Monday, October 5, 2009

Subtitle Strategies

This is another of those: 'Don't do what I did' posts. Woman... Speak! was the second book I published. At CreateSpace, when you start an account for a new book, they immediately secure you an ISBN number. (And what a thrill that is too! Like... way cool.)

They have a box for title, and one for sub-title. They do post a little message there, saying this cannot be changed later on. I didn't really 'get' that they meant both title and sub-title.

I hadn't even considered a sub-title yet... But I recognized the power and value one could have. I've a bare-bones training in SEO, (search engine optimization), so I sat and thought a few minutes. I felt if I could come up with a powerful and keyword-rich phrase, it could greatly boost the book rankings and help my target readers find it.

Woman Speak is the memoir of an abusive relationship, so I'm looking to reach people trapped in domestic violence situations, hoping to give them the warning that they must get out, (don't do what I did!), and perhaps the inspiration to do just that.

With all this in mind, my muse mused and out spun a line: From ashrams to arsenic - one woman's twisted tale of abuse and stalking.

I wanted to possibly attract people who had lived in ashrams, as I have... People who've been poisoned by arsenic, like me. The whole abused crowd - which grows daily by leaps and bounds. As well as people who endure the grueling pressure of stalking. I can so relate.

I really liked the alliteration of 'ashrams to arsenic', thought that was catchy! Nick and I have a wonderful little international group who have been together for many years. We bounce ideas around there a lot. I emailed it over and got some good insights.

Armande Borghardt, bead-dealer and jewelry maker extraordinaire, replied, "I thought twisted was too much. It makes it sound as if you are twisted too, hints at it."

Oh MY! Enough people are going to think I'm twisted as it is, without advertising it on the front cover!

Sigh... twisted had to go.

The subtitle eventually evolved into: One woman's tale of surviving domestic abuse and it's aftermath: stalking. I even tossed ashrams to arsenic as sounding too squirrelly.

Eeek, OMG and gack. Typing that in above, with the book on my lap... I just caught that the it's should be its. (No apostrophe.)

Oh I am sooo embarrassed! Headshake. I am mortified!

And now... starting to chuckle. One can only laugh, right? I've got copies of this book all over the globe... with a typo on the cover. Sheesh.

Well... I guess it just makes the "Don't do what I did' theme that much stronger, eh? Also, it solidifies the whole warning about taking your time, before applying for that ISBN#, because it can't be changed once it's done... (now that's the right it's, right?) (I'm mildly dyslexic and them lil boogers get me every time.)

The next morning, I woke up, as I often do, with writing in my head. "Woman... Speak! A Saga of Survival." Well, duh. That's so much better. Short, succint and to the point. Powerful.

Unfortunately... I'd already created the account with CreateSpace and it was a done deal.

Today, the longer subtitle (with it's oops - grr), lives on the cover, but I did put saga of survival on the title page. I had that much leeway. It would be much better reversed, though. Perhaps if a traditional publisher picks it up, all of that can be reworked.

Deep heavy wolf sigh. I'm going to the porch to pout and play with the wolfdogs.


  1. Okay, that it's vs its kills me, too. I can't believe we ALL missed that!!!!

  2. But Dena, I was the one who entered in the subtitle at CreateSpace - not you, honey! And I guess... maybe people noticed and just didn't say?

    I think for us, (friends and family) it was just so thrilling to have the book finally in our hands... and the "it's vs its" thing is pretty easy to miss? Heck, when Nick woke up, I held the book out to him... and had to point it out... so... OY VAY! Or... hawoooo as we say here at Powell Place!

    Again... ya gotta laugh!