(By Christina Anne Taylor of Middle Island Press)
Chapbooks are flexible in what they hold, and a fitting vehicle for all manner of writing. Though there would be limitations that vary according to publisher, most would be happy to accommodate the following needs:
• Short Stories – Depending on their length, several or a small handful of short stories can fit snugly into a chapbook. These “clusters” can, in due time, become sections of full-sized books much in the same way that full-sized poetry books are often sectioned according to a poet’s various formal collections.
• Columns or articles – Newspaper or magazine columnists would benefit personally or professionally by gathering their contributions in chapbook form, perhaps divided by year if publications are weekly (and assuming that one column can fit on one page which might necessitate double columns in layout).
• Recipes – Though the spiral-bound booklets are common for recipes, the pages loosen and tear out easily in time, making the chapbook a promising alternative vehicle that was commonly used a hundred years ago for trading kitchen secrets.
• Essays – Written by poets as well as anyone who has an opinion to share or information to disseminate quickly, the chapbook is the perfect vehicle for this type of literature. Collections of short essays or a post-graduate university thesis would fill a chapbook beautifully.
• Poetry – Certainly the most common use of chapbooks today is for poetry. It is the right personal touch, the made-with-love quaintness that is suitable for treasured from-the-heart poetic lines. As mentioned above, poetry chapbooks become “sections” of full-sized collections.
Of course, possibilities abound beyond these five, extending into images and anything that the mind can dream into the space of chapbooks, so writers need not hesitate to take advantage of the plethora of possibilities.
Middle Island Press is proud to be one of the best chapbook publishers east of the Mississippi.