Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring

How To Publish Your Own Chapbook Workshop

APRIL 1st, 8th and 15th, 2024
(6:30 to 8:30 pm EST on ZOOM)

One of the most satisfying moments for poets is the first time they see their poems published, but in today’s highly commercialized market there are so few traditional opportunities for publication. If poets want their poems published in book form, self-publishing poetry is not just considered acceptable–it is the norm.

The most commonly recognized format is the chapbook. It is economical and easy to create, but certain fundamental skills are needed to prepare and print this important publication, often the first time their poems are delivered to the world. Chapbooks can be any size, the number of pages varies from 16 to 40 depending on how many poems they contain.

Micropress publisher James Dewar will present a three part series that will guide emerging and well-known poets through the process of publishing their poetry in a chapbook.

A Word Template for a 6″ x 9″ book will be provided at the beginning of the class in Microsoft Word and Open Office formats and will be the template used by participants to design and finish their chapbooks.

At the end of the workshop participants will have print-ready pdf templates to take to a printer, upload to a Print-on-Demand provider and an E-Book provider. (Amazon is used in this workshop to demonstrate this process.)

COST: $249.00 + 13% HST for all 3 workshops.



Either Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer installed on your computer
• Every day familiarity with the features of Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer
(These are the only two templates available in the workshop.)
• A computer with an internet connection and a zoom interface that properly accesses video and sound.
(Note: using a cellphone or a small screen device is not recommended.)
• A generous selection of poems and/or pieces (20+?) edited and ready for insertion into the chapbook template. (You may decide to change the order of pieces or make changes to pieces once they are in the template, but try to limit this as much as possible to avoid creating layout issues in the template. The more prepared your pieces are before the layout begins, the easier the process will be.)
• Since most of the layout will be achieved between classes, set aside the time to complete these tasks. I WILL BE AVAILABLE TO HELP OUT BY EMAIL IF YOU HAVE ANY DIFFICULTY.
• Patience and enthusiasm


Part 1: What is a Chapbook and How to Decide What to Publish?
Workshop 1 (of 3): Monday, April 1st: 6:30 – 8:30 (EST)

Why do you want to publish? (A discussion about living “The Artist’s Way”)
What is your book about? (What do you write about and care about and why it’s important.)
How do you know if you’re ready? (Overcoming fear and self-esteem issues.)
How to decide what ends up in your chapbook? (How many poems have you identified as ready for publication?)
How do you pick the order of your poems/pieces? (Is there a process that will help decide?)
Tips for picking a Title that attracts attention.

Part 2: Learn Professional Layout and Book Design
Workshop 2 (of 3): Monday, April 8th: 6:30 – 8:30 (EST)

Using examples, James will explain how text and images are placed into the Microsoft Word Chapbook template.
He will guide authors through the key elements of professional layout and design:

1. essential elements of aesthetic page design
2. layout fundamentals
3. inserting page numbers and excluding them from blank pages
4. headers and footer options
5. solving the problem of section breaks
6. obtaining ISBN numbers and pricing barcodes for the cover

Other aspects covered:
• How are the first, last, middle and other segments selected?
• How is the ideal title chosen?
• How important is the cover? (a template will be provided, but James does not prepare book covers in the workshop)
• How to find cover designers? (and dealing with copyrighted images)

Part 3: How to Manage Print Options (Hard copy, Print-on-Demand & E-book)
Workshop 3 (of 3): Monday, April 15th: 6:30 – 8:30 (EST)

To Print or Not to Print:

1) How to prepare your manuscript and book cover files for printing.
2) The difference between perfect bound, stapled and other formats.
3) How to talk to print houses like a professional.
4) Controlling the proof copy and final print run process.
5) Balancing cost and expectations when ordering your first shipment.

Preparing your Template to sell as a Print on Demand:

1) How to change your Layout for uploading to Amazon as a Print-On-Demand template.

Preparing your Template to sell as an e-book online:

1) Adapting the Layout so it converts to the (free) Kindle Create app.
2) Uploading and checking your ebook on the (free) Kindle Previewer app.
3) How to prepare your book to upload to Amazon as a kindle e-book.
4) How to price your Print-on-Demand and e-book.

FOLLOW-UP 30 Minute Review:

Once you have created your interior and cover pdfs for printing, James will review them and address any issues you might have finishing your layout. He will ask for your Word version, repair it, and email it back to you if they can be fixed easily.

If the problem is more substantial and he cannot achieve this in under 30 minutes, he will advise you of the problem, provide an estimate at his normal rate of $70/hr + HST, before asking if he should proceed.

NOTE: Our Piquant Press and Stones Throw Publications’ books have been printed with a reputable Toronto Printer who offers special pricing for small books in small print runs. We can obtain a quote for you when your interior and cover templates are finalized. These will be priced individually with participants at the conclusion of the workshops.