Publish Your Own Poetry Chapbook
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If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? It's an age-old question. Now, think of your favorite poet or writer as a tree, and think of your favorite story or poem as a sound. Aren't you glad you were around to "hear it fall?"
If you're a poet who's ready to share his or her work with the world, do you know how to make sure there's someone around to read it?
I've learned a lot about the process of creating poetry chapbooks by trial and error over the past twelve years. I've created this course to share what works and what doesn't work, hopefully helping other poets avoid my most costly mistakes.
In this workshop course, I introduce and demonstrate the steps to creating a poetry chapbook in a three part timeline: preproduction, production, and postproduction. I break each of those three major parts of the chapbook project timeline into discussions and demonstrations of both administrative and creative tasks. I use videos, slides, and supplemental examples to guide students through the workshop. Students work a their own pace and set their own schedule for completion.
I work from the standpoint that chapbooks can't be defined by any one physical characteristic, and electronic chapbooks have just as big a place in my lessons as physical chapbooks. The secret is in the purpose and in the artistic currency. Want to know more? Sign up today!
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|Section 1: Introduction|
This first, short lecture explains what a chapbook is, and why poets spend time, money, and effort creating their own chapbooks. Of course, if you've been drawn to this course, you probably already have your own reasons, as well.
Please start here. : ) There is an overview of the course in "Supplementary Materials."
|Section 2: Preproduction|
|This second lecture introduces you to the types of administrative decisions and choices you have to make before moving ahead with your chapbook project: budget, timeline, and process. In this video lecture I present two case study examples from my own experience.
Now that you've taken a look at your administrative and operational realities, it's time to switch gears and get creative with your poetry collection. The main question you must consider in this fifth lecture is how you will collect, group, categorize, and order your work. This is my absolute favorite part of chapbook creation!
|Section 3: Production|
Welcome to the fourth lecture. You are ready to start creating mock-ups that represent your vision for the project! By working through the production process, you will learn invaluable lessons that will help you make decisions about your final product.
In this lesson I offer some additional information about your options for creating your mock-ups; whether by paper and glue, Microsoft Publisher, or using Word and formatting for Kindle. OF course, there are many other options, but these are the three I have personally used for my own projects.
Now that you have a mock-up, we need to add all the special bells and whistles that make a book a book: a cover, front matter, back matter, and registration numbers. Additionally, this lecture will give you a few ideas about other optional front and back matter you may want to add. Maybe your poetry requires a glossary? : )
Now that your final draft is complete, free of mistakes, and ready to be duplicated, there are a few more decisions you need to make about how you will go about duplicating your chapbook. For example, you may want to have it printed on a letterpress, copied on a copy machine, or printed on your home printer. Of course, if you have chosen to complete an art book or an electronic book, this duplication lesson may not be of much help, now: Save the lesson for your next chapbook. : )
|Section 4: Postproduction|
So, what do you do now that you have your chapbook in hand? (Or on file?) You get out into the poetry community and you brag about it! Woot!
I cannot overemphasize how important it is for you to get out into your poetry communities and read your work. Do not be afraid! There are ways to manage your anxiety, and having a little anxiety is actually a good thing!
|Section 5: Summary and Closing|
This is a short summary of our long process. Look at all of the things you now know and know how to do! Pat yourselves on the back
Amy Lynn Hess is an Atlanta area poet, painter, potter, publisher, professor, and dramaturg. She holds a B.S. in Theatre and Interpretation from Central Michigan University, an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from Ohio University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. She has published three chapbooks of poetry and a textbook about sentence diagramming, and she is the editor-in-chief for her small poetry publishing company, Gypsy Daughter. She has been an English and General Education Professor since March of 2008, having previously held jobs as an administrative assistant, bookkeeper, sales clerk and product expert at an art supply store, librarian, high school teacher, tutor, properties manager, costumer, make-up artist, and managing director at a non-profit playhouse.
You can read more of Amy Lynn's work on her blog, Gypsy Daughter Essays, or see her work online on Etsy.