Poetry is a form of art that allows writers to express themselves in eclectic, even experimental ways. Although modern poetry publishing is known to be low- or non-paying, it can be lucrative for writers who are willing to try new methods to market and share their work. There are ways to earn money for the poetry you write by engaging in online promotion, book self-publishing and setting up a poem shop.
Think about what kinds of poems you might be able to write for paying customers. Poem categories to consider include graduations, weddings and birthdays, as well as any personalised or special occasion poems the customer may desire. Choose a few sample poems to post so potential customers can see the kind of work you do.
Set up an engaging website to serve as your online "poem shop." List the kinds of poetry you write and your writing background and experience. Include your sample poems. Visit Weebly.com or Blogspot.com to set up an easy-to-use, interactive website through one of their free accounts. Weebly provides a straightforward drag-and-drop site builder that includes many templates, while Blogspot.com functions as more of a blog with several widgets and pages. Place your sample poems on one page, your biography and experience on another and reserve a third page for a PayPal purchasing button.
Visit PayPal.com to register for a free account. Have your bank account and contact information on hand. Look for "Merchant Services" on the PayPal site. List "poem" in the product field and insert your price beside it. You can list several different types of poems if they have different prices. Copy the code that PayPal provides and paste it into an HTML box on the page you reserved for the PayPal button. Entering the HTML code will create the button.
Promote your website by sending the link to friends and family. Ask them to pass the word around. Use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to garner more potential customers. Let people know that you customise your poetry to their needs and that you write for specific occasions and seasons, such as birthdays, holidays and graduation.
Self-publish a book and sell it to your community, friends and fellow authors. According to "Poets & Writers Magazine," many poets self-publish their books rather than seek traditional publishing companies. Decide which kinds of poetry you want to publish and format these poems into a manuscript.
Visit websites for self-publishing services such as CreateSpace.com or Lulu.com and research their self-publishing packages. Both CreateSpace and Lulu provide free services, and authors pay only for their proof copies when the book is ready to be published. Authors also pay a discounted price for additional copies. Lulu offers a poetry package for their authors, and CreateSpace offers distribution on popular sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble through their Pro Package. Authors set their own book prices. Both sites create a web page for your book in their online store, including a purchase button. The online store handles the shipping to the customer. Choose a self-publisher based on your needs and budget.
Upload your book manuscript to the website of the self-publishing service you've chosen. Read and follow the service's guidelines for formatting and uploading a manuscript.
Promote your new poetry book through social networking. Visit Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and join author and poetry reader groups. Let everyone know what your book is about and where it can be purchased.