How to publish your own chapbook

A Writer’s journey

I am not new to writing. In fact, in some ways I have been putting stuff together on and off for a long time. Last year I was lucky enough to have my first chapbook published. Whilst this was a really exciting first foray into the world of publishing there was always a nagging doubt at the back of my mind. What would have happened if I had done the whole thing myself? Would things have been different? How would I have felt about the book if I had?

This is definitely not a rant about poetry publishers or the business itself. I was really grateful to Alien Buddha for the work they did to help me put it together and get it out there. I remain proud of this book and its place in the world. I want to build on this starting point and see what I am capable of achieving. Also this book is different to the last one. Very different.

Firstly I want to tackle the issue of self publishing versus traditional route. The traditional route is something I still intend to use for individual pieces and perhaps even other books in the future. There are the obvious frustrations as a writer, time taken to get a response (currently I have one piece I have been waiting a year for a response on) and the inevitable rejections that all of us get. There is also I think a kind of stigma about publishing your own work which I think is somewhat misplaced depending on the reasons you pursue that route. So why am I doing it?

Firstly, and most importantly, I want to have complete control and ownership of every stage of the process. I want to be responsible for my own work and succeed or fail on the back of my own efforts.

Secondly, a question of timing. I want to get something out this year. I can submit the whole manuscript in the hope that it gets accepted somewhere. But there are no guarantees that it will, it’s a slow process at times.

Thirdly, I want to get a better understanding of how every stage of the process works, so I can share the highs and the lows, pitfalls and successes with you as the reader. Maybe this will help you in producing your own work.

This substack will, for the next few months, focus on every element of the process that I have been going through so far, and the ones I have yet to tackle. I admit I have done a lot of the main steps towards producing a book in terms of contents. I have a manuscript, a title and have submitted the whole thing to a Beta reader. Whilst they are looking it over I am thinking about all the next steps I need to take, but also going to do some retrospectives on how I got to where I am so far. With that in mind I am humbly and completely open to your questions, advice and experiences that could contribute to both the book, and the story of its development from blank page to published and finished article. Any areas you are really interested in hearing about let me know. We can walk the self publishing path together!

Till next time


Published by G Turner

Gavin Turner is a poet and writer of short fiction. He lives in North West England. Some of his work is published here on this site and more recently in other journals and publications.

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