There are certain things you just need to get right. And one of the most important things is your book title! That’s not something that can be easily changed once it’s live. The cover can easily be changed, but with all these changes, I needed to update it yet again.
First and foremost, I have to make clear that the reader is the most important thing when writing your book. You have to know your audience, and you have to be perceptive to what they will respond positively to. So, I went out and asked people about the title “Hammer and Wails” and the cover that I had made with a crying raccoon in a noose. The reception was mixed, mostly toward the negative.
I thought long and hard about what to do. I had come up with a series title of “A Handyman Can’t Fix The Wasteland”, and I liked it quite a bit. When asking about the title I had, people expressed that it didn’t explain enough. There was no clues to what the book was about. But the series title was VERY clear. It’s much more like Japanese light novels that have titles in the length of full sentences. And that’s what my audience responds well to. And that’s what people outside my audience respond well to as well!
So the title got changed again. It started out as The Handyman, but that was too generic. Many books are already titled that. Then it became Hammer and Wails, and people were kind meh about that. So now the of the book is the same as the series: A Handyman Can’t Fix The Wasteland. (oh, but I’ve kept Hammer and Wails as a subtitle because why not?)
After the title change, the cover didn’t fit. And the raccoon cover was already confusing people. I thought it was well done, but that doesn’t matter. I even thought it would achieve the goal of making people so curious that they needed to click to see what it was about. But no. Ruling on the field: wasn’t good enough.
So I devolved into stick-figures. Haha. But seriously. Before changing the cover, I had illustrated over 50 images for the interior of the book. All of which are quirky stick-figure drawings. So I leaned into that style. One thing I love in a cover is a single image that demands your attention. And a close up face looking straight at you is a great way to do that. So I drew my main character, in his stick-figure form, looking right into your soul. Or something like that. It portrays the same quirky nature of the drawings inside, and clues a person in to the humor that’s at stake.
That being said. The manuscript is complete. The paperback is complete. The ebook is complete. I haven’t started the audiobook just yet, but may try to get a chapter recorded today. I have a tentative publishing date this February. I just need to order a proof copy for the paperback so I can confirm it looks right before it goes live. The ebook will be on Kindle Unlimited, and sold only through Amazon because of the exclusivity deal. It may go live before the paperback if the paperback proof takes a century and a half to get to me.
I’ve been ready for this moment for a while. I’m excited to finally release it to the world. Then I can get back to working on draft #2 of the second book.