How to Create Your Own Chapbook

As promised, I decided to do my very best to write a "how-to" guide to creating your very own chapbook.

So, here's my disclaimer:

I've only done this once, but I printed several copies. Yep, and I have to admit that it was the biggest nightmare ever. But I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Here's mine:

I made this one for my Creative Writing class last semester. I chose to do the simple black and white look (mostly because I only keep black ink in my printer). lol These make great mini-books to give away to friends and family or sell them for a few bucks a piece.

What to include on the front page:
1.) Title
2.) Sub-title (optional but it looks more professional)
3.) A graphic design of some sort
4.) Author's name (do not put "written by")

What to include on the inside:
1.) Table of Contents
2.) Dedication (optional)
3.) Several pages of your work (make sure it's even numbered)
4.) About the Author page (include photo and short bio)
5.) Page numbers

Don't forget to add something to the back of the book. You know; you're hallmark. :)

Okay. Here's what I found worked best. I created a template. I laid the appropriate amount of sheets of paper, folded them in half, and numbered every page. (This means that there is two numbers on the front and back of every piece of paper.) The tricky part is figuring out how to place the work so that it reads from one page to the next. Use Microsoft Word's two column option to start the process. Copy and paste your work in the first column and place the rest of that work (if needed) on the page that you labeled 2. Keep in mind that your work will be split up when you look at print preview. Part of a work will be on one page and the rest may be on another separate sheet. Another thing that I've discovered is that when you start to copy and paste for the pages on the back, reverse them. Be sure to print the front of one page and the back of that page immediately after. Okay, I know super confusing. Here is some additional help: eHow.

A lot of making a chapbook comes through trial and error, unfortunately. Only format and print two pages at a time to make sure that it is working when they are folded. I always print the cover last with a thicker paper/card stock.

Also, when you go to print... turn it to the landscape option. Print the first page and then stop. Turn that page over and print the back of that page.

Making a chapbook is tough to figure out in the beginning, but once you've done a couple, you'll get the swing of things. I hope my feeble attempt at directions helps bring your work to print.

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