Today we’ll look at Title, Goal, and Description of Your Book. Remember, I’ll use examples from my novel-in-verse, MAY B., to give you a feel for specifics.
Title: Your title’s job is “to tell and sell: it needs to tell what the book’s about and sell it to your audience.”
I usually find titles incredibly hard, but not this time around. MAY B. feels like a perfect fit for several reasons:
- It’s a play on my main character’s name (May Betterly)
- It’s part of a school-yard chant aimed at her because of her difficulty reading (maybe May B. can, maybe May B. can’t)
- It describes how she’s learned to see herself (a “maybe”)
- It’s can be read several different ways (as a name or as an adverb) and plays into the difficulty children with learning disabilities have when trying to process information
- It’s a snappy, short title, the sort that is popular right now
It bears mentioning another mid-grade with a comparable title, IDA B. Maybe this will be a problem, though the stories share no other similarities. My future editor might head another direction, title-wise. It’s still beneficial to think through the reasoning behind how you choose to present your work.
Goal: “The first important step in writing a plan is to understand and articulate your goal for the book.” You should be able to do this in one to two sentences.
Goals for MAY B.:
- To establish myself as a children’s author.
- To extend dignity to children.
These goals might not work for an official marketing plan, though they’re the core (especially the second) of what I want all my writing to accomplish.
Description of Your Book: “Many people working on promoting or selling your book may never have the time to read it. It is to your absolute advantage to carefully convey what your book is about in two to three tightly written paragraphs.”
Description for MAY B.:
May wants nothing more than to one day become a teacher. Though she understands everything she reads quietly, she struggles with reading aloud. Against her wishes, her family pulls her from school to help a newly-married couple settle into their Kansas frontier home.
Just weeks after May’s arrival at the Oblingers’, the new bride abruptly leaves. When Mr. Oblinger attempts to find her, May is left to fend for herself, facing her shortcomings head-on in her solitary struggle to survive.
Thanks to Valerie, for helping me pull this descripton together.
Tomorrow we’ll focus on Target Audience, Positioning Statement (Pitch), and Background Story.