Money is everywhere but so is poetry. What we lack are the poets.
The truth is no matter how we are aware of the poetry artistic value, writing poetry and therefore reading and buying it, is not popular as reality shows for examples. For most of the publishers the profit they make from publishing poetry is minor or almost non-existent.
When we think of earning money from our writings, we first think of traditional ways, like submitting to literally journals, and different contests where acquired attention and popularity can ultimately lead to publishing offers. In nowadays digital world, the rules of games are changing on the behalf of indie and self-publishing opportunities.
You can start a blog, publish your e-book or chapbook with very little investments but getting needed exposure might be hard. Today I want to share with you examples of successful poets who are doing things a little differently – and it actually pays off.
Explore the possibilities of Instagram
There are many young writers who are combining old typewriters, sentimental atmosphere and witty words to attract readers and viewers. Robert Macias, who goes by the name R.M. Drake, is one of them. He is a self-published writer, with over 1 million followers on Instagram, 16K on Twitter and over 20 000 likes on his Facebook page. His book Beautiful Chaos is one of the best-selling books in Amazon’s poetry category.
Robert was previously an art director, but now with his writing he is able to quit his job and only devote his time to writing. In an interview he gave, he is not very sure what pushed him forward in the poetry fame but he reckons that it might be related to his confessional writing.
The more I write things about myself the more that people relate to it..At least on social media, people want to expose how they’re feeling and things they’re going through and that’s what my writing does. It’s self-exploration and self-therapy.”
He likes his raw, uncensored approach and apparently his readership love that too!
Become next haiku guy/girl
This idea for poetry-writing business emerged when two college friends wanted to do an interview series about entrepreneurship. In Williamsburg they organized a little booth with aim to attract possible interviewers and in return they offered writing a short poem – haiku (since they both were quite artistic and eloquent). Very soon they got an assignment for yoga festival and that’s how haiku guys were born.
Charging between $200 and $250 per hour, The Haiku Guys are able to earn some dissent money by writing poems at events, especially since they sometimes attend up to six a week.
If you are a poet, maybe you can also offer custom-made poems for events, performances and ext.
Publish your poems beyond paper and digital world
This last example is about non-profit organization, but they are doing so diverse and inspirational projects that by far they are my favorite.
The Red Room Company is dedicated to creating unusual and useful poetry projects that positively transform expectations of, and experiences with poetry. Through imaginative projects and learning programs they aspire to make poetry accessible to all, especially those who face the greatest barriers to creative opportunities. Organization is located in Australia and is mostly directed on affirming Australian poets.
One of the projects I really liked is Dust Poems with unique aim to deliver 6 perspectives of the road, both from professional poets and professional truck drivers, exploring their experiences of driving across the country.
Original copies of poems were hidden in 5 locations throughout the Sydney Olympic Park which the public could find through an interactive online map. An ongoing installation of the poems, as well as audio and visual material was displayed in Sydney Park between March and July 2009.
I think this is very creative, fun and imaginative way of using poetry while creating unique experiences for both the readers and poets. Now, what’s interesting is that in order to popularize poetry we can step out of conventional ways and publish poetry elsewhere. Like small company from the Netherlands, Plint: they print poetry on different objects like tea towels, mugs, boards and pillows. And with the possibilities of Internet you can publish your own poetry on the objects you choose, by using zazzle.com or cafepress.com services. Initial investment is small and you can outreach for more readership this way.
I hope you find this ideas interesting and that ultimately can help you, if you are a writer – to create a valid business model.
Rich or Poor by William Henry Davies
With thy true love I have more wealth
Than Charon’s piled-up bank doth hold;
Where he makes kings lay down their crowns
And life-long misers leave their gold.
Without thy love I’ve no more wealth
Than seen upon that other shore;
That cold, bare bank he rows them to –
Those kings and misers made so poor.