
Thanks for your article, Sue. I'll keep in mind some of these options.
Peggie sue Hough Roedl, on April 25, 2016:
Greetings,I am Peggie sue Hough Roedl I Have A book pub titled ( Every day Poetry on the market,I have many many poetry yet unseen, I have poetrt pub in two other poetry books that are not my own book have been envited to pub my poetry in there book's I have many certeficats on my wall A gold bedal many poems in the libuary of congress, Last year I was awarded last year poet of the year,I have many poems sight unseen I would like to do something th them they are (self help enspirational poetry) I would apprechate your help and input I look forward to hereing from you,I do have f\b Peggie sue Hough Roedl,Vandalia Ill,)Peggie roedl at yahoo.com)Thank you God bless,
Mary Scott on October 30, 2015:
I have Alot of poems that I have written and I would like to publish them.
katlin on April 08, 2015:
hello I write poems and i'm needing fast cash for a funreal... May I have more information?
Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on October 27, 2014:
Thank you for the push, I have collected so many poems and I am ready to send them out. But doubt has kept me still, your hub has given me courage to try. Thank you again. Jamie
tammywilliams09 on September 05, 2013:
Thanks for the suggestions. I don't writer poetry but it looks like a great option.
08032082999 on February 14, 2013:
have a lot of poem for sales but yet to sell any....they centered on Africa culture and ethics of life.
shrijitaa on November 15, 2012:
i just want to sell my poetry as soon as possible because i urgently need money! my poems are excellent! is there anybody who can help me?
John Dyhouse from UK on August 05, 2012:
If you are interested in competitions there are many opportunities, if you are an unpublished poet however make sure hat they accept (or better encourage) new authors.
marlene3 on November 22, 2011:
Nice lens, I am very interested in this site. I will definitely revisit later. If you have time, please check out my 1st poem title: Drugged & Delivered. Thanks & Thumbs up!!!
lavyettespoems on November 07, 2011:
THank you godinhora. I love poems like spiritual and inspirational of the heart especaily. Oh and quotes. I write a little myself. I have blog if anyone like visit. http://addressmylove.blogspot.com, http://heartmindandsoulasone.blogspot.com
alanbowman777 on September 25, 2011:
If I have an idea for a song I often write a poem instead ..... I wonder where this will lead .More research and nerve needed
godinhora on August 25, 2011:
Good lens, I love poetry and support that poets get the recognition they deserve.
EcoGecko LM on July 24, 2011:
Nice idea I may try it sometime. Would be better if you had some links to places that you can do these things in (possibility to add some referral links for a bit of extra revenue there). Also nice idea on the squidoo display of poems.
Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on June 10, 2011:
Thanks for this advice. So far I am content to display my poems on Squidoo.
Sue Kendrick (author) from English Midlands on April 06, 2011:
@DeepaVenkitesh LM: Yes I certainly will if I come across any. The only ones I can think of at the moment are those which offer revenue share.
DeepaVenkitesh LM on April 06, 2011:
I do have a poetry blog, it is http://poems-anna.blogspot.com, please do visit and give your valuable comments.
DeepaVenkitesh LM on April 06, 2011:
I wish there were sites that paid outright for good poems that rise from the bottom of the heart, If you do know some please list it so that it is useful for people like me.
Sue Kendrick (author) from English Midlands on March 24, 2011:
@graysquidooer: Unfortunately there are a lot of vanity publishers out there who exploit this. They make it seem as if it is a honour to be published in their anthology, but in reality they publish all submissions.
graysquidooer on March 23, 2011:
It's my wife who was into writing poems, Not for profit or sale, but just because she enjoyed doing them.
She did get One of her poems published, but we had to buy a whole book full in order to see it in print
Sue Kendrick (author) from English Midlands on February 03, 2011:
@ZenandChic: Just had a look and read some of your poems. Very nice.
Patricia on February 02, 2011:
I lensrolled this to my How to publish a book lens!
Patricia on February 02, 2011:
I sell my poetry in my books Jewels of Awe, Poetry for and from the Soul etc... Great lens!
scubachik on January 22, 2011:
@Sue Kendrick: Thank you so much for your suggestion.
scubachik on January 22, 2011:
@graysquidooer: Thank you!
Sue Kendrick (author) from English Midlands on January 18, 2011:
@Brite-Ideas: That's some views! Hope you do get it discovered. Some of my poems have been set to music, it's a real thrill to hear them sung.
Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on January 18, 2011:
Thanks for this - one of my video poems has over 20,000 youtube views, (it's written as song lyrics as well) and maybe someday an Artist will want the lyrics! hey if Justin Beiber could be discovered on youtube, why not, right? Your lens immediately caught my attention because of the title. :)
Diana Grant from United Kingdom on January 15, 2011:
I spend money on poetry competitions, I submit poetry free for local anthologies, I put poetry up on my blog and on Squidoo, but the only time I ever get paid is when I do performance poetry for a community organization. I know one day my ship will come in!
Meanwhile, here is your ship coming in, with Angel Blessings from me!
Sue Kendrick (author) from English Midlands on December 22, 2010:
@scubachik: If I was you I would charge a royalty fee for one time use irrespective of how many copies they print otherwise you could end up with peanuts if the funeral is very small. This is how photographers work, but be clear that copyright remains with you and they only have one time rights which means they must pay the fee each time they use your poem.
Given the cost of funerals these days, I would expect to be paid at least Â£25 per use which is about $35. Hope this helps.
scar4 on December 21, 2010:
Poem is not my sparkling points, but at least the idea shows us a possibility, that's valuable.
scubachik on September 23, 2010:
Please help! A funeral home is wanting to "rent" my poem to display on the back of their obituary/bulletin. I need to know how much to charge per copy. Example...5 cents per copy? Is that even in the ballpark?
graysquidooer on September 09, 2010:
Poems is my wife's hobby, as for selling them she has never tired, but entered some in a competition and managed to get one published.
Though I'm not sure if this was only ploy to get us to book the finished book