Inner Visions by Elizabeth Sophia Strauss.

by Elizabeth Sophia Strauss

Elizabeth Strauss opens the doors for readers to explore some of life’s deepest experiences in zir debut collection Inner Visions. Love, breakups, trauma, eroticism, feminism, queerness, and other food for thought are perfectly balanced into a melting pot of stories told through both poetry and pankus. A profound journey that will open your eyes to Strauss’s inner world, as well as your own.

What ze wanted

To voice zir visions and polish them with a team of poetry professionals

What ze had

An eclectic mix of poetry and pankus poured over 150 pages and 5 years of writing

What we did

Arrangement suggestions
Critique Letter
Blurb creation
Price development
Set up on 2 platforms
ePub development

From “secret poet” to aspiring author…

A secret poet for years, Strauss had always aspired to become a published author but never imagined ze would branch out from playwright to poetry. Often sharing zir thoughts on social media, zir true “inner visions” remained hidden in over five years of writing that were never brought to life. It wasn’t until 2020 when zir friend Justin Schibner came out and published his book, Every Grain of Sand. From that moment, Strauss was inspired to embark on zir own publication journey through written words!

Overflowing with poetry but not knowing how to organize it, ze was looking for someone to help zir polish and refine zir collection. Ze wanted support with structuring, wording, and editing. All ze needed was the right team to guide the way—a patient bunch of editors, designers, and project managers to help zir get zir inner visions out clearly into the world. After hearing Justin’s story, Strauss was just one call away— ze spoke with Kallie over Zoom to chat about publishing her collection and was sold!

I felt that Tell Tell saw I had talent and it wasn’t all just in my head. I finally felt it was going to be turned into a real book! I knew I was in good safe hands.

The “typo queen” meets zir trusted editors

Elizabeth amassed a lot of work—over 150 pages created over 5 years, and we were able to break everything down and start in chunks in order to create a refreshing experience. We started off by selecting the poems we felt were best fit for the collection, based on the general themes and content of the work. In the end, we arranged the collection into 3 unique sections.

From there, we provide various rounds of proofreading, critique, and line edits, collaborating with Strauss throughout the way. Ze knew ze needed help flagging zir typos and even claimed ze wore a crown for Halloween one year that said ze was the “queen of typos.” Strauss appreciated our patience and diligence with zir work, our editor’s eagle eyes, and the innovative ideas we’d spark up as a team.

Strauss was impressed by some of our team’s practices, which allowed zir to comfortably ride the wave of the editing process, feeling that ze was fine-tuning zir work but still maintaining zir own sense of unique creativity. We supported zir in titling some of the poems and using brackets to differentiate the titles in the Table of Contents. Ze thought that was a beautiful idea that the editors came up with and ran with it!

I really do recommend people work with professional editors because you can’t do it alone and it’s just important for an artist to grow that you have other people’s visions to help you curate it.

From eye to eye

With Tell Tell’s in-house cover artists, the design process was seamless. Strauss came to us with a clear cover concept in zir mind: zir friend David Wayne Fox, a local NYC artist, snapped a zoomed-in photo of zir eye. Positive this was the perfect image to resonate with zir work, zir inner visions, **Strauss shared it with the team and we made zir cover vision a reality.

Our cover designer came up with a few concepts using the image, including some hand-drawn ideas inspired by the eye. However, Strauss’s heart was set on the original concept, so we worked some magic and made it into a print-ready book cover.

After Strauss chose the font and layout ze loved, our interior designer structured the book into various chapters. Each poem flowed into the next, just as Elizabeth flowed with the publishing process in each new step. We helped zir reconstruct Inner Visions in a new light–a way ze didn’t think was possible. Exploring titles, sections, and new tools to push zir creativity even further, Strauss’s work became something ze identifies with even more than before!

It was a team effort. Yes, these came out of my brain but it was not polished by myself.

Beyond publishing

In November 2022, Inner Visions was set live. A collection of love, breakups, heartache, erotic moments, political drama, and social injustice, it is an eclectic mix of all Strauss’s visions set free in word form. For Strauss, the book represents a journey—one that began when ze first had that initial Zoom call with Kallie and that led zir to have the courage to stand up to a crowd and recite poems in an open mic in front of complete strangers. A journey where Strauss evolved, both as a poet and as a person.

Strauss is currently in the process of publishing book number two with Tell Tell. While ze’s based in New York City, you might be able to catch zir performing live around the world or in zir favorite hub, Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

It gave me confidence and a new appreciation for my work

There’s nothing I would change, it was even more beautiful than I expected

Stop making excuses. Make it happen.