Get Paid to Write Poetry: 14 Markets for Freelance Writers

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Want to get paid to write poetry?

If that sounds like a far-fetched idea, you aren’t completely off base. After all, you’re not going to get paid to write poetry for most magazines, trade pubs, businesses, or blogs.

However, it’s not impossible to land poetry jobs, get paid for your prose, and even get a byline for publishing poetry.

Should you quit your day job solely to pursue poetry jobs? Probably not. But you can consider writing poetry as one way to earn an income as a freelance writer.

But can you actually get paid to write poetry? Yes. I’ve written poetry for a long list of publications, and ultimately published a book of poetry. It’s not the only way I make a living writing, but submitting poems for money is certainly one of my income streams.

How Much Can You Get Paid to Write Poetry?

Are you going to make a ton of money on poetry jobs? No. Only a few people have actually done that. But most poets write poems for other reasons than just hoping for boatloads of money.

If you want to get paid to write poetry, you can reasonably expect between $1.50 to $300 per poem.

While that might not sound like a lot, compared to copywriting or other writing markets, getting your poetry published can be a stepping stone for bigger things. The more you write and publish your poetry, the more you build up a portfolio of work. And consistently submitting poems for money could turn into a book deal, which is what happened to me.

The reality is if you want to make a full-time income writing, you’ll need to do more than just poetry.

No matter what freelance writing market you work in, don’t forget you can access over 300 hours of courses and interact with a community of 1,500+ supportive writers who want to help you make more money by becoming a Den member.

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Where to Find Poetry Jobs

If you want to tap into your more creative side, write poetry, and learn how to make money writing, check out these 14 poetry markets to get started.

1-2. 50 Haikus & Three Line Poetry

These two journals, run by the same editors, regularly welcome new writers. They look for short lines with meaning. They also reprint your poem in an anthology.

  • Charge to submit: none
  • Rates: $1.50 per poem + a subscription

 3. The American Journal of Nursing 

A nursing journal that publishes poetry? Yes. The American Journal of Nursing publishes poems about health and health care, but not necessarily nursing. I actually help screen submissions for this publication. And I ask this question of every poem I judge: “Would this poem appeal to nurses?”

  • Charge to submit: none
  • Rates: $150 per poem job

4. The Antigonish Review

This is a lovely literary journal published in Canada. It doesn’t have an agenda about edgy vs. formal poetry, but the guidelines do say “expect. . .work to be considered within the full context of old and new poetry.” They only accept submissions through the link above, so don’t try to email your poems.

  • Charge to submit: $2.00
  • Rates: $5 per page (up to 5 pages) + plus two copies

5. Arts & Letters

This highly-regarded poetry journal based at Georgia University specifically encourages emerging poets and writers to submit their work for consideration.

  • Charge to submit: $3
  • Rates: $10 per printed page (minimum payment: $50), +  one contributor copy + a one-year subscription.

6. New Letters

New Letters writers and poets frequently win tons of rewards, and the editors are a pleasure to work with. This publication prefers to work with writers and poets “waiting to be discovered.” Plus, New Letters publishes a range of styles and subject matter.

  • Charge to submit: none
  • Rates: Minimum pay for poetry is $12 plus. More for multi-page poems, but pay often exceeds those minimums. Payment to contributors also includes two copies of the issue and 40 percent discounts for additional copies and subscriptions.

7. Poetry Magazine

If you’ve spent any time trying to publish poetry, you’re probably familiar with this publication. It’s the authority mag on poetry that publishes established and new writers.

Study the mag, and pitch your poetry. This is the top journal in the field. Crack this mag, and you’ll both earn top pay and build your credibility as a poet.

Just know that you’ll need to be patient. They say it can take 8 months for them to get back to you after you’ve submitted your poem. So if you’re looking to get paid to write poetry right this instant, look elsewhere.

  • Charge to submit: none
  • Rates: $10 per line with a minimum payment of $300

8. Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons calls itself a magazine of speculative fiction, but it also publishes fantasy and science fiction along with slipstream poetry.

  • Charge to submit: none
  • Rates: $50 per poem job, regardless of length or complexity.

9-14. Cricket Media’s Various Journals

Cricket Media publishes a series of six journals that feature children’s poetry for different ages. These poetry journals include Ladybug, Cricket, Babybug, Spider, Cricket, and Cicada.

Want to get paid to write poetry (or essays or short stories) for one of these journals? Check the site for the editorial calendar, themes, and submission deadlines.

  • Charge to submit: none
  • Rates: up to $3 per line; $25.00 minimum

Rules for Writing Poetry

If you want to get paid to write poetry, some basic rules apply, just like writing for consumer mags or trade pubs. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t put your poem on your blog. Journals want to know they are the first place that has published your piece, and they consider blogs and public social media as publications. So, feel free to send your poem to friends for fun and feedback, but don’t go public.
  • Hone your craft. Many people feel inspired to write poetry in times of great emotion, but don’t just write poetry during those times. Spend time honing your craft and revising and editing your work, just like you would for any other type of professional writing.
  • Read the journal. Most journals have quite a few sample poems on their website. Read it. Study it. Get a sense of the type of poetry it publishes to make sure your work is a good fit.
  • Follow directions. Poetry editors can be very picky about their submission guidelines. Do not be the poet that doesn’t follow the guidelines and is disqualified from a technicality.

And finally, write for the love of poetry. I would argue any great writing has to have you in it—your passion, your struggles—but poetry even more so. If you are only writing a poem to get paid, I suspect it won’t be good enough to meet that goal.

Instead, write the poem you must write, and find the right journal for it.

What poetry jobs markets have you written for?

Looking for More Help?

While most people aren’t able to make a living by writing poetry, if you love poetry don’t let that stop you!

If you are looking for more help publishing poetry, check out these expert tips: How to Publish Poetry: A Published Poet’s Methods

Looking to publish short stories instead? We’ve compiled a list for that too! Where to Submit Short Stories: 30 Magazines and Online Publications

Deborah Bacharach is the author of After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Press, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in five of the journals listed above.

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