Book Titles by Committee

With normality finally on the horizon and a small possibility that there might actually be a live Comicon in San Diego this coming summer, the authors of Emerald Cove are once again turning attention to our shared universe anthology. As I mentioned in a much earlier blog post, the stories are set in San Diego County with a fantasy twist. Each of the Emerald Cove authors has contributed at least one short story, involving different protagonists, to the anthology. Because it is a shared universe, some of the secondary characters will appear in multiple stories. (The role-playing gamer in me tends to think of those secondary characters as NPC’s.)

We originally intended to finish the book in time to unveil it at Comicon last year, but that didn’t happen because…well… 2020. When the pandemic made a live convention (with a dealers’ room and art show) impossible, it dampened all our spirits and the shared universe anthology languished.

In light of the new hope brought by the vaccines, our intrepid band of eclectic authors is bouncing back into action. The first drafts of the stories are done and are in the rewrite phase. The cover art is progressing.

Now comes the really hard part of the project. We have to choose a title for the anthology. It is difficult enough for a solo author to invent a catchy title for a book, a title that will interest the reader but still stay true to the book’s theme and/or plot. That task becomes even more difficult when that same title must also please four other authors.

So far, we’ve been sending emails back and forth with suggestions for the title. Many suggestions. Very many suggestions. Some of them are even serious proposals (though the joke ones can be amusing). Eventually, after many more emails, we’ll settle on one that we can all live with. That’s what we did with our last two “themed” anthologies. (Kidnapped! and Stolen!)

This time around, we have established a couple of important ground rules:

  1. Don’t choose a title that was already used by Robert Louis Stevenson. (Kidnapped!) He’s really hard competition when you want people to find your book by searching for the title on Amazon.
  2. Don’t use a single word that is so common there are dozens of pages of book titles on Amazon with the same word or variations on that word. (Stolen!)
  3. Don’t assume that adding an exclamation mark to the end of the title will make it stand out from the others. (Search engines apparently ignore punctuation.)

Once we agree on a title and it gets closer to the publication date, I’ll let you know more about the anthology (and maybe even give a sneak peek for some of Sue Dawe’s amazing artwork for the book).

Talk to you next Friday!

-Susan 2/26/2021

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