The Importance of a Good Title/Business Name in Marketing

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

As you may know, I am exploring marketing and publicity primarily as it pertains to books. You may also know that I dabble in the stock market. Today, on Ameritrade, I found a business that demonstrates why choosing a good name for your business or a good title for your book is important. Bear in mind that I have no knowledge of this company’s products and as to whether they are good or bad. They may be top of the line and on the cutting edge of their field, but you cannot tell that by the name. The blurb below is taken from Ameritrade.

Holy Crap Brands Inc 

Based in Canada
Company profile: Holy Crap Brands Inc. is a Canada-based company that provides breakfast cereal and related food products. The Company produces and sells cereal from its Gibsons, BC facility.
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June 6, 2020: Trying to Find a Children’s Picture Book Publisher

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

As you may already know, I have written the manuscript for a children’s picture book entitled Bobby the Brave Brown Pelican. This morning I have been trying to find a publisher for it. This is considerably harder than finding a short story publisher. I did submit my work to a few publishers a few weeks ago, but I have had to date only negative or no responses. In short, I am having little success in finding just a possible publisher for my manuscript.

Nonetheless, I shall press on.

The two submissions engines I have for short stories, Duotrope and The Submissions Grinder, list very few publishers for children’s books. Consequently, I must resort to doing an internet search. Fortunately, there are few articles which list children’s book publishers. This morning, I have been working my way through a list of thirty publishers that can be found on johnfox.com. After I finish this list, I have another of 75, but this will no doubt include many on the first list.

I have had to develop an Excel spreadsheet to track my submissions. In this spreadsheet I am including the publishers I considered but decided not to submit to for one reason or another. This is to ensure that at a later date, I don’t go forget that I decided not to submit them and don’t go through the effort of researching them again.

Some accept manuscripts by mail, whereas I prefer to submit electronically. This does not mean I won’t submit to them, just that I won’t submit to them right away. I an trying to submit to as many as I can as soon as I can and submitting by mail slows this process considerably. Luckily, it seems only a few won’t accept simultaneous submissions, or at least they don’t state so on their website. Given that, I am submitting to as many as possible and will probably accept the first decent proposal that pops up.

Another stumbling block I am encountering is that, as with many publishers, many do not accept unsolicited manuscripts either throughout the year or during a good portion of the year.

Of course, there is the obvious matter that my subject matter is not to the taste of all publishers. Some have narrow requirements.  For example, Arbordale Publishing accepts only manuscripts that are math or science related. Kids Can Press accepts manuscripts only from Canadian authors.

One big stumbling block is that it seems most children’s book publishers won’t send a message or letter declining a work. They state that if the author doesn’t hear from them in a certain amount of time, he/she should consider the work not accepted. Unfortunately, this time period is usually in terms of months. Three to four months is not unusual. So far I have found one that says 6-9 months.

Some publishers don’t go into detail about what they would like to see and basically say to just to submit the manuscript while others go into excruciating and exacting detail.

Another big stumbling block for my particular work is that most publishers want a picture book to be under a 1,000 words. My manuscript is 1,388 words and it is as concise as I want to or can make it and still get my message across.

I know that these obstacles are common to just about all genres, but, at least compared to the short story market with which I am most familiar, they seem more numerous and frequent with children’s books. Children’s book publishers also seem less organized. There doesn’t seem to be a standard or preferred way of submitting manuscripts whereas publishers of short fiction seem more consistent in detailing what they accepts. Of course, that is only a subjective observation.

I feel like I am taking pot shots in the dark.

Anyway, I will keep plugging on even if I have to go through hundreds of publishers. This is not unusual for novelists or short story writers and, as I am learning, it is apparently not unusual for children’s book authors either.

Stay woke.

 

 

Seeking Opinions: New Collected Works Project Les Danses Macabres

Having dinner with my wife at Ray's Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019

Having dinner with my wife at Ray’s Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019

I am considering collecting all my short fiction published to date into one volume. This would include all the works in A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror, The Scent and Other Stories, and Click (Alien Embrace and Diablolical are already included in A Tale of Hell and Other Works).

The working title for this collection is Les Danses Macabres.  According to The Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (J.A. Cuddon, Penguin Books, 1991) the danse Macabre is:

Also known as the Dance of Death…The Dance of Death (in art and literature) depicted a procession or dance in which the dead lead the living to the grave.   It was a reminder of mortality, the ubiquity of death and of the equality of all men in that state.  It was also a reminder of the need for repentance. Apart from its moral and allegorical elements, it was very often satirical in tone…Death is, as it were, presented as a kind of sardonic joke.

Notice that the title of my planned work is Les Danses Macabres, which is the plural of danse macabre. I chose this variation for two reasons:

  1. To distinguish my book from other books and other works which have the name Danse Macabre, which is not an uncommon name. In fact, there is even a tone poem for orchestra by Camille Saint-Saens called Danse Macabre (Opus 40, 1874) and a non-fiction book by Stephen King entitled Danse Macabre.
  2. “Danse Macabre” is a single way to death . By using the plural, I am intimating that there are several ways to death (or to hell, if you prefer). I think the stories in the collection illustrate that.

I have rearranged the stories, somewhat, to start with “The Scent”, which is a very pleasant, poignant, but a little spooky story. From there the stories gradually increase in intensity until the collection ends with the intense, violent microfiction at the end of A Tale of Hell….

The total word count of the collection is over 87,300, which puts it into the same size range as a novel. This should make it more marketable as people like to buy longer works. In fact, I have read that Stephen King likes to write long works, so that his readers get something for their money. This seems to bear out in my sales, as my longest work (A Tale of Hell…) has accounted for 43% of my sales since January, 2018. it is 62,054 words in length, which puts it in the range of shorter novel. According to my research on Duotrope, most small publishers are looking for novels to be about 40,000 to 100,000 words in length with the majority being around 40,000 to 50,000.

I am designing this work initially to be marketed on Amazon Kindle, but I am also keeping it simple to make it easily converted into a hard copy book.

This planned work will include only prose. Nocturne, therefore, will not be included in this collection. However, I am planning a second edition of it that will include poems that were not included in the current edition.

.I have started designing covers for Les Danses Macabres. Here are the possibilities I have come up with so far. Let me which one you think most suitable.  For easy reference, I have put a name below each. Let me know your thoughts on my other plans too as well, if you will.

 

Dancer Cover

 

Red Skull Cover

 

Blue Skull Cover

 

Bonfire Cover

Hasta luego.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Opinions: New Collected Works Project Les Danses Macabres

Having dinner with my wife at Ray's Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019

Having dinner with my wife at Ray’s Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019

I am considering collecting all my short fiction published to date into one volume. This would include all the works in A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror, The Scent and Other Stories, and Click (Alien Embrace and Diablolical are already included in A Tale of Hell and Other Works).

The working title for this collection is Les Danses Macabres.  According to The Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (J.A. Cuddon, Penguin Books, 1991) the danse Macabre is:

Also known as the Dance of Death…The Dance of Death (in art and literature) depicted a procession or dance in which the dead lead the living to the grave.   It was a reminder of mortality, the ubiquity of death and of the equality of all men in that state.  It was also a reminder of the need for repentance. Apart from its moral and allegorical elements, it was very often satirical in tone…Death is, as it were, presented as a kind of sardonic joke.

Notice that the title of my planned work is Les Danses Macabres, which is the plural of danse macabre. I chose this variation for two reasons:

  1. To distinguish my book from other books and other works which have the name Danse Macabre, which is not an uncommon name. In fact, there is even a tone poem for orchestra by Camille Saint-Saens called Danse Macabre (Opus 40, 1874) and a non-fiction book by Stephen King entitled Danse Macabre.
  2. “Danse Macabre” is a single way to death . By using the plural, I am intimating that there are several ways to death (or to hell, if you prefer). I think the stories in the collection illustrate that.

I have rearranged the stories, somewhat, to start with “The Scent”, which is a very pleasant, poignant, but a little spooky story. From there the stories gradually increase in intensity until the collection ends with the intense, violent microfiction at the end of A Tale of Hell….

The total word count of the collection is over 87,300, which puts it into the same size range as a novel. This should make it more marketable as people like to buy longer works. In fact, I have read that Stephen King likes to write long works, so that his readers get something for their money. This seems to bear out in my sales, as my longest work (A Tale of Hell…) has accounted for 43% of my sales since January, 2018. it is 62,054 words in length, which puts it in the range of shorter novel. According to my research on Duotrope, most small publishers are looking for novels to be about 40,000 to 100,000 words in length with the majority being around 40,000 to 50,000.

I am designing this work initially to be marketed on Amazon Kindle, but I am also keeping it simple to make it easily converted into a hard copy book.

This planned work will include only prose. Nocturne, therefore, will not be included in this collection. However, I am planning a second edition of it that will include poems that were not included in the current edition.

.I have started designing covers for Les Danses Macabres. Here are the possibilities I have come up with so far. Let me which one you think most suitable.  For easy reference, I have put a name below each. Let me know your thoughts on my other plans too as well, if you will.

 

Dancer Cover

 

Red Skull Cover

 

Blue Skull Cover

 

Bonfire Cover

Hasta luego.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Opinions: New Collected Works Project Les Danses Macabres

Having dinner with my wife at Ray's Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019

Having dinner with my wife at Ray’s Italian Bistro, Midland, TX, May, 2019

I am considering collecting all my short fiction published to date into one volume. This would include all the works in A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror, The Scent and Other Stories, and Click (Alien Embrace and Diablolical are already included in A Tale of Hell and Other Works).

The working title for this collection is Les Danses Macabres.  According to The Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (J.A. Cuddon, Penguin Books, 1991) the danse Macabre is:

Also known as the Dance of Death…The Dance of Death (in art and literature) depicted a procession or dance in which the dead lead the living to the grave.   It was a reminder of mortality, the ubiquity of death and of the equality of all men in that state.  It was also a reminder of the need for repentance. Apart from its moral and allegorical elements, it was very often satirical in tone…Death is, as it were, presented as a kind of sardonic joke.

Notice that the title of my planned work is Les Danses Macabres, which is the plural of danse macabre. I chose this variation for two reasons:

  1. To distinguish my book from other books and other works which have the name Danse Macabre, which is not an uncommon name. In fact, there is even a tone poem for orchestra by Camille Saint-Saens called Danse Macabre (Opus 40, 1874) and a non-fiction book by Stephen King entitled Danse Macabre.
  2. “Danse Macabre” is a single way to death . By using the plural, I am intimating that there are several ways to death (or to hell, if you prefer). I think the stories in the collection illustrate that.

I have rearranged the stories, somewhat, to start with “The Scent”, which is a very pleasant, poignant, but a little spooky story. From there the stories gradually increase in intensity until the collection ends with the intense, violent microfiction at the end of A Tale of Hell….

The total word count of the collection is over 87,300, which puts it into the same size range as a novel. This should make it more marketable as people like to buy longer works. In fact, I have read that Stephen King likes to write long works, so that his readers get something for their money. This seems to bear out in my sales, as my longest work (A Tale of Hell…) has accounted for 43% of my sales since January, 2018. it is 62,054 words in length, which puts it in the range of shorter novel. According to my research on Duotrope, most small publishers are looking for novels to be about 40,000 to 100,000 words in length with the majority being around 40,000 to 50,000.

I am designing this work initially to be marketed on Amazon Kindle, but I am also keeping it simple to make it easily converted into a hard copy book.

This planned work will include only prose. Nocturne, therefore, will not be included in this collection. However, I am planning a second edition of it that will include poems that were not included in the current edition.

.I have started designing covers for Les Danses Macabres. Here are the possibilities I have come up with so far. Let me which one you think most suitable.  For easy reference, I have put a name below each. Let me know your thoughts on my other plans too as well, if you will.

 

Dancer Cover

 

Red Skull Cover

 

Blue Skull Cover

 

Bonfire Cover

Hasta luego.