Freelance Poetry Writing Jobs

Kate Miller-Wilson
poetry writing

If you're interested in gaining exposure for your poetry and making some income from your work, there are a few different markets you can try. Magazines, greeting cards, jingle writing and acting as a poet-for-hire are ways talented poets may be able to make ends meet while you perfect and enjoy your craft.

Writing Poetry for Magazines

While it's easy to find magazines that hire freelance writers for articles and in-depth features, it's a little more challenging to find places that will pay to publish your poetry. Those markets are out there, however, and knowing where to send your work is the first step in getting one of these gigs. Magazines that publish poetry include:

  • Poetry - Poetry is the official magazine of the Poetry Foundation, and it has been publishing quality work for more than a century. Submit your best work that has not been previously published through their online submission system. They pay a minimum of $300 per poem.
  • Rattle - Publishing poetry with a modern edge, this journal encourages unsolicited manuscripts. You can submit four unpublished poems at a time through their submission system. Pay is $50 per poem if you're published online, and $100 per poem if it appears in print. If you have a poem accepted, you will be entered in their annual contest for a chance to win $1,000.
  • The New Yorker - This iconic magazine publishes poetry and accepts unsolicited works. You can submit up to six poems at a time for consideration. Submissions must be done online, and writers are not allowed to submit more than two times per year. They do not specify their rate of pay.
  • AGNI - This important literary journal published by Boston University accepts poetry submissions between September 1 and May 31 each year. They sometimes feature theme issues, and you can submit through their online system or through the mail. They pay $20 per page for poetry.
  • The Sun - Focused on personal experience and unique voices, The Sun is a great place to submit your unpublished work. They accept submissions only through the mail and pay $100 to $200 per accepted poem. Contributors also receive a one-year subscription to The Sun.
  • EPOCH - The official poetry journal of Cornell University, EPOCH encourages submission of high-quality, unpublished poems. They only accept submissions through the mail between September 15 and April 15 each year. There's a limit of five poems per envelope, and your submission should be addressed to the Poetry Editor. You'll also need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your submission. The magazine pays a minimum of $50 per published poem.
  • Crazyhorse - Accepting poetry submissions between September 1 through May 31 each year, with the exception of January, Crazyhorse is a good option if you have unpublished poems that seamlessly mesh form and content. They ask that you submit a set of 3 to 5 poems for consideration. You can submit online, and they pay $20 per published page, with a maximum of $200.

Crafting Advertising Jingles

Advertising jingles are a form of commercial poetry, which means that you will need to write with a specific external audience in mind. Advertising agencies sometimes hire poets on a freelance basis to work on jingles for their ad campaigns.

  • You can find these freelance jobs by marketing yourself directly to advertising agencies or by keeping an eye on postings at websites like Freelancer.com or Freelanced.com.
  • According to Get In Media, you'll have the best luck getting this type of poetry writing gig if you have training and previous work in the music industry, including audio engineering and music theory.

Creating Copy for Greeting Cards

Any trip down the card aisle at your nearest store provides evidence that there are a lot of greeting card writers out there. Greeting cards can offer a great way to publish your poetry and receive compensation for it, and they often work with freelancers. Learn about freelance greeting card submissions if you're interested in pursuing this type of work.

Becoming a Poet-for-Hire

poet for hire

If you are an entrepreneurial poet, you may want to consider creating your own their own niche freelance poetry writing company. Some poets-for-hire specialize in specific types of poetry, such as love poems, eulogies, or personalized sonnets. Others simply write whatever type of poem the client needs. Either way, you'll need to market yourself skillfully to establish a freelance business.

Tips to keep in mind include:

  • Create a website for yourself that showcases your work, details your fees, and includes recommendations from past clients.
  • Decide on your fees and make them clear to clients. You can charge anything from $5 a poem to $100 or more per piece, depending on what the market will bear.
  • Advertise your services. According to Writer's Digest, poet Aaron Belz places ads on Craigslist and makes a steady income as a poet-for-hire.
  • Get exposure. Consider setting up a table at a local fair, farmer's market, community picnic, or other events. Show off your work, and even write poetry for customers on the spot.
  • Consider advertising your services on Upwork or similar sites where clients look for poets.

To find more magazine opportunities, purchase or check out 2017 Poet's Market by Robert Lee Brewer. It retails for about $28 on Amazon.com.

Use Your Poetry Talents to Pay the Bills

No matter which freelance poetry writing market you choose to pursue, you'll find that it's immensely satisfying to be paid for your creative work. You may not be able to write a single poem and retire, but you'll love using your talents to help pay the bills.

Freelance Poetry Writing Jobs