View Full Version : What's the most you've been paid for a poem?

07-04-2005, 01:03 AM
Poetry markets rarely pay well. I'm curious--what's the most you've ever been paid for a single poem published in a magazine? What is the minimum payment you are willing to accept?

I'll start by answering my own question:

Highest-- $20
Lowest Willing -- One contributor's copy (for reprints; and when I was starting, for first rights)

07-04-2005, 04:12 AM
Hmmm.. good question.

I'm not magazine published so I can't answer the 'how much have I been paid for a magazine publish' question. I only made my first ever submission two days ago! To a non-paying market, I'll add, which leads to the next question.

How low am I willing to go?
Well, as you point out, poetry rates are so low that to me they are as good as pointless. My poetry, even the ones that don't take long to put on the page, represents a lifetime of experiences that led to me being the person to write that poem - 2 cents, 2 dollars, 20 dollars, it is all nothing compared to that.

No, what is more important to me is the prestige of the publication, and/or the true readership. 'How impressed will other magazines/publishers/peers be with that credit?' and/or 'How many real people of a type I'd like to reach will this publication help me reach?' I'll also add that it is important to me to read at least one sample issue - yeah yeah yeah because I'm supposed to in order to 'get what they want', but honestly I usually get that from their submission, mission or about statement - I read the sample issue(s) because I want to see what company I would be in. If I don't like the poetry they publish I wouldn't send mine to them - if they have more than one typing or grammar error in the entire issue then I won't send it - I don't want my name tarnished with their poor quality.

BUT - and it is a big BUT! in fact....

BUT if I feel that the magazine/ e-zine is making significant profit (or even just run by profiteers) then I would expect my share too. I don't mind not making money on my poetry but if I don't nor does anyone!

Anyone thinking they can make a living, or even just holiday money!, from publishing poetry is living in a dream world. What IS possible, though, is having published poetry legitimately, hopefully with a competition under the belt, and perhaps a couple of chapbooks or a real book (and earnt peas for it) would be to set up writing classes, and go on a talk circuit, and maybe even become a resident poet for somewhere - and that, friends, is the only serious money you'll ever (if ever) make from poetry.

So - relax about the immediate pence/cents per poem - and think simply about building a reputation as a poet.

07-04-2005, 04:16 AM
Lowest-trib copy

07-04-2005, 05:37 AM
The highest was $100 for a pretty short poem. The lowest is a contributor copy. Poetry isn't about money, at least for me. I'm more concerned with the market than the pay rate.

07-04-2005, 05:43 AM
Highest for a poem $50
lowest - 2 stamps

Many years ago I did win a poetry contest and got $125.

07-04-2005, 10:22 PM
No, what is more important to me is the prestige of the publication, and/or the true readership.

This is what I look at too.

if they have more than one typing or grammar error in the entire issue then I won't send it - I don't want my name tarnished with their poor quality.

How many publications fit this qualification? I've read many a poetry magazine, and I've found very, very few with less than two errors. But maybe I'm looking too hard...

07-05-2005, 12:09 AM
Lowest-2 contributor copies/byline

(I just started writing poetry this year, and have only recently begun submitting.) Pay is less important to me than circulation rate; to me the thrill is when my message connects with a publisher/reader.

07-05-2005, 03:20 PM
I used to publish a lot of light verse in The NYT's "Metropolitan Diary" section in which I was reimbursed with a gift certificate for a bottle of champagne from Vendomme's, a liquor store in Manhattan. This was in the 70's. They'd be worth about 30 bucks each today. Although, I used to be able to exchange them for real booze. My last poetry venture resulted in an acceptance from Rosebud, (coming out this month) for 10 haiku on fishing. For the ten I'm recieving three complimentary copies. I'm kinda going backwards--money-wise--in the poetry department. If you want to call yourself a poet, no need to preceed it by the word "starving"--that's already implied.

07-05-2005, 09:51 PM
The most I've ever been paid? Attention, laughter, a loud and enthusiastic round of applause. I loved it! Worth more than money for me. I am wanting to publish a book of poetry and short stories. It's going well, almost finished. Poetry is one of my loves, along with painting. It's not my job. So I do what shows up for me.


07-07-2005, 11:30 PM
Ah, for the sake of others: American Legion, 15 bucks; Wall Street Journal, a lousy five bucks, (paid for, by the way, out of Dow Jones Industrials' pocket; Sat. Eve. Post, Post Scripts, 15 bucks in 1970, 15 bucks in 2005.

07-13-2005, 09:59 PM
i've never had a place to publish my poems...:(

07-14-2005, 02:41 AM
I guess this might depend on your definition of a poem.

For literary(serious) poetry, I've never earned any money, just publication in certain places.

For a seasonal poem in Woman's World, I've received $50.

For a long, rhyming poem (or perhaps verse) I've received $125, $100 for each piece. (This was for greeting card companies)

07-15-2005, 12:22 AM
There are so many definitions of a poem--lit or otherwise. For the time being, until some lit genius can identify that distinction, let's call anything other than prose a poem.