Publishing – the live gig

The web’s a game-changer for publishing.

The traditional approach is to identify art that’s ‘worthy’, clean it up, polish it, actualize it, and then present it to the audience. You hope they’re going to like it.

But the web allows us to connect with the audience much earlier, to gauge their reactions and find out whether they love the work as much as we do. Better still, if we allow them to participate in the publishing process, they have a stake in it too. And often they have brilliant ideas that we’ve never thought of.

Last night I posted Chris Pearson’s poem Hit Me Again as a featured work on this site. If you haven’t seen it, the poem is the simple, touching memory of a man’s first encounter with his unborn daughter – when she kicks him as he puts his ear to the mother’s stomach. We’d already done a good deal of polishing, producing this ( – for the full-size version, click here):

Ultrasound Black

As we saw it, the poem would make a great congratulatory card for someone who had just made their big announcement. But we were concerned about the colour. For a card, didn’t we need to lighten up? So we proposed these two variants, and asked readers for their opinion.

Ultrasound - pink

Ultrasound - Blue

When I checked Comments this morning, I saw this from Cheri deFonteny:
I love this poem, so full of love. In truth, I prefer the black background to the others–something about the ultrasound against those pastel colors is jarring to me. And, beyond congratulatory cards, I think they would make great cards from dads to daughters on major milestones: 13, 16, 18 birthdays, graduations, engagements, etc.

What a great way to start the day! Cheri had given me:

  1. Affirmation that the poem touched someone else as it had touched me.
  2. Reasoned criticism on my colour choices.
  3. A range of marketing options that hadn’t occurred to me.

Not long afterwards, Kama Frankling added her vote.

How beautiful! Bought a smile to my face. I actually love the dark blue background on the top picture, is that possible? Otherwise I think Black is the best choice. The pastels, well, they just lose something really and not quite right.

Confirmation then that the poem was making its mark – and that we probably shouldn’t pastellize the card. Later, Kama added a note on Facebook, suggesting that we shifted the photograph right a little. I’d been thinking exactly that at the design stage yesterday: Kama’s message showed that I should have trusted my instincts.

The web allows the publisher – and the artist to play live. It allows us to try things out, to engage the audience, to see how they respond, to incorporate their good ideas, before we prepare the final release. Coloring The Wind intends to make the most of the opportunity to be a community publisher.

For more on our publishing philosphy, read Creative publishing guidelines.

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you for the mention Alan. When I published my first book “The Happy Migrant” I asked for help with the subtitle. I asked in groups on Facebook and in a blog. It soon became clear what the subtitle should be based on the comments and what people assumed the book was about. Oh and if you are curious, it is “Your Relocation Survival Guide.” I find it very beneficial to ask the public for help and I love helping when asked to do so. Good luck with the card publishing.
    Kama recently posted..Comment on 10 Valuable Confidence Tips – V (A-Z of Confidence) by KamaMy Profile

  2. I love the idea of using this as a card. I also like the black background. The poem is beautiful and the dark background creates drama. I like the way you wrapped the words around the sonogram picture. Good job.
    Julia Neiman (@parenttrainer) recently posted..Create a List of Five “Daily Musts”My Profile

  3. Alan Miles

    I should have taken your path, Kama, and listened to people. I was working with a group of fellow-writers who all told me that ‘The Lebanese Troubles’ was a terrible name for my first novel – because it looked like a factual account of Middle East politics – which it isn’t … much. But I thought I was smarter and carried on regardless. Big mistake. Good lesson.

  4. Ouch but yes a good lesson. I think we all need a few of those lessons so we can improve.
    Kama recently posted..Comment on 10 Valuable Confidence Tips – V (A-Z of Confidence) by KamaMy Profile

  5. Thanks for the shout out, Alan, and I’m glad to have been of even a bit of help. I’ve been enjoying watching this journey you’re on, and am intrigued to see how it all works out in the end.
    Cheri recently posted..Snapshot Sunday #3My Profile

  6. It’s not that I wish to belittle the internet (although it does get overblown often), but this practice- product testing, focus groups, etc. has been around forever- for JUST these reasons. The internet is but a tool in that arsenal.
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted..YahrzeitMy Profile