How to Publish Poetry for Free and Get It Copyrighted

There seems to be a common misconception about poetry these days, namely that this written art form has become a thing of the past. When we think of poetry, we mainly think of our English Literature course syllabus and the poets we studied: William Shakespeare, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, William Blake and Friedrich Schiller. They ruled the world of poetry from the late 15th century to the late 18th century and yet, their names are as recognizable today as they were when they were still living and working amongst us in the past. Look up the term “modern poets” on Google, and it will appear as though poets simply seized to exist passed the era of Allen Tate, Mina Loy and T.S. Eliot – but of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

As is true with any art form, poetry, just like music, evolved over time. Whilst the great poets of the 1800s dedicated their time to sonnets and epic poems, a new generation of poets is taking over with work ranging from narrative, to millennial limericks and free verse. Spoken word poetry – the type usually performed at Poetry Slams – is probably the most popular genre of poetry at the moment, with performances on platforms such as Button Poetry quickly going viral on social media channels. But there are still many poets practising varying styles of poetry, and if you are one of them, you may be looking at how to publish your work for free and getting it copyrighted. Here are some helpful tips!

Get Your Poems Copyrighted

Before you start looking into publications and platforms to publish your work, be sure to get all your poems copyrighted. This might sound like a bureaucratical nightmare, but it’s rather straight forward. You can copyright your work at your local Copyright Office or online for a small fee. All that is required of you is to fill out a form and offer copies of your work; upon completion of the copyright forms, your work will be secured. If you are looking to copyright your work for free, you can do so on your own website. This can be done be including a link to your terms of use on each page you want copyrighted – just be sure that your terms are clear and the text is free of spelling errors – and add a copyright symbol, your full name or pseudonym and the URL to your terms and conditions for all your work.

Start a Blog

One of the best ways to get your poetry seen without having to pay any submission fees, is by setting up your own blog. If you already have an existing website, you can add a blog option on which you can publish all your latest work. By sharing links to your latest work on your social media channels, you will lead your followers directly to your website/blog. You will also have the option to invite your followers to subscribe to your blog/website, so they will be notified whenever you publish something new. Although it takes a lot of work to gain a consistent following, it’ll be worth it as you will establish a loyal following and direct communication with your readers. If you don’t have a website/blog yet, Tumblr is a great place to start as it is the most popular blogging tool for poets.

Submit Your Poems to Literary Journals & Magazines

Study different literary journals and magazines to determine whether your work might be a good fit for any of them. Some publications require a small reading or submission fee but there are plenty of print and online outlets that regularly call for free submissions, so always be on the look-out! Sign up to different poetry or writer’s newsletter to ensure you will never miss a great opportunity.

Publish a Free Poetry Collection Via Kindle Direct

If you have been hoarding pages and pages of poems for several years and feel they finally deserve to be read by the public, why not publish an e-book collection? Tools such as Kindle Direct and Smashwords will help you create a personalized e-book for free, and offer a lot of advice as to how to best market it. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to share your poetry with the world!

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey or two...

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