How to publish a Chapbook part 3

It’s been a while I know…

The last month or so has been a lot of waiting and researching. Mainly because there are some stages of this process that I am not massively comfortable with. The book content itself is now finished. There are a few bits and pieces that I will explain here that I have been getting on with recently.

BETA readers

I have shared the content with a couple of people who I trust to gain some feedback on the book itself, order of poems, which ones work etc and found this a really valuable process. I may not have changed a great deal as a result but it is helpful to know if the poems land in the way you expected, which were most popular etc. There is some real benefit in starting strong so I have moved one of the strongest pieces to the front of the book. It acts as a really nice opening introduction and gives a line of intent for the rest of the book.

This book is really not like the last one. This is in the main a rhyming poetry book rather than prose style. It also has dark comic elements to it so is a departure stylistically and in terms of subject matter. I have taken the view that I will write and publish what I feel like rather than focussing too much on guessing the market and worrying about money and all that other boring stuff.


Speaking of boring stuff, it is not as simple as uploading the script to KDP and sending it out there. By all means if you know this already or are not interested in formatting your work skip to the next section… still with me? good.

First thing I had to do was decide on the size of the book. There are various book sizes to choose from on Amazon KDP and it is really important to get this right, otherwise you may find half the poem leaking into another page. As a small chapbook there is no point in oversizing so I picked a standard 6×9 inch setting. Helpfully if you google it KDP have downloadable templates that you can use to make sure that the text fits properly in the format of the page. I would really recommend doing this rather than making a guess in Word. Just remember that you will need to go back through the document to make sure that each poem/ verse sits correctly on the page, no widows and orphans (single lines on one page). If you find this is the case it may be easier just to shift a verse down to the next page. I would decide on your font and size before doing this though as you may have to start the whole process again otherwise. Make sure to think about where you would need blank pages as if you were reading the book so that items such as content, acknowledgements and dedications all end up on a right sided page, it just looks better.


Back to the more exciting bit. Designing a book cover is not easy but I wanted to do the whole thing myself (control freak). I must start by saying I am not an artist. I would love to be able to freehand sketch some of those beautiful line drawings you see in books these days, but I just can’t (I mean I could, but I haven’t got three years to shelve this book while I mess about learning to be an artist). So pragmatics wins out and I headed over to Canva where (with a little effort and googling) I feel I have come up with something that is well suited to the content of the book. I won’t be sharing this just yet but promise to share in advance of the book release. Once again Amazon KDP come to the rescue with their book cover template. Just pick the size you want, download to your laptop and then upload to Canva. You will need to start with a custom design so that you can pick the correct size of frame to overlay the template on. There are some really helpful Youtube videos which show where to put your margins, spine and how to make sure the Title etc don’t bleed onto the next page. I would definitely have got this wrong so worth taking your time over this. Once you are happy you can remove the template element and save and download your cover! Simples!

Just a note that might apply more to smaller chapbooks is that because they are normally short (less than about 75 pages typically) your spine will not have enough space for any words to go on it so it really isn’t worth bothering trying to fit something on. You will need to make sure there is a background on the spine element so it ties in with the front and back cover. Don’t forget that on the back cover there will need to be space for a barcode bottom right so don’t add any pictures or text there.

Next stage for me is to start with the marketing of the book, another area that is new to me. My intent is more, I want people to read the book than, I want people to buy the book. Of course one goes with the other but this is not necessarily about making a massive profit for me, I just want to share the poems and hope people will enjoy them. That will be the main tenet of the marketing work I will do. Further updates on my plans for this soon.

If you are putting your own book together I would love to hear from you! Hope people are finding this helpful and will share any updates I have with you soon.


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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