In one of my previous posts, I mentioned I had submitted Lifeline to Lulu.com as part of their Let’s Go Wrimos Accelerator. All submitted manuscripts, regardless of word count, would be evaluated by the The Book Genome Project for free. This also would include free copies of hardcover editions of the story, as well as a chance to be one of ten finalists for their Accelerator project. I admit, I was fairly excited at the opportunity. I had already run the story by a casual reader; to get an editor’s opinion on it was even better.
Well, looks like the joke’s on me.
My friend had also submitted her manuscript to the project, and the results were, shall we say, less than stellar. The Book Genome Project is not a group of editors at all, but a program Lulu.com uses to analyze descriptive style, dialog balance and motion, as well as compares it to other published authors. This evaluation is based on concepts similar to the Jung personality test. But that’s not the real kicker. They want would-be writers to pay $50 to get the rest of the ‘free’ evaluation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but expecting payment does not fit the definition of free. Self publishing can be a difficult road to navigate; don’t dangle promises like this to those of us who are sustained by dreams of getting into print.
I’d already submitted my story twice to them prior to learning about this. Apparently there was something wrong with the file type (I use Open Office, and they only accept .doc or .docx files), which is why they emailed me to re-submit. I will not be doing it a third time. I wasn’t hanging all my hopes on this. I didn’t really want to be one of their ten finalists, or publish through them. I had anticipated using any information from the evaluation as a means to improve on the content, then I’d move on. Due to my finances being dedicated to other things (surprise!relocation is never fun) I doubt I’ll be getting a real evaluation any time soon. I’m fine with that. I achieved 50K with a completely new story idea. I think that’s reward enough.
Sure, Lulu.com promised big things if you were one of the finalists, including social media advertising and such. Some might even think I’m making a mistake by not taking advantage of the opportunity. However, if I’m going to be published, I want the story’s acceptance to be on its own merits, not because it bears similarities to what’s popular. If I was looking to ride the coattails of someone else’s success, I’d already have written that pretentious vampire novel. Heavy on the BDSM. And making damn sure I insulted those who actively participate in it by showing how woefully ignorant I am.