Choosing a Great Title for Your Next Novel

Choosing a Great Title for Your Next Novel

by Ashleigh Galvin If you asked what draws me to a book, like most readers I would answer with the following: a nice cover and a snappy title. A good title is supremely important in making an impression on the reader before they even open the book because it lingers in their mind. If they talk to their friends about the novel, it’s also most likely the first thing they say to introduce the book. Choosing a good title is one of the hardest parts of writing a novel. How can a writer summarise the feeling of the entire book in just a few short words? I won’t lie—it’s tricky. This article will look at how to come up with a title that will suit your novel and engage your readers. Asking around, the piece of advice I heard the most was, ‘It will strike you like a bolt of lightning. Suddenly, you will just know!’ I got this advice from readers, not authors. I took this approach when trying to name my first novel, Birth By Fire’s Embrace. It was well after I had finished the novel and started the editing process that I realised it wasn’t that easy to pick a title. It wasn’t going to drop out of the sky in front of me. A good title needs work, patience, and a lot of thought put into it. I wrestled with titles for weeks before I finally settled on Birth by Fire’s Embrace. About a month after finishing Birth by Fire’s Embrace, I started to work on its sequel. I was typing away at home one night when I paused. It had just hit me: the title. After painful weeks wracking my brain for the first novel’s title, the second one was developed in a matter of seconds. I finished that novel with a smile as, for me, the hardest part was already done. To create a good title, you really need to get a comprehensive feel for your novel. The title needs to reflect the vibe of the book. But remember, there are always two sides to the coin. Let’s take a look at some popular examples. Example one: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. The main character’s name is Harry Potter, and the story is about the Chamber of Secrets. Nice and simple. It tells the readers what they want to know, but still retains enough mystery to interest them in reading it. It’s a straightforward title, following the style in which the novel is written. Example two: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Short and extremely mysterious, it suggests nothing, but allows the mind to explore possibilities. Both titles are great...

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Resurrecting Dead Ideas

Resurrecting Dead Ideas

by Yen Ooi Do you have story ideas that you have forgotten, left for dead, given up on, or worse, ignored? Well, why not take this spooky Halloween season to resurrect them? Perhaps they could be revived for a dramatic entrance as a new novel this NaNoWriMo? As a writer, I have notes in many formats, but thankfully, I’ve learnt to keep them all in one of two places; my computer, or my notebook. I don’t think that this is the best method, but it works for me. What methods do you use for note-keeping? Do you keep everything that you think would inspire a story someday? Being a writer is an ongoing learning process for me. I am always doubting what I should write down, and what I should just throw away, but I’m glad that I generally decide to keep most of my ideas. It can be anything from a word to an actual scene, or even a breakdown of a storyline. Sometimes, when I am feeling uninspired or just needing a kick up my creative backside, I pull out my notes and read through them as something would always jump out of the page and scream ‘write me’. Don’t be afraid to be different. Writers have their own quirks, which can be seen in this brilliant compilation of writers’ notebooks. http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog/writers-notebooks/ Every story begins differently; some small, some large, some complete, some making no sense at all. Every story also has a different incubation period. It might take years to mature into an actual story, or it might take minutes from inception. Stories cannot be rushed and need to be worked with at their own pace. Earlier this year, I looked at my old notes and found just a short description of a young man whom I saw working at a Starbucks near where I had lived in Tokyo. I had written the description in 2008, wanting just a memory of that moment that might somehow be inspired into a story. I had looked at the same note various times in the last five years, but nothing came to it, until sometime earlier this year, when the idea for a short story came to me. I knew then, that my Starbucks boy will be written into a story and that was how the story of the same title was born. So, how will you react to your old notes and ideas? Do you think there’s something there that is screaming to be written soon? Don’t throw out old ideas, or ignore them. Keep them in a safe place where you can refer to them periodically. You’ll find that they each have a moment in which to shine in...

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Sell Yourself! (No, I Don’t Mean That!)

Sell Yourself! (No, I Don’t Mean That!)

by Merethe Walther Often, a writer feels that their first devotion should be to their craft, and this is true—partially. One of the hardest things about writing a book comes in knowing that you’re still a general unknown in the industry. After all of that work, you still have to prove your worth to those who aren’t friends or family, and will judge you with a critical eye. Writing a book is a great accomplishment. You took several hundred pages of nothing and turned it into something, and that is a prolific task that many are not capable of. However, writing a book is only one small step on the ladder to authorship. How can you get people to read your book and see that skill? Self-marketing will be both your best friend and, probably, your worst nightmare; but it is a necessary evil. Targets Aren’t Just for Guns Target audience is crucial to developing your presence as an author. If you’ve written 1000 Ways to Cook Beef, your target audience isn’t going to be vegetarians, vegans, or pescetarians. It’s also not going to be for children or people who eat out, or those who aren’t interested in cooking.  While this might seem simple to understand, many writers aren’t really aware of their market, even when the book is done—and if you don’t know, how will your audience? By the time you’re ready to seek publishing, you need to have gathered an idea of your book’s target gender, age range, and social leanings. This means that if you’ve written the above cookbook, most likely, you will try to reach non-vegetarian females, aged 25-40, with a moderate income and a religion that doesn’t include the worship of sacred cows. Realistically, you’re looking for a housewife or working mom who needs quick, easy recipes to feed her family. You must understand who you’re targeting, because you’re sowing seeds for future returns. Being Attractive (Online) is Everything You’ve got your target audience down, and you’re ready to hit the marketing! Where do you start? How about with that webpage you haven’t updated since 2009?  If your background has sparkles, GIFs, or looks like a teen girl’s webpage from 1998, then you’ve got your work cut out for you. Everything online that represents you should showcase a professional, sleek, and stylistic profile that makes people think you’re capable. Fair? No. Necessary? Absolutely! This is judging a book by its cover—your audience won’t ever get to the book if your page is filled with buttons, dazzling pictures, and chaotic links. As a writer in this day and age, if you aren’t online, you’re going to suffer in reaching your audience. You should have at...

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SPMG and You—Online

SPMG and You—Online

By Joy Shearer To contend in today’s publishing environment, you must consider how many digital outlets you can get your work into. Spectacle will help you develop your online presence to get the attention you need for your audience to notice your work. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are all simple, effective ways to be a part of the online writing world. They are all free and easy to start and are phenomenal media to write brief notes or longer pieces showcasing your particular style. These are also wonderful ways to connect with your audience, communicate with them, and contact them when one of your works is being published. Other forums for this kind of interaction include Goodreads (which is particularly popular with readers and authors), LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media platforms. The numbers show that while some readers are still choosing print books, these books are often textbooks or long-ago published favorites. More and more readers are choosing eBooks for pleasure reading. This is why it is important to consider publishing your work in a format that will appeal to your audience best. SPMG specializes in digital publishing and online marketing, even for print editions. In the publishing world today, it is vital for you to engage in a variety of online forums. Spectacle is the vehicle to your success in the digital world.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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A Query Letter Begins With Research

A Query Letter Begins With Research

by Judy Spring Query letters… Dun-dun-duuuuuun. (silence) All serious authors face crafting a query letter at some point in their career, and many come to it with dread and apprehension. Most stress and agonize about summarizing their manuscript succinctly so that it invites a publisher to continue on, reading the first few chapters once the letter is complete. It’s nerve-wracking! We are constantly told, “Be yourself, but in a standard way that sticks out.” It is possible that these conflicting messages meshed together are what cause confusion and anxiety when contemplating query letters. The goal of this article is to alleviate that stress by offering some resources and tips about crafting what could be the most important letter of your career. The first step: research. Everywhere you look, that’s the first suggestion you will find. Nichole Canniff, the Chief Operation Officer here at Spectacle Publishing Media Group, LLC has offered this tidbit of her experience: “One thing I cannot stand is when a query letter comes in that isn’t complete per our directions on the website. I might make an exception for a manuscript that is really good; however, when a publisher asks for the first three chapters, a bio, chapter summary and a synopsis—send them all per their instructions. If you do not know what they require, find out. It is unprofessional to submit a query that is incomplete. Most publishers will reject the query right away.” In other words, make sure to read submission guidelines for the publisher before sending in your query. This can be easily accomplished by doing a search on the Internet with the keywords of the company name followed by ‘submission guidelines.’ For your convenience, here is the link to SPMG’s submissions page: http://www.spectaclepmg.com/submissions/. (We are currently not processing any queries until November 3rd, which gives you just enough time to really polish your manuscript and query letter!) Next, make sure to read different ways to approach writing query letters so you can present your genre, your voice, and your story in the best light it deserves while still following the specific guidelines. Canniff warns, “There are a lot of examples of good query letters on the Internet: the format, what to include in the letter itself, etc. Research it, but at the same time, make sure you are putting your own spin to the letter. If you submit a cookie-cutter query letter that all authors are submitting to publishers, you will be no more impressionable than another author.” Websites and blogs all over the Internet warn of this mistake, and a querying author would be very wise to heed the warning. It is possible to find a balance between the standard requirements...

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