Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Versenovels.com!

For those of you who don't know, YA author and blogger Gabrielle Prendergast runs a really cool website called versenovels.com, devoted entirely to verse novels!  I was super excited when Gabrielle asked to interview me for her site, and if you haven't seen it yet, you can check out the entire interview here.  Gabrielle asked me a question I haven't been asked before and have wanted to discuss for a while--in fact, I was planning to write a blog post on the subject--so I thought I would just post the question here for anyone who wants to read it.  That's it for now...happy December, everyone!


 What are the special challenges of indie publishing a verse novel?
Oh, I’ve been dying to answer this question for a while! First, let me mention that my agent is still holding back print rights to DtS in case a publisher is interested, so DtS is an ebook exclusive for now.  Knowing that ebooks aren’t the ideal format for verse novels, you might wonder why I chose to self-publish…well, I’ve written three novels, and the early feedback I received on DtS was more encouraging than any of my previous work.  Despite that, having been on submission before, I wasn’t too surprised when the rejections started rolling in for DtS, and it became clear that most publishers didn’t want to risk taking on a verse novel from an unknown author right now.  Most of the rejections focused on the book’s (non-) commercialism rather than the quality, so, to put it bluntly, I didn’t want to wait any longer when so many writers are finding success with the indie route!
 That said, formatting DtS for kindle was very, very difficult!  It took about twenty formatting drafts, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of compromise on my part.  Being the control freak I am, it was hard for me to give up my longer lines and change the line breaks I’d spent so much time agonizing over, but I needed to in order to make the book aesthetically pleasing on the small kindle screen.  While I may not have been able to keep everything exactly the way I wanted, I was able to replicate many of the shapes and patterns I’d created, and I think on the whole the book translates well.  At least this way I was able to retain total control over the formatting process, and while there’s no print version yet, I’m happy with the compromises I’ve made.
 After releasing the book, the challenge has been the same one I imagine most traditionally published verse authors face—a lot of readers are afraid to try verse novels.  There’s this misconception that verse novels are as complex and confusing as T.S. Eliot or, well, Shakespeare…but the truth is that while you can spend a lot of time examining the nuances of verse novels, you can also read them quickly and still follow the plot and characters.  Verse novels are stories, just like any novel, but the format can be one more barrier to getting readers to pick your novel from among the many, many great books out there.

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