Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Importance of a Character's Name

I am an author, so as far as I am concerned, the 
pen is mightier than the sword! I can give or take life with the stroke of a pen. Very few professions have that luxury outside of the literary and entertainment industry. One aspect I enjoy the most is naming the characters.

Author choose names that resonate with them. Sometimes the names of my characters pop up randomly or I let the characters traits lead me to their name. However, there are instances when an author can get away with using odd names. Otherwise, the character names should be easy to pronounce, unless it is a nonfiction book.  On the other hand, sometimes fiction and nonfiction collide.  This was the case in my novel, Thin Skin Soul Pinned a paranormal mystery. The story is a work of fiction, but it is loosely based on actual events.   The character with a questionable name exists, so the peculiar name was used. 

“The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.”-Marshall McLuhan

Naming a character is an important aspect of telling a story. In the story/poem Jack and Jill, the story would be less memorable if the character names were Arthur and Ruby. The name you give your character is as important as naming your child. After all, the name will stay with the character for the duration of their lives. Unlike real people, characters do not have the luxury of changing their name. The last thing a reader wants to do is mull over the pronunciation of a name.   

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Cover MATTERS!

Don’t let the cliché, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ sway you. Everything is judged by its cover, whether it’s an object or a person! The presentation of a product for sale is important.  If you’ve ever been attracted to a particular product while shopping, 9 out of 10 times it had everything to do with the presentation.  However, the contents are equally important, but this article will focus on what’s on the outside. 

I went to a small business workshop a few months ago and the instructor recommended a book by Paco Underhill, WHY WE BUY.   It’s worth the read and it’s available in audio book.  It was helpful and reinforced aspects of marketing that I already knew.  As an independent publisher/author, I devote as much time to choosing a cover as I do to writing.  Without a cover that represents the essence of your story, you are simply nailing your foot in the “No Name Brand,” market.  I think we all have a sense of how people feel about “No Name Brand” products….low grade, cheap, imitation…you get the idea. 

When your cover has the presence of attracting the naked eye, the odds are, they will move in and investigate the product.   If the Blurb grabs them, you caught one! However, you had to get their attention first!  It took two weeks to find the cover for IN THE VALLEY OF MUD AND WORMS, but I knew it was ‘the one’ when I saw it. It represented the character and the story, but you wouldn’t know until you read it. I was not as lucky with finding a cover for NO STRAYS ALLOWED, so I illustrated it myself. The optical illusion tricks the eye to think that something is wrong.  The effect …you move in closer to see if your eyes can correct the error, but there is none. It’s effective because the potential customer interacts with the product.  Finally, the cover for THIN SKIN SOUL PINNED took three mind-numbing weeks to find, but it was worth it! 

So by all means, judge a book by its cover.  It is something we do unconsciously and it plays a major factor into what we buy.  Also, I could have easily included examples of covers that aren’t the best representation of a book, but it is not my desire to muddy anyone’s hard work. Instead, I will provide an avenue where you can obtain photos that will improve your chances of finding the PERFECT cover!  Bigstock.com is an excellent site and one of the easiest to use.  http://bigstock.com
Marketing a product is not an easy task.  The next time you go shopping, think about why you buy something.  I am interested to hear your thoughts on this subject.