Getting poetry published can be, quite literally, a hands-on experience for those who have time to acquaint themselves with the various elements that work together in chapbook-making, and for those who have the inclination to apply do-it-yourself projects. For the rest of the world, there are plenty of chapbook publishers on the Internet (and of course I recommend Middle Island Press).
Below are five tips for making perfect chapbooks. These five were preceded by another five (make that six) in my article, 5 Tips on How to Make Perfect Chapbooks.
1) It’s no place for sweaty palms. This can be a problem for those who are nervous or obsessive over what they are doing. With practice come speed, confidence, and the disappearance of sweaty hands. Until then (if it applies), keep a napkin on hand to press moisture from hands and fingers as necessary, or get up and wash your hands. If you do not, the result could otherwise be warped pages at the edges where they are handled.
2) Set your printer to the specific type of paper. If it knows what to expect, pages will be more likely to print perfectly straight. If you fold and staple firstly and then trim following cutting guides on the cover and it is not perfectly straight, then your entire book will look like a parallelogram instead of a perfect rectangle. Unacceptable.
3) Print at the highest possible quality. Particularly with covers and chapbooks with images or designs, it is important to print at the “best” or “maximum dpi” setting. You will then be much less likely to see faint lines running through your images, particularly in solid areas. Furthermore, commercial-grade printing should be standard when making chapbooks.
4) Press after stapling but before trimming. This is a necessity for perfect edges upon trimming. For pressing, I stack my chapbooks between large, clean hardcover books and then place a very heavy object squarely on top. If you don’t have a small anvil in your house, then a few bricks would do just fine.
5) Create custom margins for each page. Yes, it’s time consuming as many steps are, and while a consistent margin is…well…consistent, it also looks entirely unimpressive when dealing with anything other than justified margins for prose.
Still have sweaty palms? Getting poetry published need not be a stressful undertaking. Publish your poetry through Middle Island Press and let us take care of your words for you, quickly, kindly and perfectly.
We at Middle Island Press are proud to be one of the best chapbook publishers on the Internet.