Poetry books are growing in popularity, and it is possible to make money from them if you know what you are doing. So how do poetry books make money, and what do you need to know?

Poetry books can make money if you have the right publisher, or you can publish them yourself. Some of your earnings might go to the publisher, but their expertise and connections may be worth the cost. You also need to know your target audience to successfully promote your book.

This article has four things you need to know about making money with poetry books. Then, we have some alternative ways you can earn money from your poetry book. 

4 Things To Know About Making Money With Poetry Books

Poetry books can make money, but there are four important things you need to know before you can sell your poetry book and make enough money off of it to be worth the effort.

1. Find the Right Publisher

You need to find a publisher that you think will benefit your book and sales and one that wants to work with you. Do your research and start pitching your book to publishers you would be open to working with. 

If you can show the publisher why your poetry book will be successful, they will be more likely to work with you. You can show this by highlighting who will buy your book and if you have an audience for your work already, like on a website or through social media.

2. You Need To Pay Your Publisher

Once you have a publisher, you will have to pay them a cut of your profits for their help publishing your book. 

It may not sound like something you want to do with money from your poetry book, but the publisher helped you produce and sell your book, so they get the earnings determined in the contract. 

Their payout is usually based on the number of books sold, with bonuses for certain numbers sold or awards won. 

3. You Can Self-Publish

If you cannot find the right publisher for your poetry book, or you don’t want to have to pay some of your earnings to a publisher, you can publish your poetry book. You need to have a lot of knowledge and time to publish your own book, and it can be difficult if you have no experience in publishing. 

But, the benefit is that you keep up to 100% of the profits from your sales since there is no publishing company earning commissions. Another benefit of self-publishing your poetry book is that you can design it and format it how you like, which is important in poetry.

Furthermore, you can publish your book as a digital version which is easier and cheaper since you do not have to produce physical copies of the book. Then, if you successfully sell it online, you can spend time self-publishing it as a physical book. 

Or, you can use high digital sales as a way to convince a publishing company to work with you.

4. Know Your Audience

Even after completing the other steps, you still need to know your audience. If you want to sell your book, the best way to promote it is by knowing your audience. 

For example, if you want to sell to a young audience, social media will be a huge part of your promotions. Or, you may want to advertise your book in magazines geared toward older people for an older audience. 

If your target audience is not aware of your poetry book, you will not be very successful in selling it. A publisher can help you find and sell to your target audience, and they may have ways to advertise your book. 

They can help you advertise through other books they publish or events they hold, or promotional events. They can also send your book to bookstores and reviewers to review and get the name out there. 

Alternative Ways To Make Money off Your Poetry

If you’re not sure that selling a poetry book is the best way to make money from your work or want something to supplement your book, there are some alternative ways to make money off your poetry. 

  • Sell your poetry to a magazine. They will pay you for a poem or a set of poems that they publish in an issue of their magazine. While you will not have as many poems published, it is an option. However, it will help you reach a bigger audience and target poetry lovers who are more likely to become fans of your work.
  • Sell your poetry online. Similar to magazines paying you to use your poem, there are online websites that will do the same. You can also create your own website to show off your poetry. You can post it for free and make money with ads or have paid content on your site. There is also a way to combine the two, so everyone can see some of your poetry, and only your paid readers can see all of it. 
  • Find performances or speaking events where you can read some of your poetry. If you have a book or other way to sell your work, you can promote it at the event. And you will get paid to perform the poetry, so it could be a dual way to make money from your poetry.

Final Thoughts

You can make money from poetry books if you have a publisher who understands your needs and you think can help you sell your book. You will share the profits with them, but you can avoid this if you want to self-publish your book. 

If you want to get good sales, you need to get your book published and promoted and ensure your target audience is aware of it. If they don’t know about your poetry book, they can’t buy it.


Oliver Adams

Letter Review was founded by Oliver Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Oliver Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. He has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.