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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Chapbooks

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by deadrats, Mar 23, 2019.

    Has anyone here published a chapbook? I don't know two much about them. I always thought they were more for poetry, but I have a friend who has been contacted by a publisher about writing a fiction chapbook. I guess there is some hesitation about doing this. I feel like I would jump at the opportunity. Would you publish a chapbook and why or why not? Also, is this primarily the kind of thing where publishers solicit writers? Kind of wondering how this whole thing works. Any insight is much appreciated.
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

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  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    That's pretty clearly directed at poetry chapbooks, the traditional use. Deadrats is asking about a chapbook for short stories.

    Which I've never heard of. It would just sort of be a short collection, I guess?

    If the publisher is okay with using reprints and isn't going to charge the author, I think it might be worth investigating, for stories that aren't doing anything else. But I'd be wary about committing first rights to something pretty experimental.
     
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  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

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    I wouldn't call a collection of shorts in a book to be a small booklet, but more of
    novel length. At least in my experience with them, they tend to range at around
    200 pages minimum, but can be much larger.
    Chapbooks average right around 24-26 pages (fiction).
    So perhaps this site would be better, since they publish all manner of these types
    of booklets.

    https://www.redbirdchapbooks.com/ChapbookGuidelines

    ETA: How can something so short possibly go for 12$? That is a lot for so little. o_O
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It sounds kind of like the price for very small print magazines. I remember getting a few back issues of an interesting magazine of kinda-academic essays about sewing and fashion, in what I think was this chapbook format. I'm pretty sure each issue was more than ten dollars.
     
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  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Just wondering of why you would be wary of selling first rights. My friend feels this way too. But I don't really see the problem, personally. This is a respectable press that would be putting this out and I'm sure everything would be professionally handled. She has an agent but does not seem interested in talking to her agent about it. I get that she's working on other things. But when you sell a short story collection a lot of the stories have already been published elsewhere. It usually just requires some sort of mention of where the story first appeared. This chapbook publisher does want first rights and is not interested in reprints. Still, I'm pretty sure I would go for it.
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If the deal's good enough (and the sales history is good enough) to merit using first rights, I guess I'd be fine with it. I'm just worried that a short-story chapbook would be a hard sell, in which case, depending on the deal, the author may be "using up" first rights on a bunch of stories and not getting much in return.

    Like, if the chapbook has ten short stories in it, and each of the stories might reasonably have sold to a journal or other source for, say, $1K each, then I'd expect the advance on the chapbook to approach $10K, or, alternatively, for the publisher to be able to show a sales history of similar books that would suggest the author is likely to receive about that much money through royalties.

    Now, obviously it's not totally realistic to expect all the short stories to sell to journals, but then I wonder why it would be realistic for the publisher to expect significant sales of the stories in chapbook format. You know? If these are fantastic stories, then I expect a lot of them would eventually sell to journals. if they're less-than-fantastic stories, I'd expect the publisher to not want them or the chapbook to sell poorly.

    But short stories aren't my market. I'm just sort of applying general principles to the idea; I have no specific insights.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not familiar with the place you're referencing. I guess who is putting it out will always be a factor. Thanks for the link, though.
     
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  9. rincewind31

    rincewind31 Active Member

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    It would be a very hard sell, unless they're a known author. Although if the publisher isn't charging them, or want a 'contribution' I don't see the harm.
     
  10. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I don't know any of the specifics, but I doubt there is any $10k advance involved. It also would be for one story and not ten. That said, very, very few short stories sell for $1k. It happens, but I don't think a short story writer can count on something like that happening very often if at all. I would think there might be more earning potential in having a chapbook put out with a single story than thinking that same story might bring in $1k with the magazine and journals. My friend's got a good story, but there are some factors that could make it a hard sell. I don't know. I just think I would do it. I can't really think of a reason not to that makes sense to me. As a short story writer, I know it's hard to even give stories away to publishers.
     
  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'd want to see a publishing history that made it clear that there wasn't going to be a problem giving the chapbook away to readers...
     
  12. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

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    To be fair I am not familiar with them either, just thought it might help
    to find a publisher that strictly deals with what you are looking for.
    And you're welcome. :)
     

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