How to Become a Published Poet in the 21st Century

Creating poetry is how your body, mind, and soul communicate with the outside world. It’s the visual manifestation of your intangible feelings and thoughts that were initially made for your own eyes. But sharing that level of intimacy to the world beyond your own can be your purpose as a poet.

Poetry is something that you are exposed to at an early age. The words of William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, or Edgar Allan Poe may ring around your head as if they were your own because you have heard them many times throughout your life. As such, you dream of becoming like them one day.

Writing can be a way to keep your passion alive, but it’s also a viable career that many people have considered, albeit choosing literary fiction over poetry. To borrow the words of renowned poet Robert Frost, “(you) took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Making your mark on the world as a self-made poet can be difficult, but not impossible. With the available platforms and resources at your fingertips, choosing not to publish your written works may seem foolish. Here are three methods to turn yourself into a published poet in the 21st century:

The Traditional Method

The age-old process to becoming a published author is by partnering with an established publishing house. These publishers are behind most of what you can often see on the bestselling shelves at brick-and-mortar bookstores or in the many book advertisements circulating on social media.

Offering the rights to your book to your publisher is how you can become a published author without shouldering any publication-related expenses. Once your book is ready to be disseminated for public consumption, your publisher’s job is to decide the title, design the cover, choose where the books will be sold, and control the sales.

Many authors have made their mark in the world by partnering with established publishing houses that have brought them fame and success. It can be difficult to find one who will put their trust in you and believe in your work, but it can be gratifying in the end.

The Contemporary Method

Since the traditional publishing method doesn’t work for everyone, many up-and-coming authors have turned to self-publishing to get their writings out to the world. Self-publishing is the process of publishing your work from start to finish without the help of an established publishing house.

reading a book

This can include creating your own covers, finding editors to work on your book, and distributing the books to the public. You can choose to self-publish your poetry collection if you want full control of your profits and rights, which are the two things you lose when you work with an established publisher.

Self-publishing can be done in two ways: assisted or completely on your own. For the first method, you can work with a firm that can help you with publication-related processes but will give you full control of your profits and rights. The latter method’s weight is placed heavily on your shoulders, but you can always seek assistance from freelancers to help you self-publish.

The Social Media Method

With the rising popularity of social media platforms, many poets have turned to upload their content on these free sharing websites for public consumption. Their main goal is to expand their readership and achieve a following, particularly with the hopes of increasing their fan base before they publish their books.

This style of poetry is called “instapoetry” and the authors are called “instapoets” because their work mainly exists on social media platforms like Instagram, where it can be easily consumed and accessed by their readers. Unlike the other methods of publishing, the social media method is more focused on gaining viewership than profits.

Most instapoetry is short in nature and combined with artistic imagery. Long-form poems that cannot be placed on top of photographs are usually posted as a caption, with a prominent line or stanza included in the photo as a highlight of the poem.

This method of publishing isn’t the most profitable if you’re planning to create a career out of it. Still, it can be an effective marketing strategy to establish your name in the industry before you decide to publish. It can be a good way to test the waters and see if your work has the potential to click with your audience.

Becoming a published poet in the 21st century isn’t impossible, but there are many obstacles to achieving success. However, if you want to become the next Shakespeare and have your words quoted by the future generations long after you’re gone, then you shouldn’t let those obstacles hinder you from showing the world your true potential as a writer.

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