I came up with the title of my novel, The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, early on in its development and I have grown to love it as I have any other part of my existence, such as my left pinkie finger, my crooked nose, my restless and weary soul. However, after seven years since the book’s publishing, and despite the fond things that have been said and written about the story (and a few not-so fond things), I’m afraid it’s time for me to admit that my beloved title and book cover have failed in their efforts to attract new and varied readers.

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor

Well, regardless whether it’s the fault of the title and cover or not, it had become glaringly evident to me a long while ago that some serious shaking up with the book was needed. It took me a while, but it has finally come time for the shaking to begin.

My rationale for changing the title – and the book cover, as well – is based upon a gut feeling I’ve had since not too long after the book was published: They were both too navy-centric in their words and imagery, which I suspect have turned off many readers who don’t prefer the military genre, a genre which I have never identified this book to be. I’ve always classified it as literary fiction and a psychological suspense novel.

While the story is certainly set within a military environment – a laid-up warship homeported out of Yokosuka, Japan – its story is not necessarily a military one. It, like most stories written from and of the soul, is a universal story. It is a story about our prejudices, our stereotypes, our identity. The stuff all humans struggle with frequently, regardless the setting they happen to be in.

As it is, the old title and the old book cover essentially scream to prospective readers that this is a military-centric book, and only that.

That being said, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the new title and the new cover for my old novel.

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER

The new title, Inside the Skin, which is also the title of the story’s second chapter, is derived from the saying inside the skin of the ship, which is navy-speak for simply being or going inside the ship. But seeing how the story’s focus is on one’s identity and sexual orientation, the saying also makes a good metaphor for those themes, as well. We are who we are on the inside, regardless how anyone else wants to label us. As many of us know, one of the main aspects, and sometimes the hardest, of our journey through life is trying to find comfort within our own skin.

As for the book cover, I chose the image firstly because I think it looks cool. I also like how the chain link imagery speaks to the theme of the book – we are trapped within who we are whether we like it or not. It also reminds me of how sometimes it felt like being in a prison when out to sea for long periods of time. The amazing image used for the book cover comes courtesy of Ricardo Gomez Angel of UNSPLASH.COM. If you’d like, you can see it in its original form here. The font, “GOOD TIMES REGULAR,” is courtesy of Raymond Larabie of 1001FONTS.COM and can be seen here.

There is still some work for me to do – new ISBNs, updating the front matter, et cetera – so it will take several days before I begin to initiate the updates to all the various distributors, so you still have some time to get you a copy of the print edition with the old cover.

Hey, never know. It may be worth some money some day…

Fingers crossed.

I guess I should add that I’ve made the ebook version permanently free everywhere (at least for the indefinite future). You can find links to all the various retailers on its About page.

Anyway, regardless whether or not you think the new title intriguing or the new book cover snazzy, I hope you find the story enjoyable because that is what matters most to me.

GET YOUR FREE COPY!
 
 

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11 thoughts on “It is with a Heavy Heart that I Bid a Sad Adieu

    1. Yeah, it’s hard changing the title on the front matter all the various places. Funny how a book’s name can become such deep-rooted part of one’s life. Thanks for the encouraging words, jwmcdonough2014.

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  1. I really like the new title and cover! I think you’re right, that it might expand the audience, and catch people who don’t necessarily feel drawn to military and especially navy stories. I hope this rebranding works well for you!

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  2. I like the first title better, the new one is to broad. The only problem about the first title is that it is a bit long and contains two elements, each of which you describe with two words. The Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor would be enough. Or how about Bad Luck Sailor, or A Hard Pressed Seaman?
    Let’s hear how it goes with the new title.

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    1. I certainly like the first title better, too. As for paring down its length, I’ve considered it but its the rhythm and poetry of it that I like so well. The ship is trying to pass its sea trials in the story so I wouldn’t change it just to trials. Anyway, I want to get away from the obvious military vibe so we’ll see how the more broad, ambiguous title works out. And yes, I’ll def follow up here with results, if any, from the change. I appreciate the feedback, Jules.

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  3. I probably don’t write anywhere close to the same caliber as you do, and I still become emotionally involved with every single word that flows from me onto the paper, or more appropriately these days I guess, the screen. So I feel your pain, and hope that you find in the end, it was all worth the effort.

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