Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with politics. Let’s not go there 🙂
If you don’t follow me on other social media, you missed out on a survey to vote on the title of my short story. (I’m sorry, I actually planned on posting it here, because you’re some of my greatest fans, but I suddenly had an unplanned deadline of 24 hours, so…)
And wouldn’t you know it, the title that got fewer votes wins.
How’s that possible you ask? In short:
If you ever plan on surveying your reader base, having an open comment section can make it take more of your time, but that time may be important.
If I only had the multiple choice options, here’s what I would have seen:
The image on the left is a “Select All” question of which titles the reader might purchase. The image on the right is the “Select One” question of which title I should name my book.
Either way, that light blue color is definitely not the “winner.” I would obviously name my story off the dark blue title. Right?
But I’d made the decision to ask the voters to plead their cause. “Why that book? Why NOT the others?” and that’s where things got interesting.
First off, I found out the Yellow title – which off the bat was actually winning the “race” – a voter informed me that title was very similar to a title of a different story. Mine sounded like a spin-off. So I deleted that option right away. (Thanks voter!)
So what were the two competing titles, you ask?
Dark blue: Memoir of a Murderer
Light blue: I Know You Like a Murder
How did I Know You Like a Murder win without winning?
Reason #1: The response of those who chose I Know You Like a Murder
You probably knew this was one of the reasons. Check it out!
To sum up, the readers who voted for I Know You Like a Murder got it! It made them think. They’re my type of reader. “Quirky, personality, weird, unusual”, they get the vibe of my story. If you voted for this title, this may be the story you’re looking for 🙂
But there was another reason that pushed me to choosing I Know You Like a Murder.
Reason #2: The response of those who chose Memoir of a Murderer
Maybe you didn’t see that one coming. But first off, those who picked this title were looking for a deep internal look at a murderer. And my story isn’t that story – though that’d be a great story for someone 🙂
More than that though, their responses about I Know You Like a Murder and why they didn’t vote for it, just made me want to pick it even more.
- My protagonist is definitely patronizing
- Doesn’t that “I’m not sure about buying it because I don’t want people to think I like murder comment” just make you want to name the title that?
- “Odd.” Uhmm, yeah. If everyone thought the title was odd and wouldn’t buy it, sure, I’d want to take that into consideration. But the fact it’s odd reaches a niche audience that we’ve already seen want odd, and that’s what I’m going for, so this just confirms that THIS reader isn’t MY reader. And that’s fine 🙂
- My protagonist is definitely presumptuous, and this is hilarious.
- “I don’t like murder.” Uhmm, yes you do, in the first sentence of your response you said you found it intriguing 😉 hehe once again, doesn’t this just make you want to name it I Know You Like a Murder?
The responses showed me that if I named the story Memoir of a Murderer, more readers might pick it up, but they’d be the wrong readers. They’d start reading and hate the story and I’d have missed my audience.
But if I named my book I Know You Like a Murder, it’ll be a smaller audience, but it’d be the right audience, that audience looking for a story like mine, that would like a story like mine. It’s my niche, my tribe, my people who get me 😉
Do You Like Murder [Mysteries or Writing]?
And so, that’s how it was determined that my story will be titled I Know You Like a Murder.
- Sound interesting? Stay tuned to get your hands on it.
Sound horrible? Mehh okay, it’s not for you. Sound off in the comments below – don’t worry, we’re still buds 🙂
Think I made the right choice, or wrong choice?
And hey, are you interested in writing Memoir of a Murderer, because it sounds like a cool story that people want to read 🙂 Have at it!
You get stuck in an elevator with Ellen DeGeneres. This sounds like one of her pranks waiting to happen, but it’s really not. You’re just stuck there. And you start talking about your dream.
- the book you have in you
- the music you’re making
- the product you present to the world
- the nonprofit you’re creating
- the community you’re building
- the art you create
All of the sudden, she buys in. She’s totally sold on YOUR IDEA! How awesome is that, right?
Then she invites you to talk on her show, give a pitch, sell your idea to the world. But right now, she’s walking on stage as you’re rescued from the elevator, “My audience is your audience. Invite them to your dream.” Except, oops:
- you haven’t written the book
- you have no music prepared
- you don’t have a website to direct traffic to
- you have only 5 pieces to sell and no pictures to show
You now have millions of people ready to buy into your dream, but you have nothing to show for it. Nothing.
Okay, I have not yet been trapped in an elevator with Ellen, and that’s good because I’m not prepared for that either.
But I can on a very very small scale relate. Very very small.
- Strangers liking my public Facebook posts, but I hadn’t thought to add the Follow button
- A blogpost that brought 1k+ viewers, but there was no way for non-WordPress users to stay in the loop
- A free $30 Facebook coupon, but I didn’t have a product to advertise
Sometimes we buy into the lie that if we just had luck on our side, if we could just get the audience that someone else has, then we’d make it. But we can’t wait for opportunity – we have to prepare for it.
I don’t want you to be like me. I mean, in the above ways at least 🙂 When Ellen buys into your idea, I want you to be ready! And I want to be ready.
Here’s how I prepared and am preparing:
- You can now follow my Facebook profile AND like my Facebook page AND follow me on Twitter
- You can follow this blog through email (see the sidebar) as well as through WordPress, and I’m working on an email newsletter (you can pre-join the list now, but have grace for my MailChimp stumblings.)
- I finished the first draft of my quirky meta murder mystery. In the editing process, then finding a way to get it out to all my lovely readers (YOU!)
To introduce your dream to others, make sure you get working on the following:
- Something tangible to offer: the product, the idea, the work, whatever they need to buy into, get it out of your head and into the real world.
- A public place for your dream: whether that’s a Facebook page, website, Etsy, blog, email newsletter – your audience needs a place to go once they buy in.
- An action for your audience to take: buy the product, donate to a cause, follow your blog, spread word to their community….don’t let them just show up and leave.
I’m still a work in progress. But we all are 🙂 We’ll never be entirely ready for the big moment. But let’s do what we can to get there. Build it before they come. And by “they” I mean your audience in general, but especially Ellen 😉
Used bookstores. The elitist book-lover’s nook.
Libraries or Barnes N Noble or (God forbid) Amazon is for novices. Used bookstores are the bibliophile’s home of choice. The smell of the books, the cats roaming the stacks, the treasure hunt for some undiscovered antique or classic. It takes dedication.
I too love the atmosphere of a nice used bookstore. It’s exciting to seek out local book haunts.
So what’s my beef with used bookstores?
Authors receive no cut from the sale of used books. I’m a fan of authors. I want them to succeed and keep doing what they’re doing. I love them so much I plan on being one as soon as I’m able. So despite the wonderful atmosphere of a local used bookstore, I can’t regulary purchase books there without a shred of guilt.
Authors should be paid for their work. That is why I try to buy books new. If I love a book, I recommend it to a friend, or even gift it. Of course I still check out a used bookstore and give an unknown book a try – but I suggest making it a point to buy new books every now and again – support the system. The world needs more readers – so used bookstores are great to introduce unknown books to prospective fans. But readers should support their authors – especially the most-loved ones, but authors in general as well.
Note: Yes, I am aware that the astute reader will recognize this as a veiled plea for you to one day give me money 🙂
What say you?
Do you prefer online shopping, barnes n noble, libraries, or used bookstores? Why?