Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Create a Poetry Chapbook

A collection of chapbooks from an array of writers.
A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks 

A poetry chapbook is the perfect way to collect a series of poems with satisfying artistic expression.  


You can keep these works of literary art as keepsakes, or you can give them to family and friends as personalized gifts.  Additionally, when you design your chapbooks to be easily reproduced, you can sell them or hand them out as marketing materials at poetry readings and events.

Whatever your purpose for creating your chapbook, there are three basic stages of chapbook planning and production: preproduction, production, and post-production.  All three phases of creation will include both artistic tasks and administrative tasks.

 

Preproduction


In the preproduction stage, you will make artistic choices about a budgeted finished product.


First, you must decide which of your poems you would like to collect as a series.  This requires that you make a decision about how each poem communicates or relates to the previous poem and the following poem, in order.  This decision can be made based on a common theme in the poems, the subjects of the poems, the chronology of the poems, your intended audience, or any other unifying factor.

Next, you get to decide how you want your finished chapbook to look.  Decide how you will bind your book, what length you’d like it to be, how the cover will look, and what size pages and types of materials you’ll use.  For example, you might want to bind your book using spiral binding, using brads, staples, sewing it by hand, or placing it in an origami box or brown paper lunch bag.  Your pages can be any shape or size, and your poems can be on pages together, or one per page.  Your poems can be handwritten, typed on a typewriter, created in a word processor, or spoken into an audio program.  You can decorate the pages by hand, with clip art, as scrapbook pages, or with artist’s colors.   You can print pages at a local print shop, on a home printer, at work when no one is looking, by creating digital images, or by typesetting.  Your options are limited only by your budget.  You can, however, find extremely creative ways to overcome budget restrictions.

 

Production


During the production phase, you get to create and reproduce your drafts and final chapbook.


Once you have planned how you want your chapbook to look and how much you want it to cost, you can begin creating your chapbook.  Enjoy the creation process by taking what you have planned in your preproduction stage and making a mock version of your chapbook.  Investigate vendors, choices, and materials as you work to be sure you do not overextend your budget.  Make tweaks and changes to your plans as needed or required by your expectations of the project.

Most importantly, be sure your chapbook is exactly right before calling your chapbook finished.  This means you should not rush through the process.  Carefully, frequently, and thoroughly check your spelling, page numbers, titles, layout, and any front or back matter information.   If you duplicate print versions of your chapbook with an error, that error will be costly.

 

Post-production


The post-production phase of the chapbook creation process includes marketing and distribution activities.


If your book is meant as a gift or keepsake, these decisions will be easy.  If you want to use your chapbook as a marketing tool or sales product, on the other hand, you have to decide where you will read your work, which events you are going to attend, where and how you will sell your product, and how much you will charge.  These decisions may require research and administrative patience.  For example, there are electronic or web sales options to consider, which may or may not require official copyright or ISBN’s.

Whatever decisions you make before, during, or after production of your chapbook, just keep in mind that the most important part of the process is your enjoyment of the act of creating and the satisfaction that comes with producing a chapbook of your own work.



Want to know more?



Learn how to publish your own poetry chapbook.
Would you like to take a complete online course about how to publish your own poetry chapbook? 

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Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Contact the author for permission to reuse.

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