A very cool but difficult word to pronounce.
So, as I near the completion of my new novel, I’ve been investing much time lately in that most unfortunate of necessities that every
self-respecting self-publishing author must invest in – marketing research.
Marketing is something of which I detest greatly and something at which I fail miserably.
Fortunately for me, however, in my quotidian research for marketing excellence, I stumbled upon (whatever happened to StumbleUpon anyway?) a publishing and marketing guru named, you guessed it…
“Hell, man, I know very well you didn’t come to me only to want to become a writer and after all what do I really know about it except you’ve got to stick to it with all the energy of a benny* addict.”
~ Dean Moriarty from ON THE ROAD
*Benzedrine, the trademark name for Amphetamine.
And here I thought it was going to be such a dramatic hassle to change the name of my novel from The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor to Inside the Skin.
I mean, I’ve been wanting to change it for quite a while now but kept putting it off thinking it would take a grand act of our dysfunctional Congress for it to happen.
But guess what?
Yup, you guessed it… it was a delicious piece of cake.
Seriously, for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), all I had to do was go in and edit the book details to reflect the new name. Same for Smashwords, the service I use to distribute my books beyond Amazon.
For the paperback, there was a bit more work involved…
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Psychological
#6 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
#12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Psychological
*Only the ebook edition is available and, currently, only at Amazon. It will be several days before the ebook rolls out to other retailers and before the print edition is made available.
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.
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.
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…
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.
I’m happy to announce the release of my fifth book, a short story collection entitled: LEAVE: And Other Stories Short and Shorter.
Within the collection, there are 30 stories new and old. Some are short in length as are traditional short stories, and some are shorter in length, as are the more contemporary flash fiction stories. Some were written as recently as this past winter; others, as long ago as the early ’90s. Many have been published previously on my website and other places, but there are several new stories that have not yet been released until now.
Having had written is sublime.