More about Book Titles

In my last post, I commented about changing the title of Crossroads to something more appropriate for the book. Something like Lost Cave or Blood River would fit with the genre better. My next book, Bugs on the Windshield, had a unique, catchy title, I thought, although it may not have been too appropriate for the story. I have another story in the works, Stuck on the Merry-Go-Round, (or something similar) that is a young adult book.

Well, scrap all of those titles! I did a little amazon research and found all of those titles have already been used. Every possible title I came up with had already been done. True, more than one book can have the same title, the author name will distinguish them. But I’d like to think my work is unique. I hope my work is unique! Now I’m worried about plagiarism. What if my story is similar?

According to numerous authorities on the subject, a book title has to fit with the genre the reader is searching for. For example, Crossroads is pretty generic. It congers up images of travel, deep thinking, psychological angst, even religion. Well, I stuck it on a murder mystery, with a pretty book cover that shows a picture of Yosemite National Park.

True, the book does take place in the park, and there is a bit of self-struggle with some of the characters. But someone looking for a murder mystery would never pick it up. Some one who does choose it, because it looks like it is about travel, or religion, would be shocked at the content. Bad reviews all around.

Another lesson learned, and back to the drawing board on the titles. I started out calling them book one, book two, and book three, maybe those titles will stick. I’ll just check on amazon to see if it’s been done already…

New Covers and Titles

I’m very excited about the progress of my two books. Covers are being created, and final editing is going on now.

I hope to launch in early April, provided everything is finished and in place. If you would like to be part of the process, please opt-in on the contacts page. My launch team will get free early copies of the books in exchange for an honest review.

My first book, Crossroads, is being re-written. Yes, it was full of mistakes and had some big holes in the plot. I’m giving it a new name (possibly Lost Cave, or, Blood River). Please leave a comment if you have an opinion.

I’m learning a great deal about the marketing process on Amazon. Apparently, a nice, cozy title like Crossroads just won’t sell a book in the mystery/thriller category. The whole purpose behind a title and cover is to sell the book. (Yes, people do judge a book by its cover)

Join me on the journey to create a new (and update the old) work of fiction. Opt-in on the contacts page to be part of it all.

Thanks,

Nancy

Graffiti

This blog is about the graffiti in my soon to be published book, Bugs on the Windshield. (This title is subject to change.)

I was a truck driver for just under ten years. I’ve been all over the United States, driving in all kinds of weather and traffic. Much of the time my surroundings were unfamiliar and sometimes, downright scary. A strong Christian upbringing helped me get through the rough spots.

Bouncing down I-95, heading south toward Savannah, GA I glance to my right as I pass under a bridge. I smile as I catch a small, but familiar, bit of graffiti.  It says, “TRUST JESUS,” in small blue letters. I’ve seen these identical “tags” all across America. They look amazingly consistent, usually blue, although I’ve seen a couple in white.

I don’t know who’s art it is, but they were persistent. They did a lot of traveling, stopping over and over to paint each bridge. I wonder about the logistics of tagging that many bridges, the why and who of it.

A google search showed me TRUST JESUS has had an impact on a lot of people. One man’s compelling story can be found at http://www.thegospelwitness.com/word/trusjesus.htm. This was written in 2003. Another site dated 1980, http://www.route40.net/page.asp?nz1954 has some pictures and speculation about the origin of the graffiti. 

I don’t condone defacing public property, but this is a legacy. The project used quite a bit of paint, and they must have been organized. Stop the car, grab the paint, place it just right, jump back in the car and into traffic. All that without getting run over, caught, or dumping the paint.

Interestingly, this is tough paint. In some areas an effort has been made to paint over the graffiti, but the blue bleeds through and is still visible. Other places, people have gone to the trouble to deface it, cross it out, or write “don’t” above it. The original message remains. Divine? Maybe.

How different is this from carefully protected artifacts? Think about Register Cliff along the South Platte River, near Guernsey Wyoming. On the Oregon Trail, it’s simply a cliff of soft rock. In the 1800’s many passing pioneers stopped and carved their names before continuing on. The names may be the last trace of families that lost their lives on the way to a promised new life. Some of them were responsible for opening up the western states.

I’ve often wondered about Native American cave painting and pictographs found throughout the United States. Is it important information being passed along to future generations, or a case of youthful exuberance?  Is it early historical documentation, or graffiti?

Honestly, I enjoy seeing some of the art that travels our country via rail road cars. This art, or graffiti, is sometimes stunning in complexity. It tells a story, saying something about the artist. “I am somebody. I can make a mark so you know I exist.”

No, I don’t think people should be allowed to deface public and private property. I know it causes damage and many dollars are spent to remove and repair it. But I think these are legitimate artists with a story to tell. It is my hope that these young people can draw enough attention so they can get the chance to express themselves in a productive way.  My son has a friend in California that owns and operates a business selling shirts decorated with original art that started out as graffiti. He is quite successful.

Many bridges are being replaced or repaired, and I fear the Christian message will be lost. In times when political correctness often overshadows Christianity, it seems more important than ever for our light to shine in the darkness. That tiny blue message may be the spark that changes the life direction of a motorist in dark despair.  Whoever is responsible, I hope you tag the new bridges. 

Time vacuum

I seem to be the only person who can’t manage Facebook and other social media. First I swore I’d never get sucked into that huge time vacuum, but then I was convinced via Karen Dimmick’s webinar that it was essential to ever selling a book.

Okay. The experts have a point. Facebook (I haven’t figured out twitter yet) does have awesome potential. But dang it, I can’t get anything else done. I started to build this web page but then got side-tracked by Facebook and now I’m stalled.

Just like everything else, Facebook started out as a grand solution to things, but it’s popularity has become a lot of noise. Kind of like TV, it can be great entertainment, but soon you’re zoned out on the couch and you can’t even remember what you saw.

I got up at four this morning to do some writing. Now it’s eight and I haven’t even started yet. I retired so I’d have time to write, but it seems like I’ve got a full time job here.

I promise, the next blog won’t be a complaint!

First blog post

Welcome! I have moved from my easy, fun world of writing novels into the sinister world of figuring out what to do with them. The self-publishing world is generous in all its help platforms. There are webinars, books, websites, mailing lists, and a whole army of folks that are more than happy to include you in their free, exclusive, one of a kind course that contains all the secrets needed to become a six-figure earning author in just one simple, easy to follow blog post.

Editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and web page masters all clamor on every free publishing site, eager to help for only a few cents per word. There are independent publishing houses, traditional publishers, agents, contracts and legal council ready to help new and experienced authors alike. Publicists and advertising agencies are ready to promote your book into the next great best-seller. Coaches will be sure you’re able to talk in sound bites and have you all prepared for your big promotional interview with Oprah, or whoever the newest all-knowing name dropper is.

Just when I was getting the hang of e-books and figured out how to get a paperback printed, they dropped the new thing on me. Audiobooks. Now I need a microphone, pop filter and an endless array of software to DIY. Of course, if I’d rather hire talent, for fifty percent of my royalties they can take care of all that for me.

Sheesh! So far I’ve learned that I need to stick to writing first drafts. Does it sound like I could be just a little overwhelmed? It’s a good thing it’s cold outside, if the weather was nice I’d be outside digging up my lawn. Already I decided to refinish my hardwood floor to distract myself from the barrage. I nearly asphyxiated myself in the process, but the floor turned out real nice. Now I have a cozy little loft in which to write awesome first drafts. Unless I decide my hideaway needs curtains, I should be typing away on the next novel soon.