Thanks for your thoughtful article. I agree with you that poets need to be more creative to make money on Medium. We have to accept the read time limitations and adapt our tactics.
I love poetry, I write a ton of poetry on other platforms, and I'm obsessed with finding new ways to make money from poetry. I only have a few poems on Medium, and I’ve been disappointed with their earnings. But, I haven’t put enough effort into the creativity surrounding the marketing and the business model.
I think back to when I’ve bought poetry in the past. I’ve often been disappointed with the high price point for a slender volume with only one poem on a page. As beautiful as much of the poetry was, it left me feeling like I didn’t get my money’s worth.
I may be biased, but I think many poets struggle financially because they are too precious about their poetry. They don’t work to grow an audience or to write some poems that appeal to a wider audience. They aren’t willing to see poetry as a type of intellectual property that can be turned into multiple income streams.
Some of the most financially successful poets are on Instagram. Many are using the indie fiction writer model to make money from their art. Too many poets see this as selling out instead of applauding fellow creatives living the dream of making a living from their art.
Most of my poetry is for people who wouldn’t describe themselves as poetry fans. I write pulp poetry, stuff about monsters, pirates, vice, and violence. My first paperback book is selling decently, but I haven’t found my audience on Medium yet.
If we want to make money on Medium as poets, we need to get outside of our comfort zones. We need to package our poetry in a way that more people can appreciate and understand. We need to adapt to the pay-for-reads model by posting several poems in one post, by doing a better job supporting other poets, and by adding things like images and links to our other work to help readers get excited about poetry.