What are the steps that one needs to follow to become a successful poet?

Well in my case, I write poems but don't have a wide audience for the feedback. So in this case what should I do? Should I keep on writing my poems and show it to the stiver of audience I do have on Facebook and YouTube or should I be moving on to the next level? If so, what's the next level and how to proceed towards it? All in all I would like a layout of a poet's career.

  • 2
    What's "stiver"?
    – user29032
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 8:28
  • I meant smallest possible group of people that I can gather....pardon if it meant anything else to you.
    – Vimath
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 8:35
  • 1
    Oh, I see.
    – user29032
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 8:38
  • 1
    I am glad that my answer was helpful to you, but as you are very new a little tip: it's recommended to wait at least 24 hours before accepting an answer. StackExchange has members around the globe and after only half an hour only a very small percentage of the regular users have had the time to check your question and my answer. Some people may be discouraged from interacting with your question if they think you have already found your solution, so waiting could potentially increase the amount of answers and discussions and thereby the quality. You can accept and unaccept as often as you like.
    – Secespitus
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 8:43
  • Okay, I'll keep that in my mind next time onwards....
    – Vimath
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


Poets don't tend to have "careers" in terms of remunerative employment. Even great poets have tended to be either independently wealthy or otherwise employed (T.S. Eliot famously worked at a bank, and Maya Angelou made her name writing autobiography before she was ever known as a poet). You can be a figure of respect, and influence, with devoted fans, in the poetry world, and still never make a dime. Given that, your career needs to be approached as a question of how best to ensure your work reaches an audience, rather than in terms of more prosaic concerns. Freed from the fantasy of financial gain, you could always seek out creative ways to get your work "out there." For example, you could volunteer to write "occasional" poetry to mark special events, or in honor of a school or a non-profit organization, or a person. You could also become a lyricist or even a rapper.

Your real best bet, however, is to identify a community of people who enjoy the kind of poetry you do, and find a way to connect with them. For instance, many cities have regular "coffeehouse" events where people read either traditional or slam-style poetry. Take along a self-published chapbook or collection, and you'll be able to make personal sales to people who enjoyed your work. It this goes well, you might be able to start touring around, doing higher profile events locally and in other cities, or even booking your own solo readings at libraries and bookstores.

If you don't have any local community of "live" poets or venues, you might think about organizing your own. The local poets with the highest profile (in my city) are always tirelessly working to build audiences, not just for themselves, but for all poets. Poetry is arguably primarily a performance art, so you'll be showcasing your work better if you find a place to declaim it, rather than just publish it. If that doesn't work for you, there's always the internet, but you'll be one small fish swimming in a great big pool of other aspiring poets. So even there you'll need to either find a community or create one.

  • You changed the way I used to look at poetry. Many thanks...
    – Vimath
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 17:58

The next step would be to get a wider audience. Having people on Facebook and YouTube that read your stuff is already pretty good. Many people also have a Blog where they post their stuff. You could also have a look out for opportunities in your city - maybe there are local clubs for poets, similar to critique circles for novel writers.

For an online example you could have a look at this answer to the question What are good places to post your work where it will be read by others? It mentions the website "Poet Sancutary". I don't know anything about the site, but you might want to have a look at it.

When searching for websites or clubs to promote your work or to get feedback you should be wary of being ripped off. Have a look at the question Is the website allpoetry.com benefecial for poets and writers? (Disclaimer: I wrote the currently only answer to that question and am not a poet myself.)

If you already have some audience you should see if there is a way to make money with your work. There are probably a few websites that may allow you to do something like that. For example I know that Medium.com is a blog and allows you to publish behind a semi-paywall. I have never used that feature, but I sometimes write short stories there for the Universe Factory, which is the Blog from our sister site WorldBuilding.SE.

Searching for magazines that may publish your work online or offline would also be a possibility.

  • I'm normally a fan of your answers, but this one seems short on actual useful advice, especially given that you don't write poetry yourself. Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 17:07
  • @ChrisSunami It's the same quality as always.
    – Secespitus
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 17:34
  • It's not poorly written, but you admittedly have less personal experience in this area, and it shows. (Not getting on your case, I just try to avoid downvoting without providing an explanation.) Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 17:46

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