In the past, publishing poetry chapbooks had two primary options: paying a self-publishing press to print your book of poetry or finding the rare publisher interested in publishing poetry. Opportunities for publishing poetry were either costly or extremely difficult to find. The Internet has generated new options for publishing poetry.
Self-publishing is no longer limited to ebooks and paying a self-publishing press. When doing research on the new self-publishing markets, I was astounded at how easy it is. Amazon has catered to emerging talent. Writers can upload works to Amazon’s affiliate publishing-on-demand service provider, Createspace.
Writers no longer have to pay for an inventory of books. The books uploaded to Createspace are published as they are purchased. Createspace pays the authors royalties for books purchased. Authors may choose to pay nothing upfront or sign up for the Pro Plan. The Pro Plan enters the book into an expanded distribution channel for a one-time fee of $39 and $5 annual fee. The author receives a slightly higher royalty and has the chance for books to be sold in bookstores with the Pro Plan. Whichever plan writers choose, they have the opportunity to purchase their own books at a discount.
Amazon’s Kindle is another self-publishing option. A poet can create a chapbook in PDF format with a grayscale cover design and upload the book to Kindle’s Digital Text Platform. The book will be available for sale on the Kindle section of Amazon. There are no set up fees. The author receives royalties for the books sold.
No matter which publication option a poet chooses, making money with poetry is no easy task. Many scams prey on a poet’s desire to see a poem that they lovingly and often painstakingly crafted on the printed page. With a little homework on real options, publishing poetry has never been easier.
Poets may also want to consider using numerous avenues of publication and marketing to make the most of their poetry. Zazzle is a unique website that allows creative people to design t-shirts, tote bags, mousepads, mugs, and much more. A short poem with a relevant nature photo or art may bring in extra money in this format.
Perhaps, making money from poetry isn’t quite as difficult as commonly believed, but requires additional creativity to find additional markets to generate sales. Websites and free self-publishing options make it extremely easy, but poets must also market the poetry to sell the books or get clicks on their websites.
In addition to these methods, poetry chapbook competitions still offer a chance at publication. Since typically only the first prize chapbook is published, this option is not within the poet’s control. However, winning placement in contests gives credibility and status to a poet. For more information on poetry contests for chapbooks and individual poems, please visit my poetry contest blog.
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