Tuesday, January 10, 2012

That which we call a rose...

When it comes to giving your novel a title and a cover, sometime what you, the author, envision is not what your publisher's marketing people come up with. For Indies, the job is both simpler and more difficult. Simpler, in that you have full control of every aspect of the book, including cover art and title. More difficult, in that what you think is "perfect" might not actually draw in that many people. Or worse, potential readers are actually driven away by either the title or artwork.

I bring this up because a few days ago I tweaked the title of the Kindle version of my book as a test, and already I am seeing increased sales, especially overseas. Basically all I did was change my one-word title, "Cyberdrome" to "Cyberdrome (a science fiction thriller)." I don't know if this change helps it show up in searches, or what, but it does seem to be boosting sales right now.

I probably should have done this originally with the paperback because "Cyberdrome" does not really tell you anything about the nature of the book, other than the fact that a few people might guess that "Cyber" means that it might have something to do with computers. The name comes from a computer game my brother and I created many years ago for the old Atari-ST home computers (anyone here old enough (and geeky enough) to remember those?). Anyway, when I decided to try my hand at writing a 100,000-word SF story, I decided to make the first one loosely based on the back story to the game. So, in my case, it was obvious from the beginning what the title would be.

To be honest, I didn't really care if my first book sold well or not. I didn't write it for any other reason than to just try to write the best book I could. This is just a hobby for me, so the fact that Cyberdrome has sold just over 4,000 copies is just amazing to me. However, I will say that for my next dozen or so stories in the queue, I will be less strict in the naming department, and try to find titles that help "sell the story" a bit better.

So, what are your ideas regarding book titles? Ever find a book that you loved but hated the title? If you're a writer, do you find it easy to name your books? Has anyone ever suggested that you change a title (and did you?)