Some books name themselves. Zap Dragon and Discarded Dragons certainly did and it was incredibly nice to have a title early on. Other books, however, remain elusive. If I’m being totally honest, I still don’t love the title Mystery of the Golden Shells but I had to make a decision and this was the best I had at that point.
Just like with book covers, the title is important. Readers make assumptions and connections whether they want to or not. Walk into a bookstore sometime and just look over the covers on the recently released shelves, the ones where the genres are mixed. Before picking any of them up, you can probably guess what genre 90% of them are by the cover art and titles alone. That’s super intentional.
I learned with The Adventure just how important cover art is. (Note to Self, Go Lime Green). When the book gets set on the shelf, it all but disappears. I thought I’d learned the lesson with Quaking Soul, and it does pop with the golden aspen leaf on the cover, but I still needed to learn the title and genre part. I’ve tested this. If I ask someone what genre they think Quaking Soul is before they pick it up, I get everything from Romance to Women’s Fiction to Fantasy to Historical Fiction to Question Mark “I have no idea.”
Although the cover’s beautiful, it lacks both the artwork that subtly hints at magic or myth and the title to clinch the deal. I picked Quaking Soul because the main character is a tree nymph of a quaking aspen grove. She is in essence the soul of the aspen grove. It makes sense once read – I think – but does not help in selling the book to readers who like the urban fantasy genre.
Moving forward, I’d like to avoid that mistake with the sequel. Unfortunately, I’m hitting a brick wall on a proper title. Something will come to me…eventually.
P.S. The professional edit on Zap Dragon is underway and going smoothly! It’ll probably be done the beginning of June 🙂