So, I came to the conclusion recently that The Chroniker Legacy does not work for the title of my second book. It better fits the third book, as originally planned. Of course, moving it means that I have an untitled book that is slotted for publication in eight-ish months. Naturally, I’m brainstorming for topics, and I’ll tell you—most of them suck.
My original title for The Clockwork Giant was just Chroniker City. A nice plain title. I lucked out when I came up with The Clockwork Giant. It worked on two levels, both referring to the automaton and to Petra. I wanted something similar for the next two books, but alas, my lack of titling savoir faire has led me to this point.
The Guild’s War
The Automaton War
The War for Science
The Guild Design
The War for Scientific Progress
A Time for War
The Machine War
The Mechanical War
And so on so forth. They’re all pretty god-awful. However, in a stroke of semi-brilliance, I thought of another one:
The Guild Conspiracy
It plainly says what the second book is about. It doesn’t have “clockwork” or “Chroniker” in the title (which was a nit-picky requirement of mine). I flows nicely between the other two titles—The Clockwork Giant, The Guild Conspiracy, and The Chroniker Legacy. So I suppose for now, that’s my working title. I’d like a permanent title, you know, since the book is supposed to come out this year. What are your thoughts about The Guild Conspiracy for the title of the second book?
Now, as you know, I’ve been wanting to change the cover for The Clockwork Giant to appeal more to my young adult audience. I love the cover that I have (see sidebar). It’s appealing to the eye and doesn’t break any graphic design rules that I know of. It appeals to my adult audience, I think. That’s fine, but I would like to get more teens reading the book, and the one teen that I know read it was confused by the cover. That’s a pretty big red flag right there. So this weekend, I started working on a new cover. And I’m doing it old school. That’s right. Hand drawn cover art. I’m bold enough to consider myself an artist, even if I only do it as a hobby, and with the encouragement of a friend, I decided to give it a try. I started with a sketch, first drawing the automaton, then the background elements, and then the protagonists. It’s just a pencil sketch still, but here that is:
I plan on scanning it properly (that picture is taken with my phone), and then I’ll ink it. Once I’ve inked it, I’ll remove the pencil marks, scan it once more, and then start coloring. Once it's finished, I'll upload it to my computer and digitally add the title, a few gears, and my name. Though the picture is rather simple, I think that once it’s colored, with proper shading and all, it would make a pretty fantastic cover. And if not, it can just be a fine piece of artwork. That would also mean that I’m back to square one as far as redoing the cover goes, but whatever. I like drawing, and I’m okay with wasting a few hours on a piece of art.
Now, as much as people quote that you can’t judge a book by its cover. You so can. I do. I know you do. That’s why covers are so important, especially for self-published authors. You want a professional looking cover that can compete with traditional bestsellers. The same goes with titles. If you’re anything like me, when I browse for new books to read, first I look at the cover. If it catches my eye, I then look at the title. The cover and title combined should give me a good gist of what the book is actually about, or what genre it fits in. If I think that’s something I might be interested in, I take a peep at the summary. And if that interests me, the book goes on my TBR list.
Here are a few covers and titles that drew my eye when I was making my 2012 TBR list. I have yet to read any of these, by the way. Still making my way through the books I already own.
Each of these books has a great title (in my opinion), and cover art to match. They piqued my interest and made me wonder what the book was about. That is what a cover is supposed to do.
I have had several people tell me that they bought The Clockwork Giant based on the cover alone. And you don’t know how happy that makes me. The cover has been repinned on Pinterest to boards boasting awesome graphic design, and it’s an honor being included there. However, that cover isn’t marketing to the right audience. It’s grabbing established steampunk fans, generally adults. I want teens to read it. As much as I love that adults are reading it and loving it, they aren’t my target audience.
I want to remedy that.
What do you think of the new cover design sketch? and how does The Guild Conspiracy sound for a second book title?
What are some of your favorite book covers?