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I have pondered the idea of chapbooks for a while. I think I want to have some for GenCon for sure (because my anthology will be here in the flesh) and maybe BayCon (because I have no anthology in the flesh but I am the Toastmaster) as well. However, I'm not sure how to go about it. For those of you who do them, my questions are as follows:

1. What software program do you use to make them? I found one in Windows Office but it is only 8 pages (four sheets of 8x11.5 paper folded). I'm thinking I'd rather have 16, 20 or 24 pages.

2. For that matter, how long should a chapbook be?

3. How much should a chapbook be sold for? Or is it just to give away?

4. How many chapbooks should one bring to a convention?

I'm pretty sure I know what I want to have the chapbook on. I have this thing… I like to write stories about things and creatures eating people. I've discovered that I have quite a few of these stories lying around.

All help and advice is appreciated.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
1. Having never made chapbooks, I don't know what programs are out there specifically for chapbooks. Normally, my writing program of choice is FrameMaker, only because it can generate books, indices, TOCs, etc. And it allows you to do "chapters" which is nifty. But that's a technical writing program that I can see easily being used to create chapbooks.

I guess are you printing yourself or taking to a printer?

2. The chapbooks I have are about 20-24 so pages, and some are only 10 pages long. Basically, enough for a short read, but long enough that you can get through a cup of tea easily (or at least that's my interpretation)

3) I've known authors to both sell and give chapbooks away. I think it depends on how you want to use them.

4. I guess that depends on how big a convention you're going to and whether or not you're selling them. I would bring less numbers if you're planning on giving them away, just to make them "special", and more if you're planning to sell them.
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about, this is just the opinion of someone who knows nothing about the industry :)

I would think give them away for free... use them as advertising. Get people into your writing, and maybe the last page could be info on where they can read/buy more of your stuff?
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
I've had some experience (in a way) with chapbooks like this, as well with something that another commentor mentioned.

I use MS Publisher for this -- you can do any increment of 4 pages (facing pages, back and front). I've done them up to around 40 pages, but that depends on the actual use. When you print it, it will automatically place the printed pages in the proper order (which is different than the linear order of your manuscript). I then have them printed back-to-back. I do the cover in a separate file, since it is often only one sided and of a different color/weight of paper, but that's personal preference. Publisher is relatively easy to use at a basic level -- if you do that and have questions, you can email me and I'll try to help. There's also plenty of help online.

The other thing was the mention of FrameMaker -- if you haven't used it before (and you may, since you do freelance stuff) -- don't try and use it for something like this. It is one of the most robust things out there that I've seen, but there's a really big learning curve, and for this, it wouldn't be worthwhile for you. (if you're comfortable with it, your mileage on this may vary, but I use FM every day and I'm much rather use MS Publisher for something like this.)

Can't help you with the other questions, though.
Feb. 28th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)

The answer to number 4 is dependant on number 3.

Personally I never buy chapbooks. I'd rather spend money on a full fledged short story collect. They are however good publicity tools. If I haven't read an author before and they have a chapbook, I tend to read that between panels at a convention. And if I like it I go back and buy their books.

And I find it a great thing if I don't have money left at a convention. I now have something to remember the author by.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )