Self-Publishing Chapbooks How to Do It Yourself by xsl18466


									Self-Publishing Chapbooks: How to Do It Yourself
by Jo-Anne Rosen, Wordrunner Publishing Services

If you have your manuscript pol-        A good laser printer with a du-           The Process
ished and ready to self-publish, but    plexer, either built in or as an op-
your budget is limited, here are        tional accessory. You should invest       Design tips:
some tips for doing it yourself.        in such a printer if you are going        Don’t use lots of different fonts
                                        to be publishing and printing more        that detract from the message of
Chapbooks are traditionally cheaply     than one chapbook for yourself or         your text. Don’t use italics except
produced booklets. They don’t have      other writers; otherwise the books        for emphasis. Simpler is always
to look cheap (though the funky         can be copied or offset printed at        better. Pay special attention to the
photocopied look is certainly an        a service bureau. You can print           cover, because that’s the first thing
option). The emphasis here will be      the insides of the books yourself         people see. Look around at other
on making relatively low-cost, high-    and even the covers (depending on         books for design ideas and borrow
quality chapbooks.                      cover weight) for considerably less       these shamelessly (adding your own
                                        than it would cost to have the pages      touches).
What’s Needed                           photocopied, and they will look a
                                        lot better. Copying blurs the print       ISBN and bar codes: This can get
Recommended: To begin with, a           slightly and if you want the booklets     expensive and may not be neces-
professional page layout software       printed on bright white 24-lb. paper      sary for chapbooks. Setting up an
such as InDesign or Quark. If you       it will be expensive. Offset printing     ISBN account as a publisher the
are serious about producing books,      is also expensive. Your cost could be     first time costs $300 to register and
it is well worth taking a course or     limited to toner, paper and wear and      process a minimum of ten ISBNs.
teaching yourself how to use a good     tear on the laser printer. If you shop    It is also possible to buy one ISBN
layout tool. While it is possible to    around and get a good deal on a           for $150. The entire process can be
“compose” (lay out) a booklet in a      remanufactured printer, then in the       completed on-line at Bar
word processing program such as         long run you’ll save money.               coding software is relatively inex-
Word, the typographic and graphic                                                 pensive, but to set one up, you need
tools are primitive and difficult to    The best printers have postscript         an official ISBN from Bowker, the
use. Take courses at the local JC and   capability. Postscript is a printer       United States agent that dispenses
purchase software at low student        language that is the standard for         and keeps track of international
rates.                                  desktop publishing because it is          standard book numbers. You should
                                        supported by imagesetters, the very       check with local bookstores to find
The pages of your booklet will usu-     high-resolution printers used by          out if they really require ISBNs to
ally be 5½ x 8½ inches, which is a      service bureaus to produce camera-        sell chapbooks.
standard sheet folded in half, though   ready copy. Some of the loveliest
booklets can be printed on legal        fonts are postscript. But it isn’t        Paper: Get thee to a paper ware-
sized paper or trimmed to smaller       really critical unless you are having     house (Kelly or JC in San Francisco,
sizes. The pages must be “imposed”      the cover of the chapbook offset          Arvey in Oakland, Paper Plus in
in proper print order so that they      printed. I have used Lexmark post-        Santa Rosa) and look at all the
print four pages to a sheet, two on     script emulation printers with good       choices for covers and inside sheets.
each side. The page layout software     results. Some very reliable duplexing     Select a 60-pound, white opaque
sets up booklets that print out col-    printers can be purchased refur-          paper that’s laser rated and environ-
lated, ready to fold and assemble.      bished for a few hundred dollars at       mentally friendly (60-pound book
                               (a Lexmark distrib-   paper is the same as 24-pound writ-
Or you can type or wordprocess the      utor). I’ve used the Lexmark Optra        ing paper). But linens can be lovely,
pages, then cut and paste them up       R+, which has a separate duplexing        too. Consider a fly sheet, either
the old fashioned way, but you won’t    tray, the T420 and E460dn with the        translucent or in a contrasting color.
be able to print these yourself.        duplexer built in (less hassle).          Stay away from laid papers. Pick up
samples and test them on your laser       to trim edge of the cover or pages).      commission on each sale. Authors
printer before investing in reams or      So if you want a cover design with a      can buy their own books at cost plus
cartons of paper.                         bleed, consider trimming the books        shipping and resell them privately,
                                          smaller and designing the interior        but for small runs (under 100), the
Printing the “guts”: The sheets will      accordingly. Heavier covers need to       costs may be too high to get the
emerge from a laser printer warm          be “scored” at the service bureau,        books placed in retail bookstores.
and slightly curled. Next step is         which makes folding easier. You can       One advantage to using CreateSpace
to “press” them under some large,         then fold them yourself or have the       is that books are also sold on the
heavy books for a day or two. Gen-        bureau do it.                             Amazon marketplace at no extra cost.
erally the heaviest cover paper that
will pass through a laser printer is      Stitch and trim: This is the final
                                                                                    Marketing Tips
90-pound index.                           stage. Don’t even think about doing
                                          this yourself. I have a long-armed        • Create promotional pieces for
Folding and assembly: I gave up on        stapler which I use for the 8-page          your book (using cover design).
having them machine folded. The           (2-sheet) catalogues; these are not
results are irregular and sometimes       trimmed, so it’s okay although time       • Approach local bookstores and
the booklets get smudged in the           consuming. Any more than two                community groups to arrange
process. But try that for yourself.       sheets requires heavy-duty pro-             readings.
Maybe I’m too fussy.                      fessional equipment for accurate          • Go to open mikes and all literary
                                          trimming.                                   events in your community, show
Because here’s the labor intensive
                                                                                      your book off.
part: I fold by hand for quality
control. I also check each sheet for      Alternatives                              • Create an email announcement.
toner smears or paper imperfections                                                 • Create a website or page for your
                                          Consider perfect binding for books
before folding it. If there are only                                                  book and put that in the signature
                                          with 60 plus pages. It requires good
50 or 100 books, they ought to be                                                     of your emails.
                                          page layout skills, to keep costs
perfect. I turn over several sheets,
                                          down and deliver camera-ready             • Have a book-signing, launch
examining them (4 or 5 at a time),
                                          files to a digital print house such as      party.
then fold. Those that don’t pass
                                          Gorham Printing in Seattle (www.
muster are discarded and the extra                                                  • Send copies of the book to review-
                                 They specialize
sheets from that booklet set aside                                                    ers on local newspapers.
                                          in small runs of books in certain
and used to fill in for later discards.
                                          standard sizes with full-color cov-       • Arrange to have book clubs read
Cost to have books machine folded?
                                          ers and bleeds, and their rates are         your book (e.g., fiction or mem-
Depends on quantity: maybe $40
                                          very reasonable. They provide clear         oir) and be at the discussion.
average? Results are so-so. Pages can
                                          guidelines for setting up books and
get out of order.                                                                   • List your book with
                                          will also supply an ISBN for a fee.
                                                                                      or other online bookstores. See
Get a “bone” to fold the sheets with      These books can be larger (e.g., 6x9
a sharp edge. These are found in art      inches) and as few as 25 copies may
                                                                                     html for details.
supply stores.                            be ordered. The more copies print-
                                          ed, the less it will cost.                • Blog to market the book.
Offset printed or color covers: If you
want a heavier cover or really fine       Print on Demand (POD) publishing
art look, consider having 80-pound        of perfect bound books is relatively
covers offset printed (there’s a much     inexpensive and only one book has to
larger selection of 80-lb. cover          be ordered, so this could be a place to
                                          start. Guidelines to preparing books                     Any questions or
paper) or get full-color covers laser                                                              suggestions? Write to
printed at a service bureau on heavy      are available on these sites as well.
                                          Books can be sold on the website of            
matte or glossy stock (glossy paper                                                      
is more expensive). “Bleeds” are also     the company that prints on demand
expensive (when art or color extends      (e.g., or www.createspace.
                                          com). The POD company takes a

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