For a very long time now I have been looking for a new, fun and innovative way of selling my poetry. And I have finally found one. I am now selling custom written poetry on Etsy where people can specify exactly what they want in a poem and I will write it for them. For those of you who follow along with this blog please forgive me giving a little background.
I started writing poetry when I was very young and just kept going. When I was a teenager I wrote an awful lot of awful poetry and then finally emerged the other side. Once at university I began to research and write more clearly, I developed a lot and settled into my own style. I also wanted to have the words I wrote visible and so I began to design collages to frame my poetry and had these all around my walls. I ended up enjoying the collage so much that I formed a small business making and selling collage artwork and cards alongside the jewellery I already sold. The remains of these can still be seen in my Etsy shop. A move out of London and with the support of a fantastic new network of friends I have spent the last couple of years really working on my poetry.
The major project that I worked on was my ‘Three Random Words’ collection where I asked for three words from 100 different people and wrote a poem that had to contain those words. I had huge amounts of fun with this, I loved connecting with people and seeing which words mattered to them. My poetry came on very quickly with so much practice and such a disciplined work style. The most unexpected and wonderful side effect was the inclusion of one of these poems in the beautiful anthology, ‘Dark Currents’ from NewCon Press.
After the end of the Three Random Words project I tried to find something new to keep working on and I tried a few different ideas – I tried writing a poem a day, I tried free writing as well as my current ‘After Poetry’ project. The After Poetry collection is a series of poems inspired by a poem that I admire where I take the rhythm and theme and re-work the idea in my own voice.
I read as much as I can get my hands on and find inspiration from art and music, mythology, film, theatre, people, locations, travel and all of life itself. I use a lot of word play and all of my poetry is designed to be read rather than performed. I utilise punctuation and line breaks to play with concepts and mixed meanings. This is partly influenced by the poetry that I read but also by the technical structure of how some poetry is created. I’ve been a fan of traditional and English haiku poems for a long time. The haikus that I write (and will be writing on Etsy) are English styled but I am practicing and try to keep as true to the original form as possible.
One of the huge downsides to blogging is once you have shown a piece of poetry on a blog or website it is no longer eligible for entry into almost all competitions or magazine/book submissions. I have spent the last six months trying to come up with a way to share, promote and sell my poetry. I have been looking at non-traditional paths, a way to allow my poetry to fit around my business. Finally I settled on this, and I really think it will suit me very well.
I love to write poetry for people. This is the main thing I realised during my Three Random Words project and I wanted to combine this with my knowledge and love of Etsy. All of this tied into my decision to sell individual, personalised poems on Etsy.
My whole Etsy shop runs in US dollars and so I will be charging $25 for a haiku and $50 for a longer form poem. Haiku poems can be on on a specific theme, location, topic or including a particular word. Longer poems can also be on any theme, topic or including several words. There is clearly more scope the longer the poem is.
As the poet, the main problem that arises for this sort of arrangement would be the copyright of the poem. I would keep copyright but give up the right to share, distribute, broadcast or publish the poem either in print or online for twelve months from when the poem was handed over to the customer. This may sound a little odd but is the standard arrangement that is entered into when you submit poems to a competition (only if they win though!)
I’ll be popping up some of my poetry on the blog here so that people can see examples of my writing before they buy one of them. I’ll be including a mixture of poetry from various collections, some of my earlier works, a few from the Three Random Words project and some of the latest pieces I have been working on. There is already a larger selection in the poetry section than before.
Please do pop over to Etsy and have a look at some of the listings. While you are there have a wander around the site, there is a lot to see!