Chapbook Publishing

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to return my contract?

Once you receive your contract, you have a couple of weeks (15 days) to sign and return the requested materials.

If you have an emergency, like a car accident or other life event that prevents your timely reply, just let us know and we will work with you. 

How will you get paid if my book doesn’t sell?

Chapbooks are often a loss for the publisher. Before we send your contract offer, we have already set aside the funds to pay for publishing. We hope to recover our investment, but if we selected your book, we did so because we like your work and feel it is worthy of investment. No real publisher is guaranteed sales.

Can I design the book cover?

No, but if you contact us with your ideas for the cover, we will genuinely take your ideas into consideration. That said, when you sign a contract with a publisher, it is rarely the case that a writer controls the cover. We have an interest in recovering our investment, and we must be allowed to create a professional cover that meets our needs in the marketplace. 

Can I reprint the poems/stories elsewhere?

Yes, with a couple of limitations. Any poems or stories that have their first publication in your new chapbook should receive an acknowledgement if printed elsewhere. And, future publications cannot include more than 50% of the poems / stories from the chapbook…this assures that no other publication is so similar to the chapbook that readers would skip buying the chapbook when collecting your publications. If this is unclear, please contact us.

Do I receive an author's discount on the books?

Absolutely! Authors can leverage a special discount in order to profit from selling chapbooks at book readings and events. Shipping is a flat rate of $10 no matter how many you purchase. Authors receive 50% off in quantities as low as 100 copies. 

  • 100+ Copies (50% Discount)

How much am I paid for the publication?

Authors receive 10 copies and publication as payment for the short collection. Chapbooks are rarely profitable for the publisher. We take a loss on most of our chapbook offerings, and the deep discounts we offer the authors means that we are highly vulnerable to losses. Most chapbooks are sold by the author at book readings etc., and those sales generally result in direct profits to the author. Unlike larger book publishing platforms, chapbook are small collections that don’t pay royalties.

Does my chapbook include an ISBN?

Prolific Press does purchase and provide a unique ISBN and barcode (not a free ISBN like those found at print on demand publishers. We provide a genuine Bowker ISBN, standard in the bookseller industry). We make this investment to help ensure that our chapbooks can be collected and traded long after they are out of print, further preserving the voice of the writer.

How many books do I have to buy?

Zero. You do not HAVE to buy books. This is real publishing, not a vanity press. Writers do not need to guarantee any sales or buy any books. In fact, if a publisher ever requires that you guarantee sales, buy books, pre-sell books, or pay for any services, like the book cover, printing, ISBN, anything at all, then that is a vanity press. Prolific Press is not a vanity press.

How long does it take for a determination?

It varies based on the volume of submissions. Please wait 6 months before inquiring. Prolific Press is becoming more popular every year. All submissions are read and the process is time consuming. Please be patient as we work hard to thoughtfully consider each and every submission.

How do I withdraw a submission?

Just send an email to the editor. We process withdraws fairly quickly, and we appreciate your professionalism. 

Can I make edits after I send in the contract?

Yes, we tend to honor all reasonable requests. We generally honor all your wishes with regard to edits, provided your suggested changes are limited to the manuscript we accepted for publication and don’t result in a new manuscript with new works or drastically changed works etc. Obviously, a writer cannot sign a contract and then expect the publisher to print something new or different than what was agreed upon. We may (and probably will) suggest edits to your manuscript, but you can reject edits and/or suggest new changes. We understand you want control over your work. We have never lost a contract due to reasonable editorial requests or conflicts. 

What company do you use to print your chapbooks?

Our chapbooks are printed (in-house) on either 24# or 28# archival-quality paper (for less bleed-through). Covers are printed in full color on 110lb paper (thick and durable). Chapbooks are moved to our trimming station where they are folded and bound (by hand) using a commercial-grade saddle stapler. Each book is carefully trimmed using a hand-operated 17″ guillotine trimmer, making the outside edge crisp (just like perfect bound books have). Every book is sealed in a clear-plastic sleeve to keep your books clean and new-looking until they are sold. The extra effort means our hand-crafted chapbooks are more expensive to produce, but beautiful and highly collectible. Because chapbooks are produced in very small numbers, we believe it’s important to ensure that the author’s voice survives the ravages of time. Quality is key. We build our books to last.

Where will my book be sold?

Chapbooks are only sold at the Prolific Press Online Bookstore. We do not include the full distribution chain with chapbooks because the small runs and limited sales make it unneccesary. 

Don't I need to pay anything?

No, not for publishing. However, in 2024, we did change our policy on reading fees. In order to prevent abuse and to combat the thousands of daily submissions generated by artificial intelligence, we now charge a nominal reading fee of $10 per submission. Our chapbooks are professional publications, not self-publishing. An expert reader will read and carefully evaluate the book, usually several times. The tiny reading fee pays for coffee and eliminates submissions from bots or writers who are insincere.

How many pages should my chapbook be?

Ideally, using a 5.5″ X 8.5″ page, in 11pt New Times Roman font, 20 pages of poetry. If you can’t figure that out, make your best guess. If we like the work and it is the wrong size, we will make suggestions to try and come up with a solution that works for both of us.

Do you accept simultaneous submissions?

Yes, just be sure to withdraw immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. It is very frustrating to pay for your manuscript to be processed, only to learn that it is no longer available. That’s an expensive mistake that hurts the press and the many writers we serve. 

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