Titles, Covers, and the Reader


Can you tell which book this is?




Despite my last post I really do care about business, but I have a facetious sense of of humor. I learned back in university that irony doesn’t translate well in writing. Facebook often brings that point home in spades.

I’ve been writing all of my life, my first story at age 8 inspired by the woods I and the neighborhood kids practically lived in, fused with Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and I wrote—-guess what? A fairy tale!

I kept it up, and often [aired with detailed Beardsleyesque pen and ink drawings, handmade my own books. So I took writing for granted in many ways.

If Indie publishing has taught me anything it has been to think like a publisher. Its no longer a simple matter of crafting a wicked story and putting it out there. You are creating a product that MUST resonate with your desired readers or the book will vanish into the netherworld of Amazon and sink to the bottom like some prehistoric fish. Nobody will ever find it, or find out about it. The chance will be lost.

But changes can be made!

My favorite marketing coach is Paul Coleman. he has taught me so much because he cuts all the lectures and just get down to brass tax. He introduced us to fantastic tool called Yasiv. This website shows you, in visual terms, how your books relate to other books in your genre in terms of sales rank and also-boughts. The also-boughts is where you find your readers.

In my case, it helped me to see my book Memento Mori, and who its destined readers were.

Memento Mori was a tough title because a very serious, academic book has this title as does a story collection and several other novels that are nothing like my novel. These books have to relation to my novel which is a work of Gothic Romance, so Amazon’s algorithm had no idea where to put it.

If you’re interested check out the page here: Memento Mori Books

Strangely, for the first time, my novel appears on this page! Glad I kept those words in the sub title.

The success my Victorian Gothic Werewolf novel, The Lady in Yellow, shows me how and where to find my readers, the ones who will potentially enjoy Memento Mori.   I looked at the also-bought and  saw inatsntly what I needed to do. I changed the titled to the focus on the Romantic core of the story: Simon’s discovery of a haunted garden and changed it to: The Haunted Garden. I kept the old title as a subtitle: Secret of the Memento Mori. This more accurately expresses the story and will be recognizable to readers of this genre  as a Gothic Romance. I found the perfect cover—one I had on file for months but wasn’t ready to buy because the title hadn’t come clear. It is a beautful Romantic image of the ghost Suzanne running into the garden.

For the sake of comparison, the actually second cover of this book with the old, wrong title is here:


MementoMori03 copy


Though the story has a 1960’s London plotline, this cover  is too urban, and modern for the 17th century ghost at the heart of this story. This misleads readers, and confuses them.

My first cover, made by me on Pages, was closer to the atmosphere of the story and actually got the original novella some sales and a couple of good reviews.



Good thing I like to learn things because it never ends. But there is such satisfaction in figuring things out!

The Haunted Garden will by 99c from June 1-June 7. That’s one week! Then it goes up to $2.99.


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