Unarguably, promoting poetry can feel daunting or even impossible. With so many poets working to be seen or have their work published, it can feel like there isn’t room for you in today’s competitive market. Permit me to rewire your perspective.
Marketing yourself as a poet may be a daunting task, but there are strategic steps you can take to be a successful poetprenuer, have your voice heard, put your name in print and tattooed in the hearts of every generation.
Networking is vital in every business endeavour; this also should apply to poetry writing, publishing and marketing. Although your talent as a writer is important to overall success, persistent consistency and most importantly, networking can help you gain exposure from various media outlets, such as radio, local newspaper, e-magazines/journals, and spoken word poetry gigs. These exposures may even lead to more demands for your work in eBook or paperback.
Not sure how to get started? Here are some networking suggestions:
- Join a local writer’s group: Getting together with others who share your passion for writing poetry is motivating, inspiring, and a great way to build connections. These groups might also offer workshops and public speaking opportunities, like open mic nights, art festivals, invites to perform in public events, etc. Your community doesn’t have a writer’s group? Start one yourself! Writers groups/clubs are so important to the growth and development of writers and poets and a great way to expose yourself to more diversity and art while also marketing yourself.
- Maintain an author website. You are going to want to direct someone interested in your work to a specific place where your books can be easily purchased/downloaded. Creating a website helps showcase who you are and acts as your portfolio, highlighting the various places you have been published or your projects that are in process, and also serves as a repo of your creative works. Add an email list for readers to subscribe to receive updates on your work, news of what’s to come, or access to new poems before anyone else to build your audience as well.
FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER
Facebook Instagram and Twitter have become a hub for poets, largely due to its accessibility and the success of poets we all know and love like Rupi Kaur. This is a great place to start marketing yourself as a poet.
Posting simply beautiful graphics of your poems on Facebook and Instagram and posting micro poems on Twitter will help you build an audience and how to engage with that audience. It can also help you understand what your niche is. If you are hoping to publish a collection of poems someday, publishers will need to know how to market your work. For example, if you can say that your work is about feminism or self-love or authenticity or surrender or resilience or hurt or identity crisis, you might be more likely to sell your collection. If self-publishing is on your radar, the audience you build through Instagram and Twitter might be some of the first buyers of your book.
Create your personal brand, collaborate with other writers, define who you are as a poet, all while captivating an audience through this social media platform.
PUBLISH YOUR WORK IN LITERARY JOURNALS
With every new publication on literary journals, you gain a new badge. Each time your bio appears in a literary magazine, your reputation as a writer and poet grow. Readers who see your poems in a literary journal might want to purchase your book or follow you on Instagram and Twitter. Being published is also a great self-confidence boost. While you don’t need to be published to consider yourself a poet, this type of validation always feels good and can lead to more exposure and opportunities down the road.
DO PUBLIC READINGS
While this might sound intimidating, spoken word events and public readings can really boost your reputation. You can start one in your city. Start slow with open mic. Open mics are very inclusive, supportive events, without pressure and with lots of positive reinforcement.
Once you’ve built your confidence, you might be able to find opportunities to read solo. Speak with the directors of open mic events to let them know you are a poet and would be interested in doing a special reading. If you’ve published a book or chapbook, show the directors a copy. If you don’t have a book but your work has appeared in journals and magazines, inform them of these as well. You could even offer to distribute pamphlets of your poems to them on the reading day. You never know what connections you could make, what opportunities could follow, or who you will inspire with your poetry. Just do it.