Ways to Make Money from Poetry

how to make money from poetry

Are you a poet or someone in the poetry scene who has tried for so long to make money from your works and it just doesn’t seem to be working out for you or you really just don’t know how to go about it?
Many hastily publish poetry chapbooks because they think it’s the easiest and fastest way to actually making money from poetry, but is it?!
The unfortunate thing with this is that most would end up regretting publishing because they do not get the returns on their investment into publishing. Some even publish just about anything, just some unformatted, child-like book and expect adults to buy them. Who would? – I know it’s definitely not me.
But are there actually ways one can work on their poetry and actually make money from it?
Well, I’ve got good news for you, there are actually simple (not so hard) ways you can follow to make money from your poetry in Africa.

Ways to Make Money with Poetry

Improving your game!

Don’t get bewildered with this point as it’s not really a way to make money through poetry but a requisite for any and everyone who wants to make money or sales from poetry.
Forget it, there’s no money to be made in poetry if you’re a novice in this thing called poetry.
You might as well say that making money from poetry is for those who’ve upped their game and the ones respected in the creative scene.
There is a good news to it though, you can join this league too, you can become a better poet too.


People actually pay for the services of poets worldwide, and this is an extra source to earn. With the usage of tools such as Fiverr, Upwork and so on, poets get paid hourly for the services they render to various individuals through poetry.
You can sign up to these platforms now.

Convert and Sell your Writings

You can sell your poetry to people through platforms like Etsy which allows poets create prints of their poems on paper in a frame or on a canvas and place for sale.
Although not as vibrant in the African setting, if embraced and utilized as a platform to help.

Editing Poetry Books and Anthologies

Some pre-occupied poets actually are willing to pay poets like themselves to get their works edited on agreement. This is usually done by the customer, the author and the service person, the poet.
Selling your poems online retail centers
Since the emergence of the need of poets to be able to make money from their doings without the hassle to publish a poetry anthology, there has been need for a platform which makes this possible.
There are platforms now where poets can sell their works but for free?! Not so much.
These poems gets sold with imprinted ® rights to the original author.
It’s just like having a personal portrait replaced with a beauty of an art work, poetry.

Teaching Poetry to Those interested

Even without face-to-face meetings with students, the internet has made it possible for teachings to go on from any part of the world even in the toilet, it’s just a matter of yourself/your presentation, a connecting device (preferably a laptop/notebook) and access to the internet.
Skilled and knowledgeable poets can teach those interested and willing to pay for such classes in various formats, through video tutorials, pdf formats or just text – your choice.
(Since we need money too, we might consider doing this too or won’t you support?)

Create a poetry blog or website

This is definitely one of the hardest platforms to make money from except if you’re like Shakespeare with million praising your great deeds in the literary world.
To earn with blogging is not easy because you need to get hosted plus domain and finally need to design a befitting site for yourself or brand.
There are a lot of steps to take when looking into blogging as a means of revenue through poetry but if done well and optimized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and garners in enough traffic, adverts placed on websites can be a really sustaining source of money though poetry sharing and featuring.
The more you write, the easier it gets for one to attract more interested visitors. Also, people would rather visit a website where they can find authentic, well edited and great contents than they will a less stimulating one, so there’s work to do in this aspect also.

Getting Published in Magazines

Many magazines, e-zines (not all) pay their contributors for their poems getting accepted into these zines and they really do pay a fair amount of money to all contributors.
Some others offer to give the published works to the contributors or in the place of their contribution fees.
Also, you definitely know that this wouldn’t be an easy job to take on because quite frankly, you’re not the only one who wants the money.
Most of these zines are usually filled up with thousands of submissions, and they might just need to publish only 20, you know that becomes a real-hard situation to deal with.
But it’s in you, the Never Give Up spirit.

Publishing on paying platforms/Websites/Blogs

Certain platforms and websites pay poets who contribute their poems to these sites. Some of these platforms that pay poets include: poets.org, http://thesunmagazine.org, Poetry Foundation, Rattle and so many more.

Note: These platforms are usually very competitive so you probably should understand why upping your game is the first point.

Entering for competitions

Poets are allowed to enter in for various competitions that rewards successful winner with as much as $1000 or more dollars across the world.
Note: This is not a game for the cubs, it’s a table for the elders to sit on. The meal shared there are for the few toppers with high distinction from the rest of the herd.


Songwriting might be a good way to earn a little extra cash with all that poetic juice flowing in your brain.
Most poets (good ones) are usually already great with their usage of minor words to pass major sensible meanings and hold insightful thoughts from the reader or listener.
You can decide to either write these songs for yourself or why not just sell it to the muse less and struggling musician for a cool deal.


This way of making money from poetry is hidden below every other contents in this section because really it is one of the hardest things to do because
i. Most poets are lazy and drop dreams of publishing books
ii. The cost of producing poetry books are quite high while its demand is quite low
iii. Editing is another trouble many run away from
iv. Marketing a book especially a poetry book is really difficult and many people do it wrong and eventually have their family members buying books from them (okay, that’s a joke!)
v. There is a possibility of not making Return-On-Investments if your books don’t sell.
I hope you see now why publishing a book is not really a good idea when it comes to making money from poetry but it is still a part because even with all these points on why you should not.
You might still try it and it’ll work for you perfectly and oh! What’s not a risk anyways?

Ways to Make Money from Spoken Word Poetry

Creating a YouTube channel for Spoken Word Poetry

Yes, even YouTube/Vimeo are just not for secular musicians, tutorials, learning facts and staying up to date with the latest in the Tending section alone.
Spoken Word Poets, performers (even page poets) can also tap into this resource-bank. Through uploading individuals/shared works, performances and recitals for loving audience of poetry to enjoy, learn from and share with others as a means of contributing to the growth of the channel.
YouTube permits adverts on video contents which serves as a source of income to channel owners; YouTubers.
Those with plans of doing this should have it in mind that there are certain requirements that must be met before the advert placement option is enabled for videos on their various channels.

Preforming Spoken word poetry at Paid Events

Event managers in recent times have begun appreciating poetry recitals at events and some even pay performers for the performances.
Poets interested in earning through this medium however must not be too hasty to earn money from event performances and should be willing to perform free at some events so as to get known by those who might be interested in calling them for more or how to hlin the future.

Spoken word poetry – Adverts

Because poetry in spoken form is not just fun, but also really educational and speaks a lot in just a few minutes.
Certain brands have included poems in their adverts to not only advertise their works to their audiences but also to speak volumes to them through such short presentations as well as grow the culture of poetry.

If there are others ways legitimate ways to earn from poetry, kindly drop it into the comments.

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About Emmiasky

I am here to use my ART as a mean to make IMPACT in the world. Join me in doing so.

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