Did I Screw up with My First eBook Novel?

A few days ago I published a novel on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for reading on Kindles and Nooks. Having never gone through the process of publishing an eBook, I was faced with some issues that I had not dealt with before.

One of the issues was the book title. Yes, every book should have a title regardless of the publishing method. But imagining my book on a Web page, shown with other books similar in content or genre, I wanted to make the title grab potential readers and pique their interest. I had agonized over the title for weeks before finally deciding on one. My title, DELVER: The Time Camera of Proto Lightner, satisfied three criteria for me. One was that it contained the name of the main protagonist. The other was that it contained the name that the protagonist gave to the collection of electronics that allowed him to look into the past. The third was that it gave an indication of what Delver was – a time camera, or a camera that allowed Proto to look at the past.

Before making my final decision on the title, I googled “Delver” to see how the word might be used elsewhere. I spotted numerous references to a game. Thinking I was OK using it in my title, I did so. Only after publishing the book on Amazon did I realize that an entire series of previously published books contain the word “Delver” in the title. Now, there is nothing illegal in this. There are lots of books out there whose titles are identical to other books. But I’m concerned that some people will think that my book is part of the “Delver” series. It’s possible that the authors of the other “Delver” books might take umbrage at my title and send me nasty notes.

Actually, the title was not the first that I gave it. The first title was Anytime Videos. Anytime Videos is the name of the company that Proto and his friends form to market his ability to view and record past events. Now I wonder if that would have been the best choice. I could have titled the book Anytime Videos: The Time Camera of Proto Lightner. Or perhaps merely The Time Camera of Proto Lightner. Or Proto Lightner’s Time Camera. And on and on. I invite anyone with opinions about this to respond here.

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Nook Cover

Another issue was the book cover. If I had been lucky enough to find a “real” publisher, I can imagine that the book cover would have been a major consideration in the marketing process and would have been decided upon by a staff of experts. But since I’m not only the author but also the marketing manager and the creative design consultant, I had to make all the decisions on my own (with help from my wife of course). I picked a free image at Amazon for the Kindle version. But since the Barnes & Noble process does not provide free images for covers, I used my wife’s suggestion of taking a photo of an original painting we own and using it as the cover for the Nook version. Both covers have something in common in that they contain doorways of sorts. Now I’m considering standardizing the cover image by revising the Kindle version to match the Nook version. Next time (if there is one), I’ll know enough to standardize from the outset.

Another issue I must deal with is marketing. It would be nice to think that a few people might buy the book, like it, then post nice reviews that would convince dozens and then hundreds and then thousands of others to buy it. I know that things don’t usually work out that way. I’ll have to spend some time learning marketing lessons and use them to generate some sales. I have no delusions about the potential for my book. I only hope that a few people read it and find some value in it. I enjoyed writing it and satisfied a need to tell a story about a guy who blunders into a earthshaking discovery and then must deal with the consequences. I believe most readers will understand that the ending of the book invites a sequel.

So I guess the answer to my original question is, yes, I did screw up with my first eBook. But because eBooks are pretty easy to revise (including titles and covers), I think I can correct some of the screwed up stuff before it’s too late.

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