The Chap Book

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The Chap Book was born out of a joke at last year’s AWP in Seattle. It was my first time attending the literature convention, and it was my first time hearing about “chapbooks,” which came off as a very lucrative enterprise.

(For those who don’t know, a chapbook is traditionally a small collection of prose/poetry/fiction that showcases a writer’s or a magazine’s talents. They’re tiny, compact, and usually enthralling.)

Everybody had a chapbook, and I truly mean everybody. Each writer I met and each table I stopped by, there was someone sitting there, hands hovering over teeny, tiny books, ready to dish one out in exchange for a few bucks. 

I didn’t know why, but I felt compelled to buy them, and it reminded me of childhood, where I spent many hours collecting trading cards. Hockey, basketball, baseball, movie, and comic book cards, I sought out them all, tucking them away in a massive binder never to see the light of day again.

But it was exhilarating. It was adventurous. In collecting those cards, I was akin to a treasure hunter, an explorer, or even Indiana Jones. And my museum? The bottom of the closet.

Some habits die hard. My AWP experience last year proved this, but this year I come prepared. With the help of the stellar S.A., we’ve developed the ultimate in chapbook stewardship.

Click HERE to open that coveted Ark (or read a brief summary below).


What you are holding in your hands is righteous truth, my friend. It’s the good word. It’s the sincerest of earnestness you’ll ever see bound together. Every writer and his/her mother has a chapbook full of delicious poetry and salivating stories, which is all fine and dandy, but do any of them ever include any honest-to-goodness chaps?

Hell no.

And why not?

Because they don’t have S.A. They don’t have that artistic titan who has so succinctly condensed an illustrated history of “the chap” and graced these beloved pages with it. With a stalwart drawing pen, S.A. set the record straight on what a “chap book” really is. There’s no more confusion, friend. This is it. This is the truest chap book you’ll ever hold. Cherish it. Smell it. Kiss it. Most importantly, share it with people. Share it with people who don’t even know what a chap is, where to buy one, or how long to it takes to domesticate one. By sharing it with just one person, you may have fundamentally altered the course of human history.