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How to Self Publish a Poetry Book | Free Publishing Tips 2023

Last updated: May 16, 2023

Self-publishing has become an increasingly popular option for indie authors who want to bypass traditional publishing avenues and have more control over their work. If you’re a poet or poetry author looking to self-publish your work, you’ve come to the right place!

In this blogpost, we will explore various channels that you can explore to self publish your poetry book. We’ll also show you a step by step guide on how you can self publish your own poetry book with little to no budget. So let’s dive in!

Where Can You Publish and Sell Your Poetry Collection Online?

Here are some of the best platforms for publishing and selling your poetry online.

Sell your poetry book through Amazon Kindle Direct publishing

sell ebooks on amazon

Pros đź‘Ť

  • Large audience: Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is a popular platform for self-publishing eBooks and paperbacks, and it has a massive customer base due to Amazon’s vast reach as the world’s largest online retailer.
  • Sell eBooks and paperback books: Amazon KDP makes it easy for you to sell eBooks as well as paperback books where Amazon will print your book and ship it out to your customer for you.

Cons đź‘Ž

  • Royalty rates: While KDP offers a royalty rate of up to 70%, this can be reduced by printing costs, which can cut into your profit margin. There are also a complex number of criteria that you need to meet in order to qualify for the 70% royalty rate. Check Amazon’s Royalty calculator to find out more.
  • Competition: With millions of eBooks available on Amazon, standing out from the crowd can be a challenge, especially for poets who may not have the same level of visibility as established authors.
  • Formatting issues: KDP has strict formatting requirements for eBooks and paperbacks, and if your book doesn’t meet these guidelines, it may not be accepted for publication.
  • Limited control: When you sell your book through KDP, you must comply with Amazon’s terms and conditions, which can limit your control over pricing, marketing, and distribution. You may also fall victim to unfair 1-star reviews that you can’t control.

Sell your poems as an eBook through your own website


Nowadays there are free website builder platforms that allow you to create a professional and beautiful website with built-in eCommerce functionalities for FREE (you heard that right)! We’ll talk more about that in the later section of this article.

Pros đź‘Ť

  • Increased profit margin: Selling your poems directly to readers through your website will most likely provide a higher profit margin in comparison to selling through an online marketplace like Amazon. Platforms like Payhip allow you to sell eBooks through your own website for a small 5% fee per sale, in comparison to Amazon which takes approximately 30-35% royalty fee per sale.
  • Passive income: Once you’ve created your eBook and set up your website, it can generate passive income for years to come. Unlike traditional publishing where your book is only available for a limited time, an eBook can be sold indefinitely.
  • Building a brand: By selling your eBook through your own website, you can create a brand around your work, which can help to build your reputation as a poet and attract a dedicated following.
  • Creative freedom: Self-publishing your poems as an eBook gives you complete creative freedom over the content, format, and design of your work. You can experiment with different styles and themes, and make changes or updates as you see fit. You can even update your poetry book altogether in case you need to make some editing changes in the future.
  • Direct interaction with readers: Selling your poems through your website allows you to interact directly with your readers, receive feedback, and build a community around your work. You can also track customer data and analytics, which can help you to understand your audience better and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
  • Flexibility: You can update your website with new poems or collections as often as you like, allowing you to adapt to changing trends and interests. You can experiment with different pricing strategies and adjust prices as needed. You can also offer special promotions and discounts to attract more readers.

Cons đź‘Ž

  • Marketing and promotion: You will need to handle all marketing and promotion of your poetry book, which will require time and effort on your part
  • Customer service: You will need to handle customer inquiries and complaints as you are the sole person responsible for the sale of your poetry books

To learn more about how you can sell an eBook from start to finish, consider reading our guide on How to Sell Ebooks Online.

Sell your poems as a paperback book through your own website (print on demand)

Selling your poems as a paperback book through your own website has almost the same pros and cons as selling eBooks, except you’ll need to pay for a print on demand service to print and deliver your poetry book to your customers when an order is placed.

Look for book print-on-demand services that can print and deliver your poetry books to many countries around the world. You’ll be able to offer paperback copies of your poetry book without having to incur substantial inventory or shipping costs yourselves.

How to Self Publish a Poetry Book for Free

In this section, we will focus on how you can sell your poems through your own website as it has the least barrier to entry and you can do it with a $0 budget.

Here is how you can self-publish a poetry book for free:

  1. Curate/shortlist your poems and arrange them into a cohesive collection
  2. Edit and proofread
  3. Format your poems and turn them into a digital poetry book
  4. Design a cover for your poetry book
  5. Create a website with eCommerce features (for free)
  6. Upload your poetry book as a product listing and set it up for sale!
  7. Promote your poetry

How to Self Publish a Poetry Book

1. Curate/shortlist your poems and arrange them into a cohesive collection

Once you have a selection of poems that you’ve written, start organizing them in a way that creates a narrative or theme. Think about how each poem flows into the next and how they can be arranged to create a cohesive collection. Consider the pacing of the poems and the emotions they evoke.

You may find it helpful to create an outline or table of contents for your poetry book to ensure that the order of the poems is effective. For example, you could start with an introductory poem that sets the tone for the collection, followed by a series of poems that build on a theme or idea, and end with a concluding poem that provides closure or leaves the reader with a sense of reflection.

Keep in mind that the order of your poems can greatly impact how your readers experience your work. Take your time to experiment with different arrangements until you find one that works best for your collection.

2. Edit and proofread

Here are some tips on your can edit and proofread your poetry book to get it ready for sale:

  • Read aloud: Reading your poetry aloud is a great way to catch errors and improve the flow of the poems. This will also help you identify awkward phrasing and improve the rhythm of the poems.
  • Pay attention to punctuation and grammar: Punctuation and grammar are crucial in poetry, so it’s important to pay attention to them during the editing process. Look for misplaced commas, inconsistent capitalization, and other grammatical or spelling errors. It’s a good idea to have someone else proofread it as well, as they may catch mistakes that you missed.
  • Focus on the structure: Make sure the structure of the poems is consistent throughout the book. Look for patterns in line length, stanza length, and rhyme scheme.
  • Get feedback: It’s always helpful to get feedback from others. Have someone else read through your book and give you their honest opinion. This can help you identify areas that need improvement and give you ideas for how to make your poetry even better.
  • Consider the theme: If your poetry book has a theme or a narrative, make sure the poems are consistent with that theme. Remove any poems that don’t fit, or rework them so they fit better with the overall tone of the book.
  • Take a break: After writing the poetry book, take a break from it for a few days or even weeks. This allows you to come back to the book with fresh eyes and a new perspective. In addition, many poetry enthusiasts enjoy the strong emotions that poetry can evoke as well as the creativity and imagination that it can spark to “transport” them to another time or place. Taking a break from your poems may allow you to come back to them with fresh minds and emotions and experience your poems from the perspective of a reader.

3. Format your poems and turn them into a digital poetry book

How to Self Publish a Poetry Book online

Poetry is an art form that unleashes your visual creativity, and if you’re looking to add a touch of uniqueness to your work, it’s worth considering a professional document formatter who can handle any formatting challenges that may arise. You may also want to include illustrations in your poetry book and place them next to specific poems to amplify your readers’ experience when reading your poems.

You can use Canva’s free online graphic design tool to format your poetry book, or if you’re a little savvier, you can also use Adobe InDesign to create professional book layouts.

Once you’re done, turn your poetry book into a digital file. The easiest eBook format that you can create is a PDF, but you may also want to consider creating an EPUB file so your readers can enjoy your poetry from popular reading devices like Kindle.

4. Design a cover for your poetry book

Creating an eye-catching professional poetry book cover is key to attracting readers. A poorly designed poetry book cover can undermine the hard work you have put into writing this eBook.

If you want to go for something more unique and high quality, consider hiring someone who specializes in eBook cover design. You may be able to find freelance ebook cover designers on platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. Ask for samples from potential designers to make sure you’re getting the look you’re after before committing.

If you’re trying to save some extra budget, you can create an eBook cover using a free graphic design tool such as Canva.

5. Create a website with eCommerce features (for free)

Platforms like Payhip are completely free and they make it easy to create a website without any coding knowledge.

Payhip is an eCommerce platform for digital products. You can sell any digital products such as poetry eBooks, printables, and more. You can even create an engaging online course or start a membership for your poetry content.

Here are some things that you can look forward to when you use Payhip:

  • Generous free plan: You’ll get unlimited access to the entire platform’s features for free! There’s a 5% fee for every order (up to a maximum of $99/month)
  • Easy-to-use website builder and free website themes
  • Free fully hosted website/storefront
  • Automatic delivery of your digital products to your customers
  • Instant and secure payout via Paypal and Stripe
  • Marketing tools such as discount code, affiliate marketing, referral system, cross-sell, upsell, and more

Go to Payhip home page and sign up for a free account to explore the platform yourself. You won’t be asked to input any payment information, so you can take your time to decide whether this is the right platform for you.

6. Upload your poetry book as a product listing and set it up for sale!

Once you’ve created an account on Payhip, you can upload your poetry eBook as a product listing.
You’ll also need to set the prices for your poetry book. If you’re using Payhip, you’ll be able to set the price to $0 to make your poetry book free for all, or you can also set it to a pay-what-you-want pricing (you can set any minimum price) so your buyers can volunteer to pay any amount that they want.

7. Promote your poetry book

self publishing poetry book

Promoting a poetry book can be a challenge for new poets, but there are a number of ways that you can promote your poetry book with little-to-no budget:

  • Create a website or blog: Having a website or blog dedicated to your poetry can help establish your online presence and give readers a place to learn more about you and your work. You can share your poems, provide background information on your writing process, and promote upcoming events.
  • Use social media: Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, are great tools for promoting your poetry book. Share excerpts from your book, behind-the-scenes glimpses into your writing process, and information about upcoming events and readings.
  • Email marketing: Collect email addresses from your readers, fans, and anyone who expresses interest in your book. You can do this through your website, social media, or events. Use email marketing to offer exclusive content to your email subscribers, such as sneak peeks of upcoming book and poems, behind-the-scenes insights into your writing process, or exclusive promotions and giveaways. You may also want to consider implementing marketing automation to help with some recurring activities such as drip marketing campaigns.
  • Connect with poetry communities: Connect with other poets and poetry communities by attending poetry events, joining writing groups, and submitting your work to literary journals. This can help you network with other writers and get your work in front of a wider audience.
  • Host readings and events: Hosting readings and events can be a great way to promote your book and connect with readers. Consider hosting a launch party for your book, or partnering with local bookstores or cafes to host a reading or book signing.
  • Offer giveaways and promotions: Offering giveaways and promotions, such as a free signed copy of your book, can help generate interest in your work and encourage readers to buy your book.
  • Use book review sites: Submit your book to book review sites, such as Goodreads or Amazon, to get your book in front of more readers and gain more exposure.

Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip


Traditional publisher vs self published poetry book – which is better?

Traditional publishing can offer wider distribution, greater exposure, and the support of an experienced team of editors, designers, and marketers. Additionally, having a traditional publisher can add credibility to your book and may open up more opportunities for readings, book tours, and other promotional events. The drawback of going with a traditional publisher may include the fact that publishers can be selective and may reject your book or manuscript, and the process can be lengthy. Additionally, you may have less control over the final book, including cover design, formatting, and pricing. Royalties may also be lower than self-publishing.

Self-publishing offers greater control over the final product, including cover design, formatting, and pricing. Additionally, you can publish your book faster and retain more royalties than traditional publishing. Self-publishing can also be a good option for niche poetry that may not have wide commercial appeal. However, self-publishing can be more challenging in terms of marketing and distribution. Additionally, the quality of the final product may be lower if you lack experience with cover design, formatting, and editing. Self-publishing may also lack the credibility and prestige of traditional publishing. You might also benefit from process diagramming to assess whether traditional publishing or self published route would be better for you.

Should I use an author pen name?

Using a pen name, also known as a pseudonym, when publishing a book is a personal choice that depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. A pen name can help you establish a distinct brand identity and create a memorable persona that aligns with your poetry. On the other hand, using your real name can add a sense of authenticity and transparency to your work, and can help you build a personal connection with your readers.

Final Thoughts

Self-publishing a poetry book can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for poets who are looking for greater control, flexibility, and creativity in their publishing journey. Whether you choose to self-publish through online platforms, hire professionals for editing and formatting, or market your book through social media and book events, the key is to stay committed to your vision and to be open to learning and growing along the way.

When you’re ready to publish your poetry book to the world, sign up for a free account on Payhip to build your dream author platform in less than 5 minutes.


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