DLC: Helpful Advice on Being Professional

Website Posts by Dayna.

My purpose is to not point fingers at anyone in particular here.  Professionally, it is not up to me to judge others for any reason.  Each person must take it upon his or herself to be a professional in their daily life (not just in their writing career).  Observing others is a good way to learn, but it’s nice to have a few basic ideas on which to build.

How you present yourself to others is important

In the day and age where people quite literally live behind their computer screens, the visual impact on others is even more important than in years gone by where personal contact was far more common.

Make a good impression on your face-to-face meetings

Imagine … you’ve written your book, and sent out dozens (hundreds) of email queries. Finally, an agent or publisher expresses an interest and you’ve reached the point where you will meet – in person – with that agent/publisher.  This meeting is about your book, but it’s also about you, the person.  Will you show up in casual wear?

If ever there was a time for new clothes, this is it.  How you present yourself for this meeting can decide your future in publishing.  You need to arrive for the meeting in an outfit that screams PROFESSIONAL.  If you already have a day job in a professional field, you’re one step ahead of many of us.

Your first impression is critical.  A professional outfit, hair done nicely, just enough makeup, and a professional appearance will go a long way.

What you say at your first meeting is also important

When you arrive for your meeting, smile, smile, smile, and mind your manners.  With your business card in hand, greet the person.

“Good Morning, Ms. Jones. How are you today?”  Present your hand for a handshake, and be firm with it.

Respond to her when she asks the same of you.  “I’m fine, thank you.”  A brief period of small talk is fine, but don’t drag it out.  She’s busy, and likely has other writers waiting to see her, too.  Get down to business.  Let your confidence show (even if it’s a myth).  And, keep smiling.

It’s safe to assume the meeting will end well – you were been invited to meet Ms. Jones, so it’s likely your book is at least on a short-list and will likely be accepted if the meeting goes well.  If it is, when the meeting is completed, stand up, offer your hand again.

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Ms. Jones, and I look forward to working with you.”   Resist the temptation to high-five, or fist pump.  When you’ve left the office and are out of the building – THEN is the time for fist pumps and celebratory glee.

If, for some reason, nothing concrete comes from the meeting, then, a different ending will be more appropriate.

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Ms. Jones.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

On the outside chance your book is rejected at that point, try to not let your disappointment show.  Ms. Jones will probably offer you some encouragement and say your book isn’t quite what they need right now, but to keep on writing, and submitting.

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Ms. Jones. I look forward to talking with you again.”  Never, ever do or say anything at that time that will cause Ms. Jones to reject you, the person.  That is professional suicide.  Always leave the door open to future contact.

Never go to a meeting unprepared

In phone/email conversations before your meeting, you’ll be instructed as to what to bring with you.  However, over and above that, always have professionally designed and printed business cards (not printed on your home printer).  Business cards are universal and part of every business person’s brand.

Your writer’s BRAND

Even if this is your first book, and your first foray in landing an agent/publisher, be sure you have a carefully thought out brand that is unique to you.  When you arrive for your meeting, the very first thing you do is present your business card. Ms. Jones will glance at it, noting your brand, and checking that adequate contact information is on it.  When she thinks of you, she’ll remember your business card – and your brand.

What you’re looking for is when people see your brand, in whatever format, they’ll think of you and your books.

The lost art of Thank-You notes

One area where you can make a HUGE impression is with Thank-You notes.  These need not be branded (although you’ll score extra points they are).  Purchase a package of appropriate Thank-You notes and immediately after any meeting, send one to Ms. Jones, showing in a sentence or two that you appreciate her time, and further reiterate how you enjoyed meeting her.

Other print materials to purchase

While you’re having your business cards printed, also have matching letterhead printed.  In our modern age, a great deal of business is done via email or telephone, but there are times when something must be done with a letterhead.  Don’t go cheap and use plain 20# copier paper – make a good impression and select a good letterhead paper.  You don’t need a lot of letterhead.

Also, purchase a small amount of blank letterhead paper.

If you have the finances, purchasing a small number of envelopes to use if you mail a letter to someone using the same brand design.

Be sure you have a current and professionally done ‘head shot’

As part of your brand, you’ll need a ‘head shot’ photo of yourself.  Now, you can have your friend or a family member use their phone and create a passable photo, but to continue with your attempts to be as professional as you can be, engage a photographer to do a professional photo.

Keeping lines of communication open

It’s important to ALWAYS answer your emails, snail mail (USPS) and texts.  And, it goes without saying that if you miss a phone call, return that call as soon as possible.

Most of us have to be out own secretaries, so this function is extremely important.  That email may be the acceptance of your book.  Or, if you have a history as a speaker with a message, if could be an invitation to an upcoming conference to speak on your topic.

Your presence on the Internet

This is probably the most wide-ranging area that can seriously affect your brand and your career.

Agents and publishers will look at your Internet presence, and not only in terms of where you have accounts, but they may also visit your accounts.

Most writers have some form of Internet presence.  It can range from Twitter and/or a Facebook accounts, to running a full slate with multiple social media pages plus a full website and blog.  Most of us are somewhere in between.

‘More’ isn’t always better.  You can end up time-challenged if you are active in multiple social media accounts, with no time left for writing.  It’s a fine line between an adequate social media presence, and too much social media.

The strongest point I can make here is that whatever you put on the Internet – anywhere – is FOREVER.  Even if you delete it, there are sites out there that keep everything in archives.

Always have a ‘personal account’ and your branded writer’s presence account.  When writing on your writer’s account, always keep a lid on it.  You can ‘cut loose’ on your personal accounts, but even there, be very careful of what you say, and who you associate with there.

Many of us have strong political views, and that’s everyone’s right.  However, many people will avoid having anything to do with people who disagree with their political views, so, right off the top, you could alienate half of the country.  That’s lost sales because of your political leanings.  That’s not very professional.

You are a business person – make no mistake about that.
While not, for most of us, at the level of celebrities,
what you say and do online can and will affect your
future as a writer.  To think otherwise is foolishness.

Set a GOAL today to become more profesional in your business life.

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Would you like to read and review Logan’s Time?
Email me at Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com
I’ll provide a free copy for an honest review.

Read a Free Chapter HERE

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BOOKS by Dayna Leigh Cheser
‘Janelle’s Time’, ‘Moria’s Time’
‘Adelle’s Time’,
Logan’s Time’
Clarissa’s Time’ – 2018

Janelle’s Time’ (2nd Edition) – 2017

 

Send to Kindle

DLC: DIY Interview – Helen R. Davis

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Name: Helen R. Davis

What were your favorite subjects in school?
Spanish and French

Name a famous person, living or dead, you’d like to meet.  Why?
I really would like to meet Isabel Peron, one-time president of Argentina. It would be interesting to hear how it felt to walk and follow in the shadows of the trailblazing Evita.

What is your favorite hobby?
Cooking

What is the title of your current project?
‘Evita: My Argentina’

What is the genre?
Historical Fiction

Is this book a stand-alone or part of a series?
Stand-alone

What is the expected release date?
Spring 2017

How did you come up with the title?
I originally self-published it as EVITA: MY LIFE. I had it translated into Spanish and it was titled Evita: Una Vida Apasionada, which means Evita: A Passionate Life, but my publisher, Custom Books Publications, changed the title to EVITA: MY ARGENTINA to coincide with the musical and the famous song ‘Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina’

Please provide a book blurb.
Eva Peron- who was she? A saint? A tyrant? A feminist in an era in which independent women were an anomaly? All of these things? Or just a woman determined to make a difference in this world and have a place in history?

This novel tells Eva’s life in the first person. While it is a work of fiction, it is based on 2 trips to Argentina, one to Spain, and a large amount of research on both Eva Peron and her husband, Juan Peron, three times president of Argentina. Beginning at her birth when she is abandoned by her father, Eva traces her life back to her humble beginnings. She takes us through her entire life and we are left feeling as though we have lived her turbulent, doomed life with her.

Tell us about your main characters
Eva Peron— the one, the only, the First Lady of Argentina who is determined to make a mark on her nation
Juan Peron— Eva’s husband, the president of Argentina, and strongman of destiny
Dona Juana— Eva’s resourceful, loving mother, determined that her children will have the best in life, even though society says they are unworthy
Juan Duarte— Eva’s brother and one of her best friends
Francisco Franco— dictator of Spain, ally of Juan, enemy of Eva

Are your characters based on people you know, including yourself?
Not really. I tried to stay as close to the historical record of the people in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s as is known

What was the hardest part about writing this book?
I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to actually write this novel! I had done so much research on Eva herself that I thought it would come naturally, but it didn’t. It was very difficult for me to put myself in Eva’s shoes as her cultural and historical background were so completely different from my own. Ironically, even though Cleopatra was much further back in history, writing CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED was much easier. It was easier to imagine a world long gone than one that is in some ways, still similar to ours.

Please provide an excerpt.
“I wasn’t always a great woman. I wasn’t always the Mother of the Poor, the wife of the Great General Perón, the First Lady of Argentina. No, I, too, was once as the poor are always, underfed, poorly clothed, and despised by their “betters”. My journey began in Los Toldos, at La Union ranch. Or at least, that’s what my mother tells me. She tells me I was born on May Seventh, 1919, at five in the morning, and that the woman who delivered me was an Indian. My mother also claimed that she was upset that I was yet another girl, but when the Indian woman assured her that I was very beautiful, my mother told me that she was resigned.

My mother was not beautiful— she was very dark complexioned with piercing black eyes and a plump figure, but she made herself beautiful by wearing elegant clothing and the use of too much perfume. She, too, was illegitimate. Her mother had been Petronia Nuñez, and she had been the mistress of a carter named Ibarguren, and she took his name for her own. But my mother called herself Juana Duarte, for my father.”

Do you have any other projects in the works? Tell us about them.
I am still working and trying to get a critical mass to sell ‘CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED’ and release the three sequels, tentatively titled’ CLEOPATRA VICTORIOUS’, ‘CLEOPATRA MAGNIFICA’ and ‘CLEOPATRA TRIUMPHANT’.

I am also publishing a fantasy series set in the future called ‘ATHENA: THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF YAVDOLO’.

Are you traditionally published?  What publisher?
Yes, Custom Books Productions

Why are you publishing the way you do?
Self-publishing is a lot of work. Of course, being an author itself is work, but self-publishing really puts you out on a limb by yourself. I first self-published this, then I switched to traditional publishing. I prefer doing it traditionally, but I would never be one to knock those who self-publish.

Please list your published works, with dates, and where we can find them.
CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED’ (2015) is available as an eBook on Amazon, and in print as well.  Click Here

‘EVITA: MY ARGENTINA’ is also available as an eBook in limited release on Amazon.
Click Here

Are you involved in publishing in any other capacity?
Editor

What books have you read recently?
I am reading the ‘Cursed Kings’ series, by Maurice Druon.

What book are you reading now?
‘The Strangled Queen’, the second in the Accursed Kings series

Who are your favorite authors?
My favorites are: Jean Plaidy, Michelle Moran, CS Lewis, and JRR Tolkien.  Maurice Druon is also growing on me.

Do you prefer print or digital books?
I like them both

What is your favorite book of all times?  Why?
I am not sure I can pick one particular favorite.

What is your favorite season of the year?
Summer

Where is your favorite vacation destination?
France and Israel

Look back, what one thing in your life do you wish you could do over?
I’m not sure that’s a wise question. If we don’t have painful experiences, we never learn and grow.

What’s the one thing you’d most like to accomplish in your life?
I would like to be successful as an author and also have a happy marriage.

Where Can Readers Find You
Website LinkedIn
Goodreads E-Mail

Author Bio

Helen R. Davis was born in Marion, Ohio and currently resides in Casper, Wyoming. She was educated at Ohio Northern University where she discovered her passion for foreign languages and leading ladies of other nations. Her first novel, Cleopatra Unconquered is the first in a series of books that imagines an alternate timeline where Cleopatra VII, the final queen of Egypt, and her second husband, Marc Antony, where they do not lose but instead are the victors at the Battle of Actium. The Author is currently publishing a fantasy novel, Athena, The Warrior Queen of Yavdolo.

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Would you like to read and review Logan’s Time?
Email me at Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com
I’ll provide a free copy for an honest review.

Read a Free Chapter HERE

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

BOOKS by Dayna Leigh Cheser
‘Janelle’s Time’, ‘Moria’s Time’
‘Adelle’s Time’,
Logan’s Time’
Clarissa’s Time’ – 2018

Janelle’s Time’ (2nd Edition) – 2017

 

Send to Kindle

DLC: How Your Characters Help Your Dialogue

Website Posts by Dayna.

Dialogue in a story can be a deciding factor.  It can mean your success or failure as an author.  One sure way to lose a reader is with bad dialogue – unnatural, forced, not matching the plot/story line, or too formal.

Have you ever read a very promising contemporary novel (based on the book blurb) only to discover the characters speech is all wrong?  Or worse,  you can’t tell one character from another.

These characters would have been a lot more believable with better dialogue.  Many writers adopt a formal dialogue that doesn’t match the plot/story line.  At the very least, it can be difficult to determine which of the characters is speaking when they all sound the same.

So, what is a writer to do?

Each of the characters needs to have his/her own unique voice.  But first, you need to find your characters.  One way I’ve found that works well is to hang out in a public place.  An example might be the food court of a mall, or anywhere people congregate.  Find a secluded spot where you can observe people going about their day.  Be sure to have some way to take notes – you’ll need to record your observations, and you’ll need to look busy while you’re observing them.

Watching and listening to people can easily create characters for your book.  But, most important, listen to how they speak, as well as accents, be they regional or cultural. Be aware of whatever makes their conversations unique.

You may find yourself mixing-and-matching … a tonal quality from one person’s voice matched with the physical appearance from another or the commanding presence of a young man in a military uniform matched with the aging characteristics of an elderly man who may be a veteran from a long ago war.  Or you may simply like a particular person and use that person as a character in your book.  Depending on your plan for the plot/story line of your book, you might be more interested in young people – the slang they use, and how they move, compared to older people.  The combinations that will make up your characters are close to endless.

Or, if casual observation isn’t something you can do, then think about the people you know, past and present, from various situations – classmates from school, people from your church, co-workers, people you know from social media, or any other situation.  As with the live observations, be sure to take notes so you can create your characters.

Later, when you review your notes about the slice of humanity you studied, you will find your characters.  They, in turn, will help you write your book, depending on their personalities.  Well-written dialogue will hold your reader’s interest.  Dialogue can introduce your characters to readers for more easily than pages of description.

But, how does having great characters lead to great dialogue?

Excellent question.

Listen to your characters.  It’s how you use your characters –  letting them tell the story – that will make your readers happy.

I’m writing 5-book historical romance series.  As time has passed, and the characters developed and evolved, I learned that while I am in charge of the plot/story line, the characters can – and will – write their own dialogue.  You think about a character, what he or she would do in a given circumstance, and you hear that character telling the story.  All you have to do is listen.  Strange as it may sound, I’ve even gotten into arguments with some of my characters (one in particular) – and have changed a story line from time to time to make them/him happy.

Create a character chart* for each of your characters (especially for a series) so you are very familiar with each one of them, give them the plot/story line, then just turn them loose.  Because I listened to them, my characters have contributed greatly to my books.

It’s a bit disconcerting at first to let the characters tell the story but remember – the old ‘show, don’t tell’ rule applies.  There will be times when narrative and description are necessary, but let the dialogue tell the story.  Make the dialogue sound similar to what you heard when observing people in the public – note how they didn’t often speak in complete sentences, they may use words that don’t exist in dictionaries, and they don’t speak in grammatically correct ways.  Make your dialogue match the plot/story line, and sound normal, unforced, and easy.

Your readers will love you.

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*A character chart lists everything about each of your characters – from physical appearance (including what they will look like as they age) – to their personalities and more.  If you know enough about them, they will help you write the book … while you avoid problems like eye color changing part way through the book, or their English accent suddenly becomes a southern American drawl.  A character chart is especially useful when writing a series where a character may not appear in all of the books and may have aged between appearances.  There are blank character charts available online, or you can make up your own.  Keeping a ‘master’ on your computer to fill out as needed works well.

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Would you like to read and review Logan’s Time?
Email me at Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com
I’ll provide a free copy for an honest review.

Read a Free Chapter HERE

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

BOOKS by Dayna Leigh Cheser
‘Janelle’s Time’, ‘Moria’s Time’
‘Adelle’s Time’,
Logan’s Time’
Clarissa’s Time’ – 2018

Janelle’s Time’ (2nd Edition) – 2017

 

Send to Kindle

DLC: Do You Make These Mistakes with Dialogue?

Website Posts by Dayna .

Dialogue is a necessary part of writing fiction.  Without it, a book is nothing but narrative.  BORING!

Please allow me to ask …

Do you like writing dialogue? 

Or do you find it a real chore?

If it’s a chore, you’re not alone.  Dialogue may be one of the most misunderstood parts of writing, and many writers make at least one of the mistakes below in their writing.

Dialogue brings many benefits to your book, including a visual aspect.  It adds to the white space on your pages so your book looks more attractive.  White space also makes the book easier to read.  The pages seem to fly by when there’s lots of chatter going on.

On the flip side, writing dialogue incorrectly can detract from your reader’s experience.

Let’s look at some of the mistakes writers make.

Excessive Use of Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags indicate who is speaking.

XXXXXHe said.  She asked.

The simple tags make a writer’s life easy.  Readers barely notice them except to confirm who is talking.  Don’t worry about using ‘he said, she said’ too much.  It’s better than the alternative – a long list of alternate words from a thesaurus.

Certain circumstances may allow, or even require, a specific dialogue tag (example: ‘whispered’, or ‘screamed’).  These words may help the story, but keeping it simple works fine.

Also, you don’t need a dialogue tag for every line in the conversation, especially if there are only two people in the conversation.

Including action in your dialogue tags works well, too.

XXXXXLarry burst into the room, breathless.  “Have you seen Annie since lunch?”

Overusing characters names during a conversation

It’s a given that, in day-to-day conversations, most people don’t use the names of the people repeatedly.  Obviously, this is because you’re in the presence of the person to whom you are speaking.  This isn’t possible in a book.

You need names and/or dialogue tags.

Some authors tend to over-use the character names.  However, it’s not necessary to use character’s names in every paragraph.

So, what’s a writer to do? 

I’m glad you asked.

In the toss-up between too many dialogue tags or too many names, use the dialogue tags more often.  Readers pay less attention to them, except to identify speakers.

Using description and/or character’s thoughts in dialogue tags

Another way to vary your dialogue tags, similar to using action, is to use description, as well as character’s thoughts.

Here’s an example of a description of the character’s surroundings in conversation.

XXXXXShe’d never been to her friend’s house before.  There was dust and dirt everywhere. The old furniture completed the dismal picture. Looking around, she asked, “Is your mother home, Marie?”

Including a character’s thoughts as a dialogue tag can offer necessary information.

XXXXXAmanda cringed when she saw her neighbor, remembering how he’d undressed her with his eyes. But, she smiled and greeted him. “Hi, Dennis. I haven’t seen you for a while.  How are you?”

Blending simple dialogue tags with actions, descriptions, and character thoughts can make for a great conversation without the excessive use of ‘he said, she said’.

Your characters speak too formally

Real people don’t usually speak in complete – or long – sentences.  And, they don’t always use proper grammar.  It’s even true they sometimes use words you won’t find in any dictionary.

XXXXXMe and her went to the movies.  She ain’t ready to go.

You’re probably cringing at making these grammatical blunders on purpose but listen closely to conversations around you. Spoken English doesn’t always obey the rules.

Having a character who speaks in perfect English will cause readers to wonder about your his personality.  Their conclusions may not match your intent.

Along the same vein, ‘speeches’, or complicated sentences should be avoided, as well. If you’re not sure, speak the proposed dialogue aloud.  It should sound like natural speech. If it’s stilted and formal, rework it until it sounds natural.

Use dialogue that’s too realistic

Human speakers use them, but when you’re writing, leave out the ‘er’, ‘ah, ‘um’ and other similar non-words … unless they’re absolutely necessary.  A character may be nervous, frightened, or forgetful, but don’t scatter these non-words throughout the book.

While real people use these words in conversation, overuse could result in readers thinking the characters are unsure of themselves.  This could be a result of the ‘er’, ‘ah, ‘um’ non-words being canceled out by the reader’s brain.

XXXXX“Um, I forgot to bring the papers, er… notebook, but I’ll … ah, run home now.”

All character’s voices sound the same

Everyone speaks differently.  This can be a result of cultural or regional backgrounds, generational differences, level of education, accents, speech impediments, and many other influences.

Unfortunately, the characters of many fiction writers all ‘sound’ the same.  There are rare circumstances where this might work, but most books have multiple characters, each with his/her own way of speaking.

When creating your characters, think about how they would speak.  Consider anything that makes your character different from the others, including personalities, manners, accents, pet phrases, whether they’d use slang or expletives, cultural background, country of origin, and more.  Make the character’s speech patterns as different from one another as possible.

Not using ‘indirect speech’ properly

There are conversations between characters that do not need to be fully disclosed.  Instead, writers provide a summary in the form of ‘indirect speech’.  This will prevent your readers from having a bad case of boredom.

Here’s an example of a truncated conversation using ‘indirect speech’.

XXXXXJason and Mike talked about the NASCAR race they’d been to the night before while Maryann, bored by the sports talk, wandered to the kitchen to help Mike’s mother with supper.

This tells the reader what’s going on without going into a long, detailed explanation of the auto race that has no bearing on the story.

Use ‘indirect speech’ when there a conversation that is likely to bore a reader – and don’t worry about breaking the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule.  There are exceptions.

But, what about ‘important’ conversations?  Is it proper to use ‘indirect speech’ then? 

Most of the time, there isn’t enough information provided in a ‘summary’ of an important conversation for the reader to determine what happened.  It’s best to avoid summarizing important conversations. But, the trick is knowing one from the other.

Over-explaining the conversation

Sometimes writers worry that readers won’t understand the dialogue, so they add explanations to clarify things.

XXXXX“Oh my God. No!” Dick exclaimed as Beth told him about Janet’s accident with the car.  He ran to his daughter and hugged her, then examined her for injuries. Turning to Beth, he shouted, “And you let her go out in this storm?” He was both thankful that Janet was fine, and furious with Beth for letting Janet take the car.

The last sentence is ‘over-explaining’ the conversation.  It’s not necessary as it’s obvious Dick is both thankful and angry.  Readers don’t like over-explaining.  They can understand what isn’t said, and the clues in your writing enable them to figure out what’s going on.

There may be a rare time, however, when there’s a need to explain the character’s actions, but don’t make a habit of it.

Using accent of phonetic spellings

Characters with speech impediments or a strong accent present a challenge. Trying to spell an accent word can depend on your own accent, which may result in your reader losing his sanity trying to figure it out. Stick to words already in existence for a particular accent or speech pattern.  Best yet, describe the accent but leave the words in normal English.

Stewart’s Scots accent was strong. Gloria struggled to understand him. “’Tis a fine day for a hike up Ben Nevis, you agree?”

Dialogue has many roles in your story.

  • Make characters seem real
  • Give a sense of action unfolding
  • Reveal character
  • Advance the plot

Many rules in writing are not engraved in stone.
There will be times when the only way
to accomplish
something is to break a rule or two along the way.

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Would you like to read and review Logan’s Time?
Email me at Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com
I’ll provide a free copy for an honest review.

Read a Free Chapter HERE

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

BOOKS by Dayna Leigh Cheser
‘Janelle’s Time’, ‘Moria’s Time’
‘Adelle’s Time’,
Logan’s Time’
Clarissa’s Time’ – 2018

Janelle’s Time’ (2nd Edition) – 2017

 

Send to Kindle

DLC: Focus on a Strong, Unique Title, but Keep it Simple

Website Posts by Dayna.

Let’s talk about the title of your book. 

Book titles seem to be a minor thing.  It’s only a few words, after all.  But those few words are an important part of the book.

Those publishing traditionally often don’t get any say in the title, which is unfortunate, because many titles today have little or nothing to do with the content of the book.

On one hand, a title is difficult because you need to somehow sum up the book with between one and four or five words.  On the other hand, those words can make the difference between the success or failure of the book.

Try this little experiment.  Jot down the titles of the last 10 books you’ve read. Then, next to each title, on a scale of 1-10, note how relevant the title was to the content of the book.  It will surprise me if half the books rate more than a 5.

So, how do you find the perfect title?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula.  Often, it’s trial and error, sometimes with a little help from your friends.  And, there’s much more to picking a title than those few words.  You need to keep it simple … a title is not a sentence.

Sometimes, a title will come to you as you write the book.  Maybe it sticks, maybe it doesn’t.  But, even if it sticks, it doesn’t mean it’s the best title.  It probably just reflects someone or something in the story.  Example: “Elizabeth I and Her Lover”

Or, the title may be quite elusive.  Dozens of potential titles may come and go over time.  Authors often talk about a ‘working title’ that may be the names of the main characters or a location associated with the book.  Example: “Marlisa and Antonio” or “Rome1600s”

Or, you can try a feature from www.Lulu.com/.   Titlescorer is an interactive feature that will analyze a title to determine how likely it is to be a bestseller.  There’s also a new feature, ‘Lulu Titlefight’, which pits two titles against one another.  Example: Is “Lady Sarah and Lord James” a better or worse title than “Lady Sarah Loves Lord James”?

It’s interesting to note that using ‘Titlescorer’, some blockbuster titles rate as low as 10.2%, so it’s not necessarily the answer to your title prayers.  Conversely, titles that rate high, may be duds.  But, it can help you narrow your search.  Keep in mind, too, that changing some of the settings will influence the score.  I ran a few sample titles:

To Kill a Mockingbird scored 35.9%.
My latest book, Logan’s Time, scored 51.4%.
Lost Highlander (a book I read/reviewed) scored 41.4%.
Everything We Keep (current Amazon bestseller) 10.2%.
Oliver Twist (classic Amazon bestseller) 45.6%.
All The Light We Cannot See (current Amazon bestseller) 10.2%.
Pippi Longstocking (classic Amazon bestseller) 45.6%.
The Ladies Room (current Amazon bestseller) 10.2%.
Aesop’s Fables (classic Amazon bestseller) 51.4%.

Be careful!  Playing with titles in ‘Titlescorer’ can be addictive, and you may find yourself spending more time playing with titles than you intended to.  LOL

Here’s another possibility.  ‘Book Title Generators’  You can (Google) search for ‘Book Title Generators’ – there are dozens available.  These generators will produce thousands of possible titles, but these are random generators, not specific to your book in any way.  But, you might find a title that by chance fits your needs.  Be sure to run any title you find through the ‘Titlescorer’.

So, you’ve got a high-scoring, relevant title.  Now what?

You’re not quite done yet.

Now, go to your computer and search for your new title.  You can search on Google, or you can search on Amazon.  If you find even one instance of another author having used your title choice, it’s back to the drawing board.

If your search comes up with empty, you’ve got a coveted unique title.  Move on it quickly, before someone else beats you to it.  Get your book out there, so that if another author searches for instances of the same title, they’ll find your book and go back to their drawing board.

Doing this helps the readers find your book.  If there are several books with the same title, and especially if the reader doesn’t know your name, you could be losing sales.

Then, go to ‘Google Alerts’ and sign up for email alerts on your title.  Every time the words in your title appear on Google, you’ll know about it.  While you’re there, sign up for alerts on your other book titles, and your author name.

Not every Google Alert will be ‘real’.  For example, my latest book, Logan’s Time, often generates an alert about a sports player with the last name ‘Logan’, and the word ‘time’ after it (as in “… it was Logan’s time to play …”).

So, allow yourself plenty of time to do a good title search.  It’s worth it.

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Would you like to read and review Logan’s Time?
Email me at Dayna@DaynaLCheser.com
I’ll provide a free copy for an honest review.

Read a Free Chapter HERE

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BOOKS by Dayna Leigh Cheser
‘Janelle’s Time’, ‘Moria’s Time’
‘Adelle’s Time’,
Logan’s Time’
Clarissa’s Time’ – 2018

Janelle’s Time’ (2nd Edition) – 2017

 

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