So, What Are You Gonna Call This Sucker?

I don’t know about you, but as a reader, I spend very little time thinking about book titles.  They either interest me or they don’t, and I have no idea why usually.  To be honest, a title has to work at it to turn me away from a book.

If the title hasn’t managed to destroy my desire to read, it’s more about the blurb and the cover that make me want to pick up the book.

Shorts - A Collection of Short Fiction by JD PhillippiWhich isn’t to say that the title is unimportant.  A great many titles inspire near interest or repulsion.  They just sit there with a bored look on their face and say “Maybe you’ll like this book.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?”  That may not inspire me enough to turn the book over to read the blurb on the back, or on the jacket flap.  Which means it hasn’t done its job.

All of which leads me round to why my book of short fiction is called “Shorts”.

Total transparency time.  I was trying to be clever.  A book of short fiction called “Shorts”!  It was snappy, it felt clever (never trust that feeling my friends), and it was probably unique.  Boom!


There are at least two other books with that title.  One of them was written by some big name English author from 75 years ago.  I can not remember the author, and I can no longer track down the book.  But it exists.  As does a book from the 1990s with the same title.  So not quite unique.  And not really all that clever.

It is snappy.

And to be honest, I still kind of like the title.  So I have no intention of changing it.  I have pretty much given up on publishing a small collection of poetry under the name “Pomes” (no, that’s not a typo).  I’m thinking that’s a good idea.

Having written your donation to the literature of our time, and having selected a name (perhaps choosing to avoid the pitfall of cleverness), you have to come up with a cover.

Covers can make or break a book.  I didn’t always believe that.  Once I started looking at the dreadful covers that indie authors like myself were foisting on the public, I changed my mind.  Some of these folks may be great writers.  But they have no eye for design whatsoever.

I did choose to design my own cover.  I studied covers that I liked and tried to come up something that was clean and distinctive.  Maybe it proves that I have no eye for design either, but I was mostly happy with the design above.  Later this year a new edition (and audiobook!) are coming out and their covers will be slightly re-designed.  I think I’ve learned something in the last two years.

Now some indie authors, and a fair number of graphic artists are shaking their heads in dismay at my foolishness.  They will tell you that only a fool does not have covers done by professionals.  They would have you believe that professionals will confer some magic dust on your project and save it from eternal ignominy.  Certainly, there are plenty of books that scream for professionally designed cover art.  But there’s an issue here – cost.  Covers can be a “you get what you pay for” proposition.  And if you’re not in a position to pay for a quality cover, what do you do?  Well, you can put a really crap cover on your book, you can decide not to publish, or you can try to do your own.  There are places that can help you create covers at little to no cost.  But that brings us back around to have some feel for what looks good.

I didn’t have a lot of money. Still don’t.  I think I have a halfway decent eye.  So for the moment, I will design my own covers.

In the end, I hope I’m a better writer than graphic artist.  Which is probably just as well.





Changes Begin


Just a quick note about the changes.  I wrote about some things I wanted to shift around, and this new format is the first step in that direction.  It’s not dramatically different from what went before.  The design is to focus on the writing/topic of each post.  Thus I’ve eliminated a lot of the sidebar clutter.  For specific kinds of writing/topics, you can now go directly there as they are collected by category.

More to come!hand7

Something New

This blog has been silent for too long.  I’m still working on the next vision for it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t offer up something interesting.

I’ve been watching this little image challenge on Facebook and it’s a perfect fit for what I want to be doing here.  So here is installment one.

Seven days. Seven black and white photos of my life. No explanation. No people. 1/7

Creativity – The Short Story

Almost a year ago, I published my first book, a short story collection titled “Shorts“.  While there are several novel-length projects also under way, the short story has always been one of my favorite story forms.  But it’s one that doesn’t get much respect.  Over on my other blog, “The View From the Phlipside“, I review movies, books, and music along with my long standing radio program on the media.  Beginning in July I will be trying to return the short story to its previous level of respect.

Check out my post for more.

The plan includes expanded posts on Creativity here (again!).

Here’s a great cartoon to get us started here.  This is from Tom Gauld,  a London-based cartoonist who is regularly published in The Guardian, The New York Times, and New Scientist.

Nope, I won’t quit.  I won’t.

A Review!

Getting your work noticed and reviewed is one of the hardest parts of going your own way as an indie author.  You discover that there are rules and etiquette along the way.  But I’ve tried to keep plugging and was rewarded with an email the other day from someone who had read “Shorts” and had posted a review.
readers-favorite-five-starsTalk about fear and trepidation!  I was ecstatic when I opened it and read what the reviewer had to say about the book.  What I found was this:

Shorts is a delightful short fiction collection by J.D. Phillippi that spans both genres and decades.  Phillippi’s rich language paints vivid images of the people and places throughout the collection.

Whether you are a fan of science fiction, comedies, thrillers, or simply short stories, Shorts is sure to have something to capture your interest. One thing I particularly liked about this collection was that Phillippi included an afterword for each of the stories. Some were more extensive than others, but they all allowed a bit of insight into the story that offered another layer of understanding and prompted me to re-read each one with fresh eyes. 

Some of my favorites were “The Day the Aliens Landed,” which is about an alien spacecraft touching down in present-day Jamestown, New York with the events being nothing like Hollywood movies predicted or anything people expected, as well as “The Snow,” which follows a man named Chris, his friend Lee, a terrible snowstorm, and a mysterious box. Some of the stories finish before they can reach a resolution, but that only serves to draw you in more, provoking your imagination as you sit back and wonder what happens after you turn the page.

                                                                                         Melissa Tanaka for Readers’ Favorite
Yeah, that’ll brighten up your day!  My thanks to Melissa for this great review!  Please contact me if you do reviews and would like an ARC.