A poet friend of mine, who also has a full-length poetry manuscript done and is now working on a new project, asked me the other day to help her decide on a title for a chapbook. She told me she’s been sending out her full-length for a while now and nothing’s been hitting, so she decided to try to send out a group of her most recent poems to some chapbook contests instead. This got me thinking about doing the same thing.
-Many chapbook contests offer publication to the winner and several of the finalists (though no cash purse to the finalists), which means you are actually looking at a better shot of seeing your work in print.
-Even if you get your work published in a chapbook first, you can still submit to the First Book full-length manuscript contests and use those same poems (as long as you acknowledge where they first appeared). (If this is wrong, please tell me. I can’t find any contests that don’t allow poems to be included if they’d been included in a chapbook previously.)
-You can get your name out there and have something to sell at readings while you’re still shopping around your full-length manuscript.
-To get an academic job, you need at least one full-length poetry book published. Often, you need two.
-Chapbook contest entry fees are usually the same as for full-length book contests. Sometimes they’re cheaper, but not by much.
-It’s a lot of work to put a book together, even if it’s just 16-35 pages.
Do you guys have any thoughts about this? I’d love to hear them!