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What is a Poetry Chapbook?

Categories: Questions & Quandaries Blog, What's New Tags: Brian Klems, questions and quandaries.

Q: I’ve been writing poetry for a few years now and want to publish some of my work. A friend suggested I publish a “chapbook” of my poetry. What is a chapbook, and how is it different from a regular book? —Cindy N.

A chapbook is a small collection of poetry, generally no more than 40 pages, that often centers on a specific theme, such as exotic foods or wild animals or Justin Bieber. It’s typically saddle-stitched (like a pamphlet or magazine) and is a format well suited to smaller print-runs.

Poets publish chapbooks instead of full-length books of poetry for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most common is that chapbooks are relatively inexpensive to produce. In fact, many poets take the DIY approach and print their chapbooks themselves. (If you’re so inclined, Poets.org which offers up an excellent step-by-step set of instructions on its website at poets.org/view
media.php/prmMID/21249.)

As difficult as it is to sell fiction to a publisher, it’s even harder to sell poetry. Producing a chapbook is an excellent way to give audiences a sampling of your writing and potentially sell your work for a nice little profit.

Plus, should your chapbook take off and sell at a healthy rate, it could serve as proof to publishers that there’s a market for you poetry. And that’s the best way to get their attention.

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2 Responses to What is a Poetry Chapbook?

  1. Six-word Poet says:

    The link above for the chap book isn’t working. Do you know of another link, website, etc? Thanks! This is hte link that won’t open for me:
    poets.org/view
media.php/prmMID/21249

  2. Majestic0254 says:

    Yes, Brian I enjoyed this article about writing a poetry chapbook. It was very informative and
    gave all the specific details about how this will expose your poetry to the public and will let
    you know how they respond to it. If the response is good that is great because then you will
    know what type of poetry or what type of audience is loving to read your poetry. Thank you for
    writing this article,

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