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10 Ways to Make a Living as a Poet

Updated on April 28, 2012

10 to get you started

1. write poems for mega successful web sites (wink)

2. write zingy 'poems' for advertising

3. write poems for manufacturers

4. write custom poems for people sell to them via the web

5. collaborate with a songwriter, band, music publisher

6. hire an editor & publish your own book using POD technology

7. syndicate your poems with lots of small newspapers

8. get the base degree, the Masters, the phd & get a job teaching creative writing

9. after doing ALL of number 8 get the book published via your contacts

10. podcast and blog your poetry for free & depend on the collateral revenue

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Elaboration #1 write poems for mega successful web sites (wink)

As internet penetration increases and the web overtakes print media it is reasonable to postulate that major web sites will have their own poet laureates, i.e. a poet that writes exclusively for them. The poet will weave human and esoteric elements into the fabric of the site and chronicle its impact on users lives thus providing a historical snapshot.

#2. write zingy 'poems' for advertising

good advertising copy falls under the category of poetry, think of all those memorable lines you remember. Like Haiku if you can condense product attributes and benefits into a few words then start sending it to agencies.

#3. write poems for manufacturers

similar to writing for Ad Agencies except that you go direct to the manufacturer. Poetic form is loose, can you write something that exerts emotional appeal, that reads well, that flows, that holds attention and resonates long afterwards.

#4. write custom poems for people sell to them via the web

people need poems, poems capture an emotion floating on the surface and render it into something others can appreciate. Organic growth will bring revenue over time if what you write is popular with your customers (and competitively priced). Somewhere out there is someone who needs to say...

...I love you Mary, even when your legs are hairy....

#5. collaborate with a songwriter, band, music publisher

two routes here

A. work with what you perceive as an upcoming band who are able to use the communications technology. Look at song writing techniques and how a poem needs to be moulded to work as a song. In my opinion there is a fine line between great song lyrics and poems.

B. hook up with someone known for their ability to write music and jointly produce songs, submit these to established bands and publishers.

# 6. hire an editor & publish your own book using POD technology

Why do I need an editor you say ? well poems are always good, bad and ugly and someone other than the poet needs to 'select' those poems that have maximum appeal and that are more finished than the rest.

I've a little Hub on POD, Print on Demand

#7. syndicate your poems with lots of small newspapers

there is still a role for the small newspaper since it remains a buying habit or may well be a local institution, especially among the older population. Not all subjects are suitable for syndication i.e. you write a poem and it is carried by a number of papers each of whom pay you a small sum.

#8. get the base degree, the Masters, the phd & get a job teaching creative writing

the traditional route, not only do you get to 'learn' about all kinds of writing if you are lucky you get paid to tell other people about it. Ok so there is a lot of BS&T from one end to the other, same old story, writing is a job, it is a profession no matter how you approach it.

#9. after doing ALL of number 8 get the book published via your contacts

get all your degrees and a nice position and then leverage your contacts to get a book deal or handle all the publishing on your own. This will take years and also assumes that you have some talent in the first place. you could of course start this activity concurrent with the degree, saves years !!

#10. podcast and blog your poetry for free & depend on the collateral revenue

given the state of play in blogsphere and social space you could be famous in a matter of weeks, months (don't forget me if you are). Do you have the determination it takes to get up every day in face of rejection and ridicule and keep doing it until you make a success of it, or at least until you achieve your own personal goals. Take the occasional reality / humility tablet and Remember the old cliche;-

...when the horse is dead you have to get off it...

A Little bit Extra

thats what it takes, a little bit extra,

can you see yourself spending the money you made last week, month, year from writing ?

can you see yourself holding the book with the your name on it ?

do you feel more alive working with poetry ?

can you plan and execute a strategy ?

can you trudge along in the downtimes or does a passing car take your attention ?

you could mark yourself out of 100, 20 for each point and then think about the results, are you in the good, bad or ugly category. good is great, ugly has potential.. bad is just bad.

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    • sobatinyela profile image

      sobatinyela 10 years ago from Dallas

      Enter a comment

      Drax,

      even a dirge has lyrics, and i have read several of yours. quite a bit of material in a week. check back, i will post some poetry as soon as i write some more.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 10 years ago from NYC....

      Sobatinyela, I've been writing 10/12 years so some of the poems are from the cellar, but almost everything is written on the run this last week or so. The Hub is a nice growing medium for a poet...

      Drax

    • profile image

      Brenda 10 years ago

      Poetry - seems to have so many constrictions. I don't believe it should. We are all grown people that read it and can decipher for ourselves the artistic beauty of a apiece of work or whether it belongs on the steps of failure. However, realize there are critics beyond ourselves that are due their opionion, one way or the other. It should be in the end whether it is art or not by societies choices, but "all of Society" should have their voices ecchoed as loudly. Art is an ever breathing entitiy brought on by society's acceptance or neglect thereof. Don't dismiss one piece of art because it has no claim to poltical mischief, but render it more thought for future insights among those that are willing to hear. Feel, Listen, Hear, and then choose your art intelligently.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 10 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Brenda, well said, Robert Creeley said that William Carlos Williams defined artistic merit perfectly in his 1944 book 'The Wedge': WCW said;-

      "When a man makes a poem, makes it, mind you, he takes words as he finds them, interrelated about him and composes them . . . It isn't what he says that counts as a work of art, it's what he makes, with such intensity of perception that it lives with an intrinsic movement of its own to verify its authenticity . . . There is no poetry of distinction without formal invention, for it is in the intimate form that works of art achieve their exact meaning."

    • profile image

      Joe Brautouac 10 years ago

      Thank you.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 10 years ago from NYC....

      sorry missed responding to this Joe, it's great if you found it useful... tell a friend...

      Drax

    • NightFlower profile image

      NightFlower 10 years ago

      Okay I'm glad I came into your hub. This is helpful. Thanks

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 10 years ago from NYC....

      that's great Nightflower, it's good that it was of some help to you....thank you ..Drax

    • Goga profile image

      Goga 10 years ago from Novosibirsk

      Are making our planet, a poets and a kings.

      By different of living they they are improve things.

      In 1986 on the non-IBM personal computer, japan Yamaha KYBT1/2 (it have just 2 Z-80 processors, like in Spectrum) i so a very strong computer "poet program".

      What do you think about quality of computer-made poems?

    • Contribution profile image

      Contribution 9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this, this is a somewhat new world to me, very interesting to read about.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 9 years ago from NYC....

      Hey Contribution thanks....

      every day you get out of bed you have to say to yourself I am a poet, writer, singer.... whatever creative path you choose... of course the rest of the3 world will try to divert, convert you... the hell with them...

      ..Drax...

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 9 years ago from NYC....

      Hey Contribution thanks....

      every day you get out of bed you have to say to yourself I am a poet, writer, singer.... whatever creative path you choose...

      of course the rest of the world will try to divert, convert you... the hell with them... they are not your friend, in the end there is only your art...

      ..Drax...

    • writemyown profile image

      writemyown 9 years ago

      thanks great hub very helpful

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 9 years ago from NYC....

      Hi writemyown thanks very much... it is great that it was of some help to you...

      ..Drax..

    • profile image

      Windy 8 years ago

      The consummate starving artists are we poets, writers, painters...

      Daily we seek justification and validation for choosing the struggle over the sure.

      To add to what Drax says, if you fancy yourself a writer, own the title. Make up your mind that you are indeed a poet or author of the written word. Then utilize all sources possible for recognition and publication. Set about actively building a resume; building a body of work.

      Yes, this road is fraught with bumps and pot holes and those who will cruely dismiss your abilities. Don't take them to heart personally. To each his own. Tastes and needs vary. Don't let a little criticism bog you down. Process what's constructive and toss ignorance out with the trash.

      I encourage anyone to become active in the arts community in their area. Go to poetry readings, book signings, art shows and fine arts gatherings. Be your best eclectic self, and don't be afraid to shake hands and kiss...um...babies? Well, you get the idea. Make some simple business cards and take them with you everywhere. They come in handy at those types of events.

      Good luck all.....

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 8 years ago from NYC....

      Hey Patricia, thanks very much for the great comment.

      Folks, this is really what it is about, see yourself in the role, George Eliot (aka Mary Ann (Marian) Evans) said;-

      "It is never too late to be what you might have been. "

      Drax

    • bludstream profile image

      bludstream 7 years ago

      Thank you for your insights. I am a songwriter and therefore a poet.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 7 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Bludstream... great name and thanks for the comments...

      Regards

      Drax

    • junv profile image

      junv 7 years ago from Iloilo City, Philippines

      hi there, nice hub ;)

      i've written some poetry too in my hub.

      carpe diem! =p

    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 7 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      Very useful tips...

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 7 years ago from NYC....

      thanks for the nice comments folks :-)

    • Sa`ge profile image

      Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

      Thank you Drax, very good info and advise here.~ Aloha~

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Sa`ge... thanks... very glad this info is still of some benefit or use to visitors...

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Three years have passed and your royalties should fuel many sites Drax... If Only they had followed your fine advice here.... that should also be relevant in another three years... though with less available keywords... lol. Nicely done.. thanks for sharing the gift.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      @Pearldiver... alas if I had followed my own advice... now I should be on a Greek island... :-)

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

      I was impressed by the top ten list, but then you gave detailed and highly insightful breakdowns of each one. No wonder this hub is a favorite. This rocks, mate. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

    • gulnazahmad profile image

      gulnazahmad 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Great ways to earn as a poet. I have also written few poems and I think I must also work on your guidelines. Keep writing!!!! Thanks for sharing it.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      @Doug... sorry late responding to this but

      I am working flat out on launching my own publishing house... www.halabatuchi.com

      thanks very much for the great comment...

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Gulnazahmad... thanks very much for the comment and support.. it is great...

    • richtwf profile image

      richtwf 6 years ago

      A very useful hub and thanks for sharing this great advice.

      Cheers!

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Richtwf... thanks for the comment..

    • profile image

      Charles Martel 6 years ago

      Thank you, most useful -- I'm going to your POD hub next!

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Charles.. thanks, I must try to update these and add more soon...

    • Majadez profile image

      Maja Dezulovic 6 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      Useful hub. Thanks.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Majadez... thanks :-)

    • samiaali profile image

      samiaali 6 years ago

      Hi Drax, This is a great hub! Thank you for all the great information! :)

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Samiaali.. thanks for the comment... :-)

    • northweststarr profile image

      northweststarr 6 years ago from Washington State

      It's a jingle, jangle world. Will be checking out your site! Happy hubbing.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 6 years ago from NYC....

      Hi Northweststarr... more jangle than jingle mostly.... :-) thanks for the comment...

    • profile image

      ExoticHippieQueen 6 years ago

      Thanks, Drax. Always need suggestions and new ideas. Voted up and useful!

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 5 years ago from Lagos

      Well, getting poets paid for their perseverance and hardwork continues to be a big problem. I have resigned, waiting for my time to come. I sure believe that we deserve more. Bless you

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      Ubanichijioke... thank you for the comment... you cannot wait, the situation everywhere is too dire... you must fight and struggle for your voice and for others to be heard... Thanks You..

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Drax, great advice and useful suggestions. I have collaborated with a few different artists/photographers throughout the years and it's been a great experience. Submitting work requires a lot of time, patience and perseverance, but one good contact can make a difference.

      I like your previous comment. One must keep focused on their journey through life. Thanks for sharing these useful suggestions!

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      rebekahELLE... thanks very much for the comment... I'm not sure it is all about the contacts.. more the content... since if one can create then somewhere sometime down the road it will be appreciated..

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      I-9 has gotten me thrown out on the street, number ten aint' workin' that great either

      cheers

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      Hey goego... that is almost good, now you have to go back and start over at number 1... that is the way it works... the cycle :-)

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      truth hurts... but yes you are correct

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      Very good Goego... thanks !! did you ever read Basho ? it is all about the path, all else is irrelevant..

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      not yet but thanks for the directions :)

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      A bee

      staggers out

      of the peony.

      so nice

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 5 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      You forgot the 2 big money makers:

      writing greeting cards

      and

      winning the HubPages poetry contest.

      Cheers

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      @Goego

      but he also said...

      "Do not forget the plum,

      blooming

      in the thicket."

      Basho

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      @WriterFox..

      no..

      that was no3 for the cards

      and no1 for the fantastically successful Hubpages.. ;-)

      Thanks...

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      Jam :)

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      and home made bread is delicious... thanks Goego :-)

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      That is really nice ways to make a living with a poetry..Nice hub

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      @htodd ..thanks very much for the comment :-)

    • cruelkindness profile image

      cruelkindness 5 years ago from an angle view.

      Well started number 1....

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      oh god... cruelkindness... I am looking at this now and wondering is it a compliment...lol but thanks regardless.. :-) and apologies for the delay in responding I don't see how I missed this..

    • smga22 profile image

      smga22 5 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Useful Information.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 5 years ago from NYC....

      Thanks Sm(a)ga !

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      Great Hub Drax. Poet.ie is certainly a crown jewel. I wish you the best of luck in your quest.

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 4 years ago from NYC....

      Gerry... sorry for the slow response, I missed this comment. Yes the poet.ie is a gem. I must really make an effort to do more with it and to open it up to other poets in some way... thanks again.. :-)

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

      No bother. I've been so preoccupied with offline life myself that I hardly notice the online events.

    • Linda Cassini profile image

      Linda Cassini 4 years ago from Las Vegas NV

      Poetry...a storyline of musical reading ..rhyme with reason, you disclosed it well :)

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 4 years ago from NYC....

      @Gerry.. the problem is when it starts to blur :-)

    • Drax profile image
      Author

      des donnelly 4 years ago from NYC....

      @Linda.. apologies missed this comment so belated thanks :-)

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