If you have a Poem or work available to the general public or to a limited section of the general public you are "Published".
Being published means that you have made your work available to others who might want to read it.
It doesn't mean that as a result of that effort, you made, (earned) money or became famous. Publishing is the meaning of going public in some manner with your ideas.
Publishing at a website like Neopoet.com IS publishing your work. All who have posted their work, be it beautiful or otherwise, are "Published Authors". Whether it will bring fame, fortune or a variable of such is an entirely different animal.
Generally poetry is not a great seller in the "Book" world. But every now and then, one or two works make their way to the masses. As a result are reviewed and even purchased by the minnions of delight and destressed. But it has been rare for sure.
There are three types of trajectory for all works,
The first is the totally ignored volume of pithy lines and bottled emotions of colored highlites. Not good.
The second is a shooting star. Just when it is discovered by the medias and madness it is a "best seller". Good but only lasts while it lasts as a seller, usually for a year at best, if that.
The third is called the "Classic Work", and sells from its inception through every year, a usually even amount of units, books. This is the best news an author wants to have. Often "Classic Sellers" are purchased regularly by librarys, literary fans, and even sometimes by producers of sound, sight or zines. Rights in these works are almost always sold worldwide, and serves in many diverse markets.
Residuals are generated from that point out into the future and remain pretty much within that range established by the first sales volume. Bob Dylan has been quoted as saying:"Just one of my songs generates a income of a $100,000 every year." Thats nice.
Whats it all mean?
I would think that it is what it is and anyone worth their weight in imagination really should continue to find ways to get it out to the public. Even self publishiing can work. Many examples of self published authors abound and anyone interested can google "self Published" and read for several hours about the starts of many authors. You do want to pay attention if you decide to self publish as in any worth while effort.
Here are a few things I have noticed:
1. Have a good base of or volume of work and have an idea of who would like to read it. This is done by testing it. A test can be simply making a few copies and handing them to strangers and associates. Take their input with a grain of salt. What they say may be just fear of telling you it stinks. But if you ask strangers at the local book shop, people at markets to take a read and call or email you with their feel for it, you will get good feedback.
2. NO MATTER what the feedback always attempt to create Perfect Bound copies and try to get them placed at retailers, best is a gift shop or two. Usually they are local owners and can be persuaded to try a sale or two of your works. If they sell in a month, thats great news! There are over 6000 gift shops in the U.S. Just imagine selling one title of your work at each in one month??? CHaCHING! Now you have got something worth your time and investment of creativity and even cash.
3. Look into self publishers like iuniverse or Exlibris. They will cost a few hundred dollars and will give your work a way of being "discovered". The book K-Pax was self published and at the International Booksellers Conference was notice by a producer who made it into a movie.
4. For those who worry about their work getting stolen: DON'T. If you produced this work, and you feel it has an audience, then there is more ready to come out of you. Remember anyone who steals your work will have to go through the same hoops as you. Thus a matter of time before it is discovered as a stolen property. No one will publish anything thought to be the work of another. Lawsuits are just to expensive! So be open, and explore with wide eye's your opportunities for you and your work.
5. Quit reading this and go make it happen if your heart calls out for it. and one more thing, good luck!
Bullion Grey has self published 6 works over the years. He is always thinking of new ideas and seems to be a space for the muse to hang out. His 6th work: "Light Dawns Gradually", was accepted into the new $100-million dollar super Library in Santa Monica, California, in their Literary Arts Collection. It is one he wrote, produced with his photography, and hand bound. Its referrence number is: 818.g . It sits just a few books away from the works of Spaulding Grey, Jack Kerouac, and Hemmingway's works. It is perhaps the first time a completely self published, self bound work has been accepted with such honors.
Grey is an avid creative, and draws, sculpts, notes and dream's of more things to follow. He has been an ongoing volunteer for many causes and has helped hundreds of people over the years with Brainstorming, locating employment, feeding the homeless, assisting start up business efforts and much more.
He live's with his wife and imaginary pet
in the Los Angeles area.