Wednesday, March 29, 2017

More About Choosing a Subtitle by Mary Deal



The first advice is to try for the main title to say what your story is about. Use of a subtitle would be to further delineate the plot or entice a reader. Then you will need an revealing bit of information for the subtitle.

To decide on a good subtitle:

~ Does it tell what that story’s about?
When your title doesn’t say enough about your story, be careful that you don’t choose a subtitle that is just as non-telling.
The title of my short story and flash collection is Off Center in the Attic. The attic refers to the mind and the phrase is jargon. It suits the types of stories included in the book, but many people will not realize the true meaning – even though my cover shows a disturbed woman in a crumbling attic pulling out her hair. So I added a subtitle: Off Center in the Attic – Over the Top Stories. Everyone knows what over-the-top implies. That subtitle says this book is full of stories that go beyond the usual boundaries of plot situations.

Your subtitle must add to your title and further define it.

~ Does it pull the reader in?
Again, if your original title did not pull the reader in, then your second and last chance to do so is the subtitle. Reading it together with the original title should give the reader an understanding of what to expect from the book. As always, try to assure your subtitle enhances but doesn’t replace the main title.

~ Does it offer the reader something to learn?
Subtitles are used on both fiction and nonfiction. In both cases, the title and subtitle should provide the reader with something they will learn from reading the contents. Or, in nonfiction, the title and subtitle should offer an answer to something the reader seeks to learn.

Here are some great nonfiction titles that need subtitles:

·         Carpentry for Fido: How to Build a Doghouse
·         Synthetic Woods: How to Float a Floor
·         Cooking Today: Shorten Your Kitchen Time

Sample blasé fiction titles and subtitles might be:

·         Jonathan’s Dream: Why it Could Never Come True
·         The Basement: A Secret Storage Room

~ Is it short enough?
Neither a title nor subtitle should ramble. I’ve seen some. Take my word for it. When it comes time to tell others about your book, you don’t want to spend a whole minute quoting your title and sub-title. You want most of that all-too-brief minute spent on quoting your logline and a bit of your synopsis.
Long titles and sub-titles can easily become your undoing. People move fast these days. They read that way too. Make your titles and sub-titles short and to the point. People sometimes have only seconds to snatch at something to remember and they will remember shorter titles.



  BIO:

Mary Deal is an award-winning author of suspense/thrillers, a short story collection, writers' references, and self-help. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Artist and Photographer, and former newspaper columnist and magazine editor.

She has traveled most of her life and has a lifetime of many and diverse experiences, all of which remain in memory as fodder for her fiction. A native of California's Sacramento River Delta, where some of her stories are set, she has also lived in England, the Caribbean, and now resides in Honolulu, Hawaii. Having traveled a bit, she continues to paint and use her art and photography to create gorgeous products.

            LINK TO AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

           LINK TO SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Choosing a Subtitle by Mary Deal



Sometimes you can conjure what you think is the best title ever for your book. No one has used that title and there is nothing close to it in all of literature. Then, after a while, you begin to wonder if your great title covers all that your book entails. You search for a new title but always return to the one you first chose. It is that good!
So you begin to wonder about using a subtitle. Subtitles used to be seen as a way to enhance a weak title. However, at the writing of this article, the consensus is that utilizing a subtitle provides a great chance to tell more about your book. Use a subtitle, realizing however, that some titles will never need a subtitle.

What subtitle would you add to Gone with the Wind or The Old Man and the Sea?

Peruse book selling sites and notice any recent books that have no subtitles. Notice those that use subtitles. You will get a feel for when to use and when not to use.
Usually a title will tell the overall feeling or story without giving away any exact details. Using a subtitle allows you to hint at more of the detail.

Subtitles must be as short as possible. I have seen books with eight to ten words in the title alone, and then a subtitle with the same number or more words is added. This represents not only a misuse of a subtitle but shows an overall title not well thought out.
Your subtitle should give the strongest clue as to what the story is about. Choosing a subtitle because your title is not necessarily weak but is broad inclusively, your subtitle will draw the reader in. Think of it. The title is unique and catches the reader’s attention. Then the subtitle tells more of what the reader can expect of the prose. I use prose here because nonfiction, even books like cookbooks, sometimes have subtitles.
The reader will need to learn something about the book from the subtitle. Never use a subtitle with the intention of keeping the reader’s eyes glued to your cover. It doesn’t work that way. Every word must offer the reader something to learn about the book. A lackluster subtitle leaves the potential book buyer with a ho-hum feeling.
Your title can be anything from plain and simple to quirky. Whatever it represents will be enhanced and enticing through the subtitle.


  BIO:

Mary Deal is an award-winning author of suspense/thrillers, a short story collection, writers' references, and self-help. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Artist and Photographer, and former newspaper columnist and magazine editor.

She has traveled most of her life and has a lifetime of many and diverse experiences, all of which remain in memory as fodder for her fiction. A native of California's Sacramento River Delta, where some of her stories are set, she has also lived in England, the Caribbean, and now resides in Honolulu, Hawaii. Having traveled a bit, she continues to paint and use her art and photography to create gorgeous products.

            LINK TO AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

           LINK TO SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Effect of Titles by Mary Deal



Your story title is the first word or words a person sees when looking for a book to read. Yes, they see the cover, but the title is the first bit of information they read. What if your title is...

uninteresting
a bit offensive
similar to so many others
doesn’t give a clue about the plot

Those are just a few instances where an author can lose a sale before the book is opened for perusal; before the prospective buyer flips the book to read the back cover.
In selecting either paper books to buy or eBooks to download, we can now read a percentage of the book, either the first few chapters or we can jump to various pages therein. When perusing sites that offer downloadable books, the same problems occur in identifying about which story to learn more. If a title and cover on that site doesn’t appeal to you, do you bother to read the blurbs describing the eBook? Do you read the first chapters that have been made available in an attempt to capture your interest?
Many writers do not think through the meaning of their titles. As a result, it’s difficult to determine anything about the plot. Some solutions could be:
Use a very short phrase that tells the theme.
Down to the Needle is the title of one of my novels. It’s about an innocent young woman facing lethal injection for a crime she didn’t do. The case goes all the way into the lethal injection chamber. When something keeps happening until the last possible moment,  in ordinary speech we use a cliché, saying it goes down to the wire. Knowing the story is a thriller, Down to the Needle tells the one perusing to buy a mystery that this story is either about the needle (drugs) or lethal injection, or both. If that incites their interest, they then read the book blurb and learn the gist of the plot.

You can use a wee bit of great dialogue for a title.
Remember the best seller, Who Moved my Cheese? That was a one-liner throughout the book and made a prospective buyer think about what the content might be about. A phrase that makes a person wonder about the inside of the book is a great title.
How many times in a book store, when looking for a great new read, have you looked at all the titles in a row. Only the spines are turned out. You pass on many until you find an interesting title. That, in itself, proves the value of using a phrase that incites curiosity.
Titles need to be thought carefully through. Titles can cause the shopper to investigate further or buy, or it can cause a person to move on to something that seems more interesting. Test this premise yourself the next time you look for a new read.



  BIO:

Mary Deal is an award-winning author of suspense/thrillers, a short story collection, writers' references, and self-help. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Artist and Photographer, and former newspaper columnist and magazine editor.

She has traveled most of her life and has a lifetime of many and diverse experiences, all of which remain in memory as fodder for her fiction. A native of California's Sacramento River Delta, where some of her stories are set, she has also lived in England, the Caribbean, and now resides in Honolulu, Hawaii. Having traveled a bit, she continues to paint and use her art and photography to create gorgeous products.

            LINK TO AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

           LINK TO SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE



Thursday, March 2, 2017

SHY BLONDIE by Patricia Crandall



In the first heavy snow
of the season, perhaps
agitated by a full November moon,
BLONDIE
lured by the call of the wild
so natural to her husky breed,
sprinted away.
As I donned my winter garb and
searched for her, all tracks were
obliterated by light, fleecy flakes.
Robins not yet flying south
were noncommittal.  A migration
of geese cried out overhead
obliviously.  Still, I knew
Blondie would curl up shyly
at the back door.
On the third day,
I buried my arthritic hands
in the soft fur of her neck.
Large, almond eyes measuring love
looked at me, reassuring
all was with good reason.


By Patricia Crandall

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