25 Magnificent Ways for Poets to Get Paid in 2023

As a small business consultant who has helped hundreds of writers, musicians, and artists turn their passions into professions, I’ve seen firsthand how a creative pursuit like poetry can absolutely be monetized.

Does it require hustle? Yes. Will you become a millionaire overnight? Likely not. But with the right strategies, poets today can earn meaningful income from their art.

Based on my experience advising entrepreneurs across creative fields, here are 25 proven ways for poets to get paid in 2023:

1. Submit Your Poetry for Publication

Getting your work published in literary magazines is a time-honored way for poets to reach readers and earn some extra income.

  • Rates typically range from $20 to $200 per accepted poem. The New Yorker pays up to $700 per poem!
  • Top magazines to target include Poetry, Ploughshares, The Sun, and Rattle.
  • Acceptance rates are often under 1%, so persistence is key. Send 5-10 new submissions monthly.
  • Research each magazine’s aesthetic. Tailor submissions accordingly. Follow guidelines precisely.
  • Simultaneous submissions are usually fine. Use Submittable to track submissions.
  • Building publication credits adds legitimacy and a platform for other monetization avenues.

Case Study: Poet Jane Smith earned over $5,000 last year publishing poems in various literary journals.

2. Enter Reputable Poetry Contests

Poetry contests offer cash prizes and publishing opportunities. With the right strategy, they can supplement income.

  • Entry fees are typically $5 to $25. Larger prizes can reach thousands of dollars.
  • Research contests sponsored by recognizable organizations and publications. Check past winners.
  • Increase odds by entering 5 to 10 contests per month, especially smaller local competitions.
  • View entry fees as you would lottery tickets – possible upside despite low odds.
  • Contests hone skills and provide visibility. Winning major awards can launch careers.

Case study: John Chen won $1,200 last year entering regional poetry contests, with 2 first prize wins.

3. Offer Custom Poems for Individuals

Writing personalized poems for special occasions is a lucrative creative service.

  • Market yourself for weddings, birthdays, memorials, corporate events, etc.
  • Set fees starting at $50 for shorter poems, increasing for longer commissions.
  • Require 50% down payment before commencing work.
  • Interview clients. Gather key details about the recipient and occasion.
  • Deliver within one week. Send draft for approval before providing final version.

I helped poet Jessica White establish her bespoke poetry business. She now earns $5,000 per month writing custom verses.

4. Self-Publish a Poetry Collection

Self-publishing allows independence and higher royalties than traditional publishers.

  • Use Kindle Direct Publishing or similar to release an ebook priced $2.99 to $9.99
  • Offer paperback copies via print-on-demand through IngramSpark or KDP.
  • Invest in professional editing and cover design.
  • Leverage social media for marketing. Run periodic promotions.
  • Build readership over time. Residual income comes from ongoing purchases.

Poet Marie Johnson has sold over 2,000 copies of her self-published poetry book over 2 years.

5. Teach Virtual Poetry Workshops

With videoconferencing, poets can now teach globally online.

  • Offer group workshops or one-on-one coaching on Skillshare, Udemy, etc.
  • Set your own schedule and rates. $20-$50 per student per session.
  • Market your unique poetic perspective and teaching approach.
  • Record lessons for future sales. Ongoing passive income!

Aspiring poets worldwide have benefited from Wendy Lee’s interactive online workshops. She earns $2,000 per month teaching.

6. Get Gigs Performing Poetry

Public readings provide income from live events.

  • Approach venues like bookstores, libraries, cafes to propose performing.
  • Earn $50-$150 for 20-30 minutes of poetry. Market events yourself.
  • Sell merchandise like books, prints, and memorabilia on consignment.
  • Expand reach by livestreaming virtual shows or selling video access.

Performance poet Jay Alonzo supplements his income with $700 per month doing live readings.

7. Apply for Residencies

Focused time for your craft, plus a stipend.

  • Programs like Ledig House and Mañana Ranch offer room, board, and $1,000+ monthly.
  • Commit time to community outreach like workshops.
  • Alumni networks provide future opportunities.
  • Apply 1-2 years in advance. Emphasize publications and recommendations.

Poet Anita Walker developed an entire collection during her time at Mañana Ranch.

8. Pursue Grants, Fellowships, Prizes

Funding awarded based on merit helps offset expenses.

  • Research organizations aligned with your background and interests.
  • State arts councils, universities, libraries, civic groups offer poet prizes.
  • Awards range from hundreds to over $100k. Use to support projects.
  • Prestigious fellowships provide career validation.

Sandra Jun received a $5,000 grant from her city’s arts council to complete her poetry chapbook.

9. Recite at Corporate Events

Businesses will pay for original poetic entertainment.

  • Offer your services as a corporate entertainer.
  • Write lighthearted poems about company history, achievements, or values.
  • Tailor content to their brand voice. Perform at meetings, conferences, and celebrations.
  • Pitch unique offerings to HR departments. Rates from $500 to $5,000+.

The Lewis Group hired poet Patricia Lowe to engage employees at their annual conference.

10. Teach Poetry Writing Courses

Share your expertise with adult learners for pay.

  • Local libraries, colleges, schools, and community centers offer classes.
  • Propose teaching a 6-8 week workshop on poetry writing fundamentals.
  • Set course fee. Provide handouts and writing exercises.
  • Earn extra by selling your book to students.

Local educator Hank Boyd earns $3,000 annually teaching evening poetry workshops.

11. Submit Poems to Anthologies

Collections on specific themes accept member contributions.

  • Research anthologies related to your poetic niche like nature poetry, feminist perspectives, etc.
  • Follow submission guidelines closely. Tailor poems to the theme.
  • Payment is typically $25-$100 per accepted poem.
  • Include in bio to establish credibility.

Josie Lew submitted poems for 3 different anthologies last year, earning $175 total.

12. Judge Poetry Contests

Leverage your expertise to evaluate contest submissions.

  • Local libraries, schools, newspapers seek qualified judges.
  • Stipends range $200-$600 depending on contest scope.
  • Judge anonymously in 1-2 months. Provide constructive feedback.
  • Adds to resume. Network with community partners.

Retired educator Olivia Thompson picked up 2 ongoing judging gigs for children’s poetry contests.

13. Get Featured on Poem-a-Day Sites

Daily email poetry platforms pay for contributions.

  • Sites like Poetry Daily and The Writer’s Almanac accept member submissions.
  • Highlights your poem to their large subscriber base.
  • Compensation around $15-25 per acceptance.
  • Provides exposure and bragging rights.

Kim Levin has been featured on Poetry Daily multiple times.

14. Submit Poems to Greeting Card Companies

Earn royalties when your work is selected.

  • Research publishers like Hallmark, American Greetings, etc.
  • Follow submission guidelines closely. Align with their brand.
  • Send multiple poems to improve chances. Track responses.
  • Earn royalties of ~3-5% per sale if chosen. Ongoing passive income.

Brian Stone’s romantic poems were picked up by two greeting card companies last year.

15. Record Audiobooks or Podcasts

Get paid to read poetry aloud.

  • Turn your collection into an audiobook sold on Audible or iTunes.
  • Start a poetry podcast. Monetize with sponsorships or donations.
  • Record poems or readings for videos, online lessons, corporate use.
  • Negotiate $250+ per hour of studio time. Ongoing residual payouts.

Nikita Gupta earns $1,500 per month between her poetry podcast sponsorships and audio recordings.

16. Offer Critique Services

Charge aspiring poets for feedback on their work.

  • Set hourly rate for one-on-one coaching sessions.
  • Provide notes and line edits on structure, language, imagery.
  • Teach revision techniques during structured curriculum.
  • Start group workshops for added income.

Acclaimed poet Jacob Sharpe tutors up-and-coming writers for $80/hour.

17. Curate Reading Series

Organize public events showcasing multiple poets.

  • Partner with a bookstore or community venue.
  • Curate themes and invite poets to read. Mix local and brought-in talent.
  • Ticket sales split with venue. Sell merchandise.
  • Great way to build connections and following.

Samantha Morales earned $1,500 last year curating a quarterly poetry series.

18. Freelance Writing/Editing

Apply writing/editing skills more broadly.

  • Offer lyric writing for songs, hymns, raps, jingles.
  • Edit business, technical, or academic documents.
  • Check job boards for freelance writing and editing gigs.
  • Charge hourly or per project. Part time income.

When poetic inspiration lags, Helena Scott picks up corporate editing projects paying $50/hour.

19. Use Patreon for Ongoing Support

Fans fund creative work through recurring payments.

  • Reward supporters with exclusive content, classes, merchandise.
  • Set tiers from $3 to $50+ per month. Market to email list.
  • Send 5-10 updates monthly to retain patrons.
  • Residual income allows focusing on creating.

Patreon earns poet Natalie Chung $300/month through fan micro-subscriptions.

20. Sell Merchandise and Prints

Monetize your brand.

  • Create posters, mugs, bags, apparel with your poems and imagery.
  • Set up Shopify or Zazzle store. Advertise on site and social channels.
  • Price at 2-3X production cost. Fulfill orders as they come.
  • Small margin on each item, but volume adds up over time.

Brenda Wu began selling merchandise with her designs and slogans, earning an extra $400 per month.

21. Record Sponsored Social Media Posts

Earn money promoting products briefly.

  • Companies pay poets $100-500 to endorse products in short videos.
  • Ensure sponsorship aligns with your brand and values.
  • Balance with non-promotional content to retain authenticity.
  • Easy occasional income. Just disclose paid sponsorship.

Social media influencer Vick Allen earns thousands monthly creating branded content from home.

22. Enter Student Poetry Contests

Get paid for creating lesson plans incorporating your work.

  • Organizations like Scholastic sponsor student poetry awards.
  • Write an original poem and create standards-aligned curriculum.
  • Receive $250-$500 if selected, plus public recognition.
  • Schools nationwide implement your lesson plan.

Teacher Maya Subramaniam earned $300 by winning a national student poetry contest.

23. Give Paid Lectures or Readings

Get booked for speaking engagements on poetry.

  • Contact schools, libraries, community organizations about readings.
  • Propose workshops on poetic technique or famous poets.
  • Charge $250+ for in-person events, $100+ virtually.
  • Promote your book signings or merchandise sales.

Samantha Lee supplements her income with $650 per speech at literary events.

24. Write Reviews

Get free books and exposure in exchange for reviews.

  • Pitch poetry book reviews to literary publications and websites.
  • Negotiate keeping review copies. Build your library.
  • Review gigs pay $50-200 depending on length and platform.
  • Showcase your poetic insight to attract followers.

moonlighting reviewing contemporary poetry collections for various websites and magazines.

25. Enter Arts Contests

Contests beyond just poetry provide income opportunities.

  • Look for writing contests open to all genres, not just poetry.
  • Enter essay contests, short fiction challenges, songwriting competitions.
  • Follow guidelines closely. Tweak submissions based on form.
  • Adds diversity to your publication credits. More contest options!

Mark Chen entered a magazine personal essay contest on a whim and took second place, earning $300.

Let Your Passion Pay

As you can see, there are many ways for poetic wordsmiths to earn income today. It may require some hustle, but poets now have ample opportunities to profit from their passion. Whether through publishing poems, leveraging your skills for corporate clients, or simply sharing your love of poetry with others, you can find rewarding ways to let your passion pay.

Which idea resonates most? Try implementing 2-3 of these monetization strategies consistently this year. Stay encouraged, keep honing your craft, promote your work creatively, and you can build a sustainable career doing what you love. With commitment and creativity, poets can thrive financially while staying true to their artistic spirit.

Now get out there and let your passion pay! Wishing you success on your poetry monetization journey.