Making PDF Chapbooks

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]

For a number of years, I was interested in writing and designing digital chapbooks, and during that time I made about a dozen of them.

I used InDesign to lay out the chapbooks, and, if you can get access to the program, it’s quick to learn and you can make chapbooks and other documents in short order. Once made, the chapbooks are easy to export as PDFs that you can share on websites and blogs.

After spending a week at an artist retreat on Ossabaw Island, off the coast of Savannah, I made my chapbook, The Guides to Ossabaw. I wrote the microfictions and designed the inside of the chapbook while on the train back from Savannah to Baltimore.

Untitled 5

When I got home, I made the cover utilizing the photocopy transfer method, using a photograph of Ossabaw and adding the title and author text in InDesign and then printing the document at Kinko’s.

What the cover demonstrates is the beautiful imperfection of the photocopy transfer technique. Depending on the paper or other surface transferred to, how much pressure is applied while making a transfer, and the amount of wintergreen oil used, the resulting transfer can be bolder or fainter in certain areas, and letters or words can appear as cracked or incomplete.


As a friend once said of one of my microfiction wall transfers, “It looks like the wall was run through a copy machine.” It’s a great description, and I like it a lot, though I would only amend it to say that it looks like it was run through a very old copy machine, one that adds loveliness in its defects.

As a thank you gift for a donation of $10 to MicroFiction RowHouse, I’ll email you 3 of my PDF Chapbooks. Thanks!

[To contribute to the MfRh GoFundMe campaign, go here.]

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