Saturday, 1 October 2011

A blogspot by any other name - Katherine Roberts

If you’ve been following this blog over the past month, you might have noticed we’ve changed our name! So this is a warm welcome to the new-look Authors Electric, now at http://authorselectric.blogspot.com/ and http://www.authorselectric.co.uk/. Our old domain name www.kindleauthors.co.uk will no longer bring you here and might take you somewhere else… somewhere more amazon-flavoured, maybe... in future.

There are some nitty-gritty practical problems involved in changing domains, but the biggest challenge for me as an author has been adjusting to our new identity. But maybe I'm strange. Perhaps you, reading these posts, won't blink our change of blog name? Perhaps you haven’t even noticed? After all, we are still the same authors, writing the same books. We haven’t changed underneath, just as an author doesn't really change when they adopt a pseudonym. Maybe what you call something doesn’t really matter all that much? As Shakespeare said, “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”.

But, of course, names do matter! Everyone knows a good title can make or break a book. I’ve even heard it said a good name can make or break an author… which is bad news if you write under your real one, since you’re pretty much stuck with that. But with our blog we had a choice (at least within the constraints of the domains available), so why Authors Electric?

According to the Society of Authors' Author magazine, a recent survey based on Bookscan figures analysing books in the top ten lists shows the most popular word for a best-selling novel title is “dead”, closely followed by “girl”. Other words that work well in titles are “house”, “love”, “bones”, “blue”, “day”, “dark”, “man”, “good”, “bad”... and apparently “Devil” is better than “God” (this is the Bookscan computer’s opinion, you understand, not mine.)


While this gives me a glimmer of hope for my short story collection Death Singer and reflects the success of a few other titles listed on this blog (can you guess which?), it wasn’t entirely useful for thinking up a new name for this blog. Well, just look at the choices:

Dead Authors? Er, no… not yet, anyway.

Author Girls? No, some of us are men.

House authors? Love authors? Bone Authors? These all sound like different genres to me.

Good Authors? Tempting, but we don’t want people thinking of the other one beginning with B…

Dark authors? Devil authors? Maybe! Some publishers seem to get quite emotional about their authors daring to publish their own e-books if this dark tale is true.

Blue Authors? Quite often, yes... but people don’t want to spend time with blue authors, and we wanted to replace "kindle" by something similar that suggested creativity and excitement; a book growing from a tiny spark of an idea into a blazing fire where readers can either warm themselves at the flames of our creative genius, or burn the book to keep warm (which doesn’t work quite so well with e-books, so hopefully the first).

My mum, bless her, suggested “spark”, which I quite liked. But we thought that whatever name we chose ought to register at least vaguely in web searches for e-books. The more obvious “e-book” or “digital” didn’t do it for us, and were anyway already being used by others in various combinations to name websites covering anything from e-publishing lists (which we are not, since as authors we have no desire to compete with our publishers) to an afterlife site where you can contact the spirits of the dead (hmm, back to that word dead again…but we are not that either). After much argument and emailing and a failed attempt at consensus, we came up with “electric” as a word that suggests creativity and is also a more pleasing variation of “electronic”.

We decided to put the electric part last in our domain, since we are authors first and e-book authors second (or third or fourth or tenth, depending how many paper book deals we happen to have at the time!). For me, at least, an e-book will never replace a beautifully produced paper book with a gorgeous cover that will be kept lovingly on a shelf to decorate my room, and one day acquire that lovely old-book smell I doubt will ever be given off by an old e-reader. But the bottom line is that paper books need to sell well enough to justify their existence, and in these days of deep discounting that means in greater numbers then they used to, so for some titles - like most of my backlist - e-books offer an alternative way of reaching readers. Electric might be this author's second or third choice, but it's better than not reaching readers at all.

***

PS. After posting the above, I discovered this little film about "enhanced" e-books, which promises more exciting things for electric authors and electric readers in future. Would you be tempted away from paper?




Katherine Roberts' backlist e-book “The Olympic Conspiracy” is now available until October 31st for just 86p from amazon.co.uk or 99c from amazon.com.
When terrorists threaten the ancient Olympic Games, Sosi must use his shape-changing gift to take his injured brother’s place in the boys’ events. But there is something very strange about the crimson-bearded men who are attacking the athletes... can there really be zombies at Olympia?

8 comments:

Susan Price said...

I understand work is already being done on producing an e-reader which will release that 'old book' smell at the press of a button. You will be able to adjust the strength and nuances - a touch more dust, a little more wood-pulp - or calf-skin for the antique-lover - a waft of ancient spilled cocoa or soup...

Nicola Morgan said...

Interesting insight, Katherine. Very glad we're not Dead Authors!

Karen said...

Thanks for the list of top words, Katherine, I don't think any of my book titles have these words in them, which is obviously why I'm not a bestselling author!

Nicky Schmidt said...

Very interesting piece, Katherine - and rather like the idea of being electric... :-)

madwippitt said...

Interesting word list ... Just off to start work on 'The Devil loves dead girl bones' which is now bound to be a sure-fire bestseller :-))))

Nicola Morgan said...

Madwippit - brilliant! I'd buy it!

Katherine Roberts said...

Ah yes, Susan, that'll be the next generation of e-reader mocked up to look like a leather-bound book...?

Karen, you don't need a best-selling title because you already have best-selling name! ("K" being good, apparently, "King" even better.)

madwippitt - great title! Just insert the word "blue" in there somewhere, "The Blue Devil Loves Dead Girls' Bones..."?

Thanks Nicky and Nicola - yes, "electric" works for me and much better than "dead" - though put the two together, and you probably get something like Frankenstein's monster holding a pen...

Savita Kalhan said...

Interesting list of words, Katherine, and no I haven't used any of them in a title yet, but will keep them in mind when I write the next best-seller!
Love the new name - Authors Electric. Did think of 'Authors on E', but I think that might have led to misunderstandings...