Saturday, September 3, 2011

The title Minefield...

It can be nerve-wracking when your publisher wants your input on things like covers etc... For all the times you might think 'I wish I had more control over this' remember that with great control comes great responsibility. What makes a great cover? Who will it appeal to? Will it make your target audience pick the book up? Will it make a wider audience pick it up? Will the people who pick it up feel that the cover represented the contents and feel satisfied with their selection. Or will they feel duped or cheated? Or will they think its better than they expected? Do certain colours put people off. Is the cover too juvenile for the target audience or too mature? Will it attract boys and girls. See - it's a minefield. When you are already sweating and fretting about whether your book will sell or not, if the cover was your idea it can make you sweat and fret more. And yet to be able to share your thoughts on things like this is exciting. For my next book - a teen thriller - I knew from the beginning the title didn't work like it should and a change was likely. It took some brainstorming and some down time where I shoved it to the back of the grey matter for me to come up with a useful alternative. It was weird, as 9 times out of 10 I really like the first title I think of. My instinct has worked well in the past I think, to the point where I feel compelled to stick with the first thing I come up with. But when it isn't right you have to a)recognize the problem, b)be prepared to change and c)do your homework on how titles work. When I felt the need to change the title for this new book I didn't realise how much I had subconsciously been learning about titles and covers (hence the nervousness about having the control and getting it right). I mulled over other titles and occasionally fired off my best suggestions to the publisher and when I came up with the one that stuck, it felt different. Same as the idea for the cover. I had a few but they were too arty or juvenile/mature/cliched. Then when I had my latest idea, it not only resonated with me but with the designer also and her wonderful creative response made me very happy. Here then is the cover of my next book.

And on the back it says

“I found myself standing outside Mallory’s bedroom. The last door on the upstairs hallway. I’d seen those forensic crime shows on television. I know what dead people look like. In the beginning I’d imagined Mallory, pale, lying in long grass, her eyes closed. Just her face because I didn’t want to see beyond it. But I couldn’t do it any more. Mum kept telling me she was still alive somewhere. And one day she’d come home and we’d be a happy family again but that was one big fat stupid lie. Mum could tell it to herself but I’d stopped believing it ages ago.”

Playing second fiddle to a ‘missing, presumed dead’ sister is soul-sucking for fifteen year old Ryan. As he tries to move on with his life he begins to appreciate just how difficult growing up can be. And now there’s a stranger watching him. Will his family ever be whole again? Or did Mallory light the fuse that will blow it apart forever ...

And for all the times when I've wondered about 'my online brand' I rather enjoyed reading this post ( from Nathan Bransford this morning. Folks I think he's right.


Fallenangel021 said...

hi, i am from nz and you came to my school, mount eden primary school. I got a card of the book the where nana with your signature and written- best wishes. Thats like 3 years ago. Now im in year 5 and i still remember that book. :)
You inspired me to make my own book and i did, its not famous but i got awards and that made me really happy!
I wish when i grow up i will write my own book and make the drawings.I also want to say you inspired me, and i still have that card in my bedroom!

Old Kitty said...

It's a good title and blurb! GOOD LUCK with this!! Take care

Melinda said...

Wow Fallenangel, its a big thrill for me to know I inspired you that day I visited your school. And its exciting to hear that you made your own book and got an award for it - congratulations! I hope your wish comes true. Keep reading, writing, and drawing.

best wishes