Yesterday I blogged seeking reader feedback for a cover I’d designed myself using an online website. I had a good number of responses through my social media sites and email. (They’re still coming in as I write this.) I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all who took the time and trouble to provide an opinion, even if it was just a click on the Facebook ‘like’ button. They were all read and valued.
I probably wouldn’t have done a follow up blog post about it so soon (this one) but because of the responses I got and the nature of them I thought I would, as a courtesy to those readers who displayed an interest and because this blog is, as it always has been, my online public diary of my writing life and I will use any excuse to make an entry for posterity.
Opinion on the cover was wide ranging. Comments on the blog, particularly, were less enthusiastic than feedback received through my Facebook pages and email. I would like to emphasise that every comment was appreciated and valued.
I received some very helpful comments regarding layout, but most of the comments concerned the title I’d given the book – ‘I, CWAP’. And I completely understand why. It is largely a private and juvenile joke. It is not something that is going to encourage new readers (or a lot of old ones come to that) to download the book. It doesn’t give a clear indication of what the book is going to be about, or even the genre of the stories. (I’ve decided to make them all crime stories, now.) In those regards I’m really not helping myself. But… but… but…
I am a CWAP. I’m proud to be a CWAP and the acronym amuses me. I like the alternative of CWAP to ‘indie publisher’ or ‘self-publisher’ because while it does encapsulate the key elements of what I’m doing – Crime Writer Author Publisher – it also suggests that I don’t take myself too seriously. To thine own self be true.
And this is a collection of short stories. Being a collection of short stories written by me (let’s face it, a nobody in publishing terms – hell, I’m a nobody in self-publishing terms) I can, I feel, confidently predict that it would not matter what I called this book – something really clever, witty and crime genre related, perhaps – because the only people who are ever going to download this book are my most loyal readers, unless I give it away, of course. Short stories, unless they’re written by JK Rowling or Stephen King or Neil Gaiman or a bunch of celebrities or one of the other really big commercial guns do not attract the kind of reader attention that full length stories do. Nowhere near. Fact. So this is a chance for me to have a little bit of fun. And why not?
A couple of readers thought that the title could encourage some browsers to look again, ‘Does that say CWAP? Whatever can that mean?’ Maybe one or two of those will be moved to look closer. Maybe they won’t. Who can really say? But if one or two are that would make me happy.
The very last thing I would want this lovely Sunday is for anyone reading this who responded to yesterday’s blog post to think ‘what did he bother soliciting feedback for if he isn’t prepared to take any notice of it?’ If you look at the tweaked cover above you’ll see that I have taken notice. I’ve used the tone of critical feedback to influence a change in the title that I hope will work as a compromise. I’ve kept something that is important to me but I’ve toned it down a little, diluted it, deflected the focus of it by making it clearer that the title of the book isn’t all about me, which I accept could suggest narcissism and self indulgence. Now, I like to think that the focus has switched to be more about the stories within – one of which carries the title ‘I, CWAP’, (at least it will when I’ve written it. Talk about making a rod for your own back.).
All things considered this has been a really interesting little interlude in my writing week. And an unseen bonus is that it’s given me an idea for a bit of material to include in the final story I have left to write. Once again, my thanks to all who contributed.