Not everyone in modern times truly appreciates poetry. It's often linked to old sonnets and pretty love rhymes. But as a poet, you know there's much more to it than meets the eye.
Just like short stories, novellas, and books, poetry has different genres, styles, and rules.
Marketing your poems online might be harder than promoting other types of fiction, but that doesn't mean it's a hopeless goal. There are ways to reach an audience willing and ready to read your work, it's just a matter of knowing how to find it.
Post snippets of your poetry online
You might have a wonderful book of poetry, but if no one knows about it, it's simply not going to sell well.
So why not offer something that people love and can get their attention with relative ease? Something free!
Posting short poems or even snippets of longer works both leads people to know your work and can make them curious about what else you've written.
Always leave your potential audience aching for more. If you post a poem online, make sure to let them know where they can find more of your work, and request feedback whenever possible. This will create a feeling of connection, and they'd enjoy your work at a more personal level.
Also, don't just appeal to the written word! Adding pictures, gifs, and even sound to your poems might attract an even bigger audience!
Take, for instance, Commaful! This website allows you to post micro stories or poems for free, adding a picture or gif for every frame. You can design your poems to look as pretty, happy, scary, or melancholic as you want them to, adding an extra layer to your writing.
It's also a great way of bringing poetry to the 21st century and attracting younger audiences who might not otherwise be interested in this form of literature.
Instagram is another great example of a social media site where you can share your poetry. Many poets on Instagram have accrued audiences in the million and have even gotten book deals. Rupi Kaur is the most well-known example of this. Her book, 'Milk and Honey' is a bestseller and got published largely because her poems were so popular on Instagram.
There's another benefit to these kinds of websites: Networking. Take the time to make friends on the platform, as this will help you expand your audience. Reach out to your readers, give feedback to other authors. In short, create connections that might lead to more people enjoying your work.
Advertising on Facebook
If you know what kind of audience would enjoy your poetry, then you can create targeted ads that cater primarily to them. Facebook has the types of algorithms that can reach your potential patrons without wasting extra money on people who aren't interested in poetry or literature.
This is a complex process, however, so experimenting with different alternatives and studying other types of campaigns is a must. There are plenty of tutorials online, and you can also request the aid of a representative if needed.
It's crucial that you earn more than you spend. In order to achieve this, you need to begin comprehending concepts such as ROI. As a general rule of thumb, if you manage to earn $4.00 or more for every dollar you spend, then you know you're running a profitable campaign.
You can pick the location, age, language, education, gender, and precise interests of the people who'll see your ad, among many other precise details.
Remember the term low-friction conversion. It's easier to ask your audience to sign up for something, join a mailing list or check out snippets of your writing rather than ask them to purchase something. When they ran into your ad, they weren't searching to buy a book, but just checking their feed. So try asking for something small, like submitting their email address or even filling in a short survey.
Spread the word!
What better way of making your audience both know about your poetry and feel a connection to you as a writer than to give an interview to a poetry podcast or website?
You can search for podcasts on apps like Spotify, by simply browsing through the fiction and poetry sections. Review the shows to make sure they fit your style and then search for their contact information.
Reach out to them and ask if they'd be interested in interviewing you, and maybe even offering them to read a poem or two during the conversation! Let the audience know about you as a person, how you got into writing, why you enjoy poetry, who your favorite authors are. Near the end of the interview, promote your book, but be sure not to let this be your opening line. Let people get to know you and your work first.
There are also plenty of websites that feature up-and-coming authors. Don't be shy to reach out; you need to put yourself and your work out there!
If you are able to offer them a few copies of your book to give out to their listeners or readers. This will help them increase their audience by having something else to provide people with other than the actual interviews and get people excited about receiving your book.
Create an author website
Creating and adequately uploading an author website is an excellent way of making sure all your intended target knows where to find information about you and your work. Say you published free snippets of your poems in different forums and sites, or that you give an interview or even run an ad. They can be scrambling around different websites trying to find your books or more information about you as an author.
This also allows you to sell your book outside of websites like amazon, and offer all the information you want to display in an appealing way. You are also the one in control of the content and design, as well as how often you upload new data.
Any good author website should include the writer's name or pseudonym, book titles and front covers, a short manifesto or bio, as well as information about how to make a purchase. Contact Media kits, news, email signup section, and reviews are also a welcomed addition.
Remember to upload it frequently, at least once a month, but if possible, once a week.
These are simply some ideas you can try out to promote your poetry online successfully. It's not easy work getting the word out there, but it's worth the effort. Getting people to your book is only the beginning.
Remember that since the audience niche is so small, you should focus on quality over quantity, as well as targeted efforts instead of appealing to the general public.
Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? TrishHopkinson.com is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts.
Hayley Zelda is a writer and marketer at heart. She’s written on all the major writing platforms and worked with a number of self-published authors on marketing books to the YA audience.