Tuesday 15 July 2008

And the New Title Is...

I am happy to say that the search for a title for my new book is over. As I discussed in my previous blog entry, my first choice – Thief of Light – was unavailable and my second choice, Dragonfly, was deemed not worthy by my editors. As I also mentioned, when it comes to the title and book jacket, the hapless author is very much sidelined. While the bun fight between the editorial and marketing teams takes place, authors try to find solace in Zen thoughts, self-help tapes and comfort food.
My great fear was that I would end up with a different title on each side of the ocean, and for a while it looked as though this dire scenario was inevitable. This is bad news for an author and you really want to avoid it happening to you if at all possible. Reviews don't carry over, there is confusion in chat rooms and on discussion boards and readers become very irritable when they order books online and find out they have paid twice for the same story. Barry Eisler is one author whose novels are published under different titles and I watched him at a signing event trying to explain that this was not some devious ploy on his part to sell more books. Even celebrated authors sometimes seem to have given way on this issue. Philip Pullman's first instalment of His Dark Materials trilogy was published as Northern Lights in Britain and as The Golden Compass in the States. The marketing people will tell you this is necessary because the two markets are different and I don't doubt they are. However, I still believe if you want a buzz to start around a book – especially in borderless cyberspace – it is best to have a single, unified focus.
But enough of the throat clearing. Here, without further ado, is the title under which my next book will be published. Drum roll...

Keeper of Light and Dust
Intriguing? Evocative? Or does this make you say, huh?
I know some of you are going to tell me that it is impossible to say if Keeper of Light and Dust is a successful title if you don't know what the book is about. But the title should be so powerful, that even if you have no clue as to the story, it will still engage your imagination. I am quite happy with this title myself, although I do worry that it might be a mouthful. I was pushing for the shorter version --The Keeper -- but my editor vetoed it on the grounds that it would conjure up images of sturdy men dressed in corduroy pants and Burberry coats striding the moors and scanning the horizon for game. For a while it looked as though the novel would be known as Book of Light and Dust but that idea bit the dust because of possible confusion with Book of Air and Shadows. There is one area where Keeper of Light and Dust scores high. Books are usually not referred to by their full titles inhouse and both the marketing and editorial departments delight in using acronyms. My titles have always fared poorly. Midnight Side became MS, Other Side of Silence, OSOS and Windwalker, WIWA. Season of the Witch's acronym was particularly unfortunate: SOW. But KOLD has that coolness factor to it.
On to other news: Season of the Witch has made the shortlist of The International Horror Guild Awards. The Award was created thirteen years ago and recognizes achievements in the field of Horror and Dark Fantasy. I am deeply thrilled, of course, and let me confess immediately that I covet that funky statuette that is presented to the winner. It used to be an even more inspired design – an actual gargoyle, which looked as though it had stepped straight off a spire on top of Notre Dame Cathedral – but I think you'll agree that the present one, which is in the form of a tombstone, pretty much rocks as well. You can find it on the website of the IHG. Take a peek: www.horroraward.org/award.html
For a full list of the nominees, click on the home link on the page above. You'll notice I'm in good company: one of the other nominees is Elisabeth Hand, a highly accomplished writer who is a New York Times notable and multi-award-winning author. She was nominated for her book Generation Loss. I can recommend it: it is highly disturbing tale, written in beautiful language. Smashing.
And that's it. Hope you guys are having a great summer!
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