Entries tagged with “Curbside Splendor Publishing”.

Part 7 of Flash Fiction Chronicles’ ongoing series, “Creating and Publishing a Flash Chapbook” by Bonnie ZoBell.”  Click HERE to find links to the entire series which includes articles and interviews by Bonnie ZoBell and Marko Fong.

by Bonnie ZoBell 

The busy Victor David Giron is with us today to talk about flash fiction chapbooks from his perspective as president, publisher, and accountant of Curbside Splendor Publishing based in Chicago and carried by Consortium Distribution based out of Minneapolis. The publishing outfit includes the imprints Curbside Splendor the journal, which looks for gritty, real, “urban” prose, poetry, and photography. And then there’s Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), which is more of a themed issue. And now Curbside Splendor also has Artifice Magazine, which seeks work that’s aware of its own artifice, and Artifice Books, which will start publishing books next year. Victor is a CPA and bar owner who says he can’t let go of his desire to be a philosopher. He started Curbside Splendor in 2009 to publish his debut coming-of-age novel Sophomoric Philosophy, but then was “like dang, publishing is fun,” and so here we are. Sophomoric Philosophy won Latino Literacy Now’s 2011 Latino Books into Movies Award. Victor’s short stories have been published in several literary journals.

BZ:  Hello, Victor. Glad you had some time to talk today.

VDG:  Hey, what’s up?  No problem, happy to talk.

 BZ:  What would you say Curbside Splendor Publishing is looking for in the way of fiction chapbook submissions?

VDG:  We look for stuff that’s punchy, that we’re excited about both in the writing and the fact that the author is someone who we think is writing great stuff but also has a vision, a dedication to promoting themselves.

BZ:  Does Curbside Splendor have a philosophy?

VDG:  We seek to play our part in supporting independent publishing and to publish work that is found interesting and entertaining by the casual urban reader.  We view our authors as brands and as partners.  We work hard to, and quite enjoy, promoting our authors and getting their books discussed by the press. We view ourselves as extensions of our author’s creative machine.

 BZ:  What mistakes do you see writers making who submit to you?

VDG:  Mainly that they haven’t edited their work well enough, and also they haven’t taken the time to understand what we’re seeking by reading the work we’ve published and are just blindly submitting.

 BZ:  What’s your idea of a perfect submission?

VDG:  I don’t know if there is such a thing.  Reviewing and accepting submissions can be pretty subjective.  We’re not pretending or advocating that we’re accepting only the *best* writing.  We’re self-funded, not affiliated with a university or public funding, and so we’re simply accepting books that we as individuals feel we should put our time and money behind.  Our staff members have regular (or irregular) jobs, some of us are parents, and we’re all writers ourselves.  So Curbside is this vehicle we use to publish and promote creative writing and art we’re excited about, that we’re inspired by, and we just think tons of people should be reading it.

BZ:  Name a few writers whose chapbooks you’ve published and tell us a few words about their books.

VDG:  There’s Franki Elliot, or at least that’s what she calls herself.  We published her first book, a small little pocketbook, Piano Rats, in 2011.  It’s 44 short raunchy pieces that cross across prose and poetry.  She works in the music industry and writes on the side, quite a lot, and we discovered that she had self-published a version of Piano Rats and dug the book so much that we decided to re-release it at a wider scale and have since agreed to publish her second book Kiss As Many Women As You Can in 2013. There’s Michael Czyzniejewski, the beer vendor / collegiate creative writing instructor whose chapbook Chicago Stories:  40 Dramatic Fictions we published in 2012.  It’s an amazing collection of 40 flash fictions each told in the persona of a famous Chicagoan and illustrated by Chicago artist Rob Funderburk.  And then there’s Amber Sparks, the Washington DC-based author whose short stories have been published all over the Internet, and we put together a volume of them in a handsome book called May We Shed These Human Bodies designed by Alban Fischer.  She’s a powerful writer whose work mesmerizes, drawing upon mythologies and fables for inspiration. 

BZ:  If you could put a fold-out in one of your chapbooks, who or what would it be of?

VDG: Um, I don’t know.  Marilyn Monroe I guess, because she’s hot and I love all her quotes.

 BZ: Talk a little about the production of your chapbooks. What size are they? How are they made? How much color do you use? What is the page range of most of them?

VDG:  Our standard ones are 5 x 8, about 150 pages long, though the smallest Piano Rats was only 72 pages long and it’s 4 x 6, and the largest now is this huge 10 x 10, 240 page-long anthology about beds and the things that happen there called The Way We Sleep coming out soon (though I suppose that’s no longer a chapbook).  TWWS will feature prose along with color comics.  We have one chapbook that featured color drawings, a romance poetry book called The Chapbook:  Poems by Charles Bane Jr. that came out in 2011. We’ve since started a bilingual imprint called Concepción Books under which we’ll publish another book utilizing color called Always / Siempre, a collaborative photo-poem book by Helen Vitoria and B.L. Pawelek. The book will be stunning with color pages and photographs. So we’re definitively into using color when it makes sense, but plenty of our other books feature art in black and white because that also makes sense sometimes. We like using Lightning Source to print because they’re an “on-demand” printer and allow a ton of flexibility from a print-run perspective—we can set our print runs based on demand basically. Their quality is good, but they’re limited in terms of print sizes and color, so when we want to get highly creative we us other “traditional” printers.  Lightning Source is improving all the time though.

 BZ:  Do you accept manuscripts all year round or only during certain times of the year?

VDG:  Yeah, we pretty much are always open. Check the guidelines to know what’s up.  For books, it’s basically you email us a pitch, a query letter / email telling us about your book and yourself, and if we think we can get behind it, we’ll ask for more. 

BZ: Are you interested in chapbooks from new writers who haven’t had books or chapbooks published before?

VDG:  Yes. See Franki Elliot, who had never been published anywhere before. Some of our more recent and now planned projects are with more “established” writers or brands, but that’s because they dug us and we dug them and got to working on something.  But as we work with these more established writers to bring out their projects, we’ll continue to seek out the diamonds in the rough and work to put their work out as well.

BZ:  How many stories in the chapbooks submitted to you do you like to see already published?

VDG:  It ranges from zero (again see Franki Elliot’s Piano Rats) to 100% (Amber Sparks and Michael Czyzniejewski).  It’s good if the work has been published as it means the author has built appeal / a potential fan base, but not always necessary. In general I would say that if you are compiling a story collection, you should try as hard as you can to get them published. It only helps, plus you can get a sense as to what objective readers think of your work.

BZ: Any last advice or tips you’d like to give writers?

VDG:  Keep writing, keep editing, have other objective readers like not your mom or sister read your work and give you feedback.  Read your work aloud.  Go to your local open-mic and throw it down, even if it scares the crap out of you.  Have fun with it. Pour yourself into it.  Make sure you take the time to know the publishers you’re submitting to because it pays off.  Oh, yeah, and read, a lot, and go out and experience stuff.

BZ:  Thanks so much for all this valuable information, Victor.


Bonnie ZoBell’s fiction chapbook THE WHACK-JOB GIRLS is forthcoming with Monkey Puzzle Press in March 2013 and her short story collection WHAT HAPPENED HERE is forthcoming with Press 53 in spring 2014. She’s received an NEA, the Capricorn Novel Award, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, and a spot on Wigleaf’s Top 50. Her work has appeared in Night Train, The Greensboro Review, New Plains Review, PANK, Connotation Press, and elsewhereShe received an MFA from Columbia, currently teaches at San Diego Mesa College, and is Associate Editor of The Northville Review. More of her work can be found at www.bonniezobell.com.

This is Part 2 of an intermittent FFC series on “Creating and Publishing a Fiction Chapbook.”   Part 1 of the Chapbooks series was written by Bonnie ZoBell.  “Creating a Fiction Chapbook appeared at FFC on September 10.

by Bonnie ZoBell

 I’m going to tell you what I know from my own experience and what I’ve heard from other writers. However, I’m also going to rely largely on fiction chapbook editors themselves as I begin to interview them for this series. The first of these will appear on Thursday, November 22.  Let me answer a few common questions.

How many stories in my chapbook should already be published?

Different opinions abound on the answer to this question. I’ve talked to a few writer friends lately who are afraid that not enough of their stories are published to start submitting their books. On the other hand, I’ve read submission policies for at least one chapbook outfit that wanted almost none of the stories to be published. Mine all were, but that meant there were some chapbook venues I couldn’t submit to. Some editors are more than happy to see all of the work published and will ask you to remove story links from your website that are going to appear in your book. One editor I interviewed for this series definitely does not want all your stories published because he feels it’s too easy for someone who follows your work to have already read everything you have. He thinks there should be surprises in the book that no one has yet seen. Stay tuned for the upcoming interviews to see how varied editor opinion is about this matter.

Where should I submit my chapbook for publication?

That’s the million dollar question because even though more presses are making chapbooks, still not a whole lot are. When I heard of a place, I’d go to the site, and three-quarters of the time they said they were completely overwhelmed with submissions right then, weren’t currently reading, and didn’t know when they would be.  I had to keep looking and share information with friends who were circulating chapbooks at the same time. We compared notes about venues’ submission deadlines, their likes and dislikes, and newer markets as well as critiquing each others’ books. 

Of course, one of the best possible scenarios would be to win a chapbook contest because of the publicity your book would get. However, you have to figure that everyone in the world is submitting to those contests, which makes your chances pretty low. Also, often they’re only reading once a year for these, and it may not be the time you want to submit.

Where can I find out about contests and presses publishing chapbooks?



Probably the best advice I got was from friends who had already published chapbooks and understood the process. Mainly, they knew  the names of presses that produce chapbooks and had heard good and not-so-good things about them, which was helpful. That’s how I found Monkey Puzzle Press.  Although I didn’t use anybody’s name when I submitted, the tip from a writer friend brought them to my attention. I did say I loved the person’s book, which I did, but not that she had suggested I send my manuscript to  them.

Poets & Writers

This site has the most inclusive and easiest to use list of publishers of chapbooks I found. Go to Poets & Writers main page, here. Click on “Tools for Writers,” then “small presses,” then enter “chapbook” in the area on the right that says “search small presses.” You will be taken to a very long list of presses that publish chapbooks. If you click on these, you’ll get more information about the press as well as a link to the website.

New Pages

This site, too, has quite a bit of information about where you can publish chapbooks. Got to New Pages main page here. Spend time looking through both “Contests” and “Publishers.” On both of these pages, using the “find” function on your computer, enter “chapbook,” and you will find the presses that publish them. Then you can click on the name of the press and be taken to its website.

Your Browser

You can put “chapbook” in your browser or “chapbook contest” to see what specific chapbooks come up and where the person published it.

Other Writers’ Bios

Read the bios of writers you admire who have chapbooks and see where they published.


Specific Ideas and Places to Send Your Chapbook 

I tried to keep a page on my computer where I regularly jotted down ideas and places to send mine. Here are some of the ones I came up with. Please add to the list so I can learn more, too!

Achilles Chapbook Contest

BkMk Press

Black Lawrence Press

Black Lawrence Chapbook Contest

Brooklyn Arts Press

Burning River Press

Caketrain Chapbook Contest


Chapbook Genius

The Collagist Chapbook Contest

Curbside Splendor Publishing

Cutbank Chapbook Contest

Dark Sky Books


FutureCycle Press

Jaded Ibis Press

Kore Press

Long Drive Books

Madras Press

Magic Helicopter Press

Matter Press

Monkey Puzzle Press

Mudluscious Nephew Series

New Delta Review Chapbook Contest

PANK Little Books

Patasola Press

Red Ochre Press

RopeWalk Press

Rose Metal press

Safety Third Enterprises

Split Oak Press

Stay tuned for Fiction Chapbook editor and publisher reviews.


Bonnie ZoBell’s fiction chapbook THE WHACK-JOB GIRLS is forthcoming with Monkey Puzzle Press in March 2013 and her short story collection WHAT HAPPENED HERE is forthcoming with Press 53 in spring 2014. She’s received an NEA, the Capricorn Novel Award, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, and a spot on Wigleaf’s Top 50. Her work has appeared in Night Train, The Greensboro Review, New Plains Review, PANK, Connotation Press, and elsewhere. She received an MFA from Columbia, currently teaches at San Diego Mesa College, and is Associate Editor of The Northville Review. More of her work can be found at www.bonniezobell.com.