Tag Archives: suspense

What’s In A Name? (Or A Title?)

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I’m a little over a third of the way through the first draft of FIRSTBORN. As I wrote in an earlier post, I’m trying out Rachel Aaron’s suggestions to improve my productivity. Now that the holidays are past, and my tree is finally down, I’ve been working on FIRSTBORN. My output has improved, but it still wouldn’t impress anyone. My progress has been good enough though, that I’ve been thinking about what comes after I finish: publication. And I think I ought to change the title.

I surveyed Amazon, and there are a ton of books already with “Firstborn” in the title. “Scion,” too (the sequel to FIRSTBORN). I want titles that convey suspense and romance. We did some brainstorming, and the favorites of my critique group were: BETRAYED BY TRUST, and BOUND BY TRUST. The only problem: when I checked them out on Amazon, there were several similar titles. An alternate, SEDUCED BY TRUST, has no overlap, but doesn’t have the lovely alliteration.

This is a dilemma faced by every author and publisher with books sold online. It’s important to title a book so that it will be easy to find, and will entice the reader to look a little closer. You don’t want your book to be #18  on page three of twenty identically titled books. Ideally, the title will also have something to do with what the story is about. And, of course, even if you come up with an original title, there’s no guarantee that a book published next week won’t duplicate it. Titles can’t be copyrighted, after all.

Here’s a very rough blurb for the first book:

It’s 1979. To save an Elemental Spirit from slavery, Marianne seduces the scion of the powerful family he’s bound to. But the Trust she works for wants more than her loyalty. They want her son. And they won’t let Marianne, or the man who loves her, get in their way.

And for the second book:

Thirty years ago, Evan was conceived through seduction and betrayal. Now he’s inherited what was meant for another man: an Elemental Guardian. Two powerful organizations are in pursuit, and the woman he loves works for one of them.

So I invite you to make suggestions. If you come up with a title different from those above, that I decide to use, I’ll send you a free copy of the book when it comes out.


Filed under Publishing, writing

Self-Publishing — How I Began

In the beginning. . . .

I started thinking about self-publishing a little over a year and a half ago. Friends like Liz Danforth and Mike Stackpole were fervent about the inevitability of digital change. Mike, one of the first authors to leap into the digital pool, advised a riveted audience at the 2009 TusCon Science-Fiction Convention to start learning about digital publishing and social media.

A little later, J.A. Konrath changed his mind about self-publishing. Prior to that, he’d been against SP for a variety of reasons, but that changed. I hadn’t heard about Konrath then, but I soon would. I devoured books, and later blogs, soaking up information and letting it swirl around in my head until it gelled into a decision.

At the same time I had a couple of former critique partners urging me away from the SP path. They felt strongly that my work was “too good” to waste on self-publishing, that I hadn’t sent my work out enough (I’d only collected a little over 100 rejections) and I hadn’t tried enough of the smaller publishers. So I did more research, decided that The Wild Rose Press would be a good fit for my paranormal suspense Veiled Mirror (in part because they would bring it out in print as well as digital), sent in my query, and settled back to wait – again. Wonderfully, TWRP didn’t leave me in limbo for weeks as other publishers had done. (That’s one of their strengths:  quick, friendly communication.) They asked for the partial, then the full, and then they were saying they wanted to offer me a contract!

My author ticket had been validated!  I was a REAL bunny – er, writer.

And all this time I continued thinking and reading and talking and blogging about self-publishing. I’d discovered Konrath by this time, and Smith and Rusch. Predictions were being made by Stackpole and Shatzkin about when the tipping point would come for paper books and the consequences to bookstores and publishers, and it wasn’t that far off. The voices were combining into a choir singing the same song: Digital Is The Future. It was while I was combing through the galleys for Veiled Mirror that I decided to self-publish my next book, Lightbringer.

But where to start?

As it happened, I read a post on that very subject by Dean Wesley Smith, and so I began, moving in slow motion.

I bought the domain name, Castle Rock Publishing.

Months later, I opened a business account so my sales could be direct deposited.

I researched, and decided not to incorporate.

I registered a Trade name.

I found a cover artist I liked , recommended her to Roxy Rogers, but didn’t contact her myself.

I stalled.

Somehow, the next step, the step of actually contacting the cover artist, of contacting an editor, would make it all real. I knew that once I did that, the rest would be inevitable, I would be a self-publishing author, with all that meant, good and bad. Those “what-if’s” I wrote about in an earlier post arose like a wall of thorns in a fairy tale. It seems silly now, looking back just a few months, but at the time I gave those “what if’s” the power to hold me still.

And then Roxy told me she had contacted the artist I’d recommended, and a freelance editor, and was self-pubbing two of her short stories in August. It was the last little push I needed. If she could do it, I could! I couldn’t let her have all the fun!  I contacted Kim Killion, Edits that Rock, and a formatter.

And so here I am, moving forward again, sharing my journey with you.  I wish I could say that I simply looked at the facts, made a rational decision, and then acted, full steam ahead. If I had, I’d probably already have a self-pubbed book out there. But that’s not how it happened.

I plan to write more about my decision to not incorporate, the importance of covers, how to measure success, and how to make sure your manuscript is the best it can be, with and without professional editing. Let me know what questions you have, and what parts you most want to know about.


Filed under writing