Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Self-Publishers: Is Your Work Good Enough for ePub?

by Stella Atrium

I produced a couple plays in Chicago small theater and worked with great performers, directors, fight instructors, and crew who gave their hearts as well as their time to display new works in non-profit theater.

One director was experienced from her country-of-origin and talked often about how she procured costumes and set decorations and good press for a theater group there that was attached to a high school.  Of course, Chicago is a world-class market, even for non-profit -- and finding these treasures was also a bigger effort in our fragmented communities.  girlegg

Small theater is about vision, and also about compromise as the group approached opening night and made choices for what could get completed in time for that first raised curtain.  Occasionally, we had to settle for what we could accomplish rather than the original vision.

We were lucky to generate some buzz about the production, and a famous reviewer from The Chicago Tribune was scheduled to visit a performance in the first week of an eight-week run.  When this director learned that the reviewer would write about our production, she broke out in hives – literally.

Suddenly, none of the completed work was good enough.  The director started driving the production manager, the crew, the actors, and everybody for improved choices, better flow, smoother cues, enhanced lighting, additional costume choices.  Finally, I realized that she had not experienced this level of scrutiny from reviewers and was gripped with fear that the production was not good enough for the Tribune.

Time to step up to prime time.

eggshellsSelf-publishing is similar to this example in that, for a good part of the project, the writer can please herself and complete the amount of work needed to meet personal goals.  The writer can make a website, join Twitter and FaceBook, and create a blog submitted to Tumblr.

The writer can solicit reviews from friends and from companies that sell services, and post the kind words mined from a few paragraphs posted by a reader who only has her own reading arch to draw on for comparison.  This work – and it’s real work – takes dedication and vision and commitment to selling the value of the story.

Except at some point a world-class reviewer will notice your story.  At some point a fellow writer who has reputation and sales will look at your story.  A writer who you have read and admire will follow you on Twitter.  Eventually, an agent or publisher who is trolling Twitter and GoodReads for the next break-out novel will stumble across your book cover.

Will you make the grade? Or are you trying to publish your dreams more than publish a real-world classic.

•    Is your story more than 90 pages? Was the story copy-edited more than once?

•    Is the cover derivative from similar stories so they all look alike?

•    Is the grammar correct? Does the reader engage within the first 4 pages?

•    Is the blurb truthful and informative? Do the promo paragraphs respect the genre?

•    Is the primary character fully drawn? Are side characters interesting and various?

•    Does the plot teach the reader something about herself while moving along at a good clip?

•    Is the story satisfying for growth in all character? Where is the surprise? walkshells

These concerns cannot be changed after the reviewer has found fault or expressed a wish that the story was better presented. The writer cannot argue with the reviewer and claim his view ignores all your good work.

What writers among you have taken a story off the market and reworked it after the reviewers wrote unkind comments that more work is needed?

Is your story only good enough for epub, or is your story ready to endure the scrutiny that you think you seek? Some opportunities happen only once.  Some creative work exists in solid form (museum quality) and is no longer available for re-edit.

Is the story ready for prime time?

1 comment:

Disincentive said...

Hi, here's Dominika from Book Blogs. I just followed you! :)

Disincentive @ (read, watch, listen) - reviews

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