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Creating Chapbooks
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Middle School Literacy & Reading/Writing Workshop
PDF of Instructor's Guide
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Writers Thoughts on Writing

Creating a Chapbook

Making the Cover
The front cover of your chapbook should include:

  • A title
  • A picture or photograph or some kind of eye-catching design
  • The author's name and the name of your school or, for multiple authors, something like "Mrs. Smith's Eighth-Grade Class" and the name of your school

The back cover of your chapbook should include:

  • A short description of the contents that will entice the reader to look inside
  • A short biographical note about the writer or, for multiple writers, a list of their names
  • Contact information for the publisher (your class and your school)

You can use the template provided here or make your own. This template is set up so that you view the back cover and the front cover as separate pages, although they will print on the same sheet of paper. If you have access to a computer with page-layout software such as Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Pagemaker or Quark Xpress, you or your students can experiment with a variety of layouts and designs.

Download the Microsoft Word Chapbook Templates
Chapbook Front and Back Covers
Chapbook Interior Pages

The back and front covers will be printed on one side of one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Experiment with different paper colors and textures. You can find a variety of cover-weight paper at your local print shop.

Inside Pages
The template that follows is designed to make a 24-page chapbook. This template is set up so that you view each page separately, although they will print on the same sheet of paper.

Using your word processing program, customize copyright information, and if you wish, add a title page and acknowledgements page. You can experiment with different fonts to give your chapbook the look you want: formal, fun, industrial, etc.

Type or cut-and-paste each poem into the spaces shown in the template. Poems can be arranged in any order you desire.

When you are finished, proofread everything, then print the document. If your printer does not have a duplex (print on both sides) function, you can select "Manual Duplex" in the Print window. You may need to experiment with your printer to determine how to flip the paper so the booklet prints correctly in Manual Duplex mode. For more information, look in Microsoft Word Help.

Note: Written works are automatically protected by U.S. copyright law, even if they are not officially registered with the U.S. government. You do not have to register the work in order to use the copyright symbol .

Assembling the Chapbook
After all pages are printed, you will bind them together to make a booklet. Fold the cover and inside pages in half, then staple them on the fold. This is called "saddle stitching". Be sure that you stack the paper carefully with the cover on top so that the flat part of the staple shows on the cover, once you have stapled the chapbook together. You should only need two staples to bind a book of this size.

If your chapbook is too thick to saddle stitch, do not fold the pages or the cover. Instead, cut inside pages and covers in half and arrange them in the correct order. Your local print shop can bind the loose pages using GBC combs or spiral wire binding for a small fee per book.

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