Bringing “The Play’s The Thing” to a YA Audience

For two and a half years,  all of you gathered online to ask questions, discuss, and read about some of the greatest plays ever written. It was an extraordinary project, and one that I’m not willing to see come to an end.

So my goal, my dream then, is to convert and rewrite the two and a half years of material and bring it to a young adult audience, readers who might be intimidated to tackle Shakespeare, or who believe that the plays are old, and dusty, and, perish the thought “classic” that have nothing to do with their lives, or, really, the lives of anyone in the 21st century.

But traditional publishing houses have been reluctant to take the project on. So I’m going anon-traditional route, using Pentian.

Here’s how it works:

• Authors such as myself come to Pentian to gather funding for their book’s publishing.

• Readers pledge to support new talent that they discover on the Pentian site.

• Both the authors and readers profit financially when books are sold. (From net profits, 50% goes to financial backers of the book, 40% to the author, and 10% to Pentian.)

It’s a new publishing platform that works. Risky projects (such as mine), get published and marketed just like any other title if they can get public backing that proves there’s an audience for the title. Investors win, Pentian wins, and I win.

And most of all, young adult readers will win. My book, entitled “The Play’s The Thing” (naturally) will contain one essay per play. It’s going to be smart but non-academic, funny and interesting and informal and readable, and will show reluctant readers (of all ages really) that the things that concerned Shakespeare – love won and lost, parents and children, how power is won and lost – are our, are their concerns as well. (And the book’s illustrations, done by well-known comic book artist John Rauch will only add to the book’s appeal)

As I write in my introduction:

“…the problem for so many of us is that Shakespeare has become so “classic,” so much a writer to be studied but not enjoyed, whose characters talk funny and can be difficult to understand, that the sheer enjoyment to be found in reading Shakespeare, in becoming acquainted with his characters, in learning the brilliance of his language has been lost.

The goal of this guide, then, is to turn Shakespeare from somebody you have to read into somebody that you want to read.”

If you’re interested in becoming part of the project, click here.

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4 Responses to Bringing “The Play’s The Thing” to a YA Audience

  1. Valerie Bijur Carlson says:

    Hello, Mr. Abrams! A quick question, because I am very interested in helping publish the book through Pentian: Is the cover as shown the cover that you intend to use? I ask because of the title (THE PLAY or THE PLAY’S THE THING?) and, of more concern, the blurb. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. I’m hoping it’s just a place-holder, but it doesn’t show well——. Looking forward to hearing more and to reading more!

    • Valerie: It’s just a place holder (and one that’s going to be gone as of tomorrow). The title is The Play’s The Thing. The painting will be the cover. Any other questions, please let me know.

  2. MG says:

    This does not seem to work the same as other crowdfund projects I have done. When do you expect it to be completed? THANKS
    PS It sounds like such a great project. Can’t wait!

    • MG: You’re right — it is different in that it lets the investors share in the earnings. I’m hoping to have the book done by mid to late Spring — not sure exactly when it will come out — late summer/early fall maybe? And…many thanks.

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