Fran Wilde said she wanted to answer all the publishing questions ever in the universe, and I said, hey, sure. I could use the vacation. So here she is, with all the answers to all* the publishing questions you have ever had. Also, her debut novel Updraft is out today, which you need to go get with your sticky book-desiring hands. Oh. Oh! I’ll also be at Doylestown Bookshop with her tomorrow night, talking with her about that very book. Come say hi!
* two publishing questions
* * *
When Chuck offered me the keys to his blog, I decided to do what you’d normally do with someone’s finest vehicle: fill it with bees and infographics.
But What Bees. And Which Infographics.
I turned to some pressing questions that plagued me throughout my first pass through publishing’s gut, and picked two.
(There are more where these came from, but Chuck needs to send me more ink cartridges and a gallon or two of coffee.)
As for the bees, I’ll let that question linger.
Question 1: HOW THE HELL DOES A BOOK GET THAT FANCY TITLE
Darling pendraggers, this is a difficult one to get detailed answers on… especially any answers that agree, so I’ll give you my own story. Updraft? Not originally titled Updraft.
Titles in descending chronological order included*:
Bone Arrow, Glass Tooth
The Mouth of the Sky
Bob Gets Eaten On Page Two
Titles! How Do They Work??
Title Goes Here
Someday There Will Be A Title
(*possibly the first time this list has ever been revealed.)
There are a lot of titles – REAMS of titles – that aren’t listed here, but you get the idea. There were also a lot of terrible puns. Reasons titles get changed? Well, I drew you a map. Some reasons come at you like boulders or meteors (I drew those too), some are more like umbrellas – marketing, for instance, can tell you that your multisyllabic unpronounceable literary title makes their teeth itch, and that’s good feedback for those planning on actually selling books.
Now, some people sell their soul or practice various levels of title-god appeasement that could get them arrested in states including West Virginia and Pennsylvania (which is why I had to do it the hard way, because Hi Pennsyltucky, don’t think I didn’t consider it) – but most have an experience similar to the one pictured… possibly without the Buffy re-watch and the wizard.
And when you have the right title, and you say it aloud, it rings like a bell. And that’s what Updraft sounds like to me. I’m darn pleased with it, and I hope you will be too.
(For more on titles, see Elizabeth Bear’s “How To Title Your Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel or Series: A Tutorial in Three Parts.”
So, now that’s out of the way, the next most pressing question is:
Question 2: WHY THE @#@! DO BOOKS COME OUT ON TUESDAYS?
Don’t worry, I’ve done research on this one. Here are three major theories:
Have other questions you want to see turned into terrible infographics?
Let us know in the comments.
But what about the bees? The other ones that you wanted to fill the blog with? Oh.
Chuck will find them, eventually.
My thanks to Chuck and the terribleminds readers for giving me a place to draw terrible things!
* * *
Fran Wilde’s short stories have appeared at Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, and in Asimovs’ and Nature. Fran also interviews authors about food in fiction at Cooking the Books, and blogs for GeekMom and SFSignal.
Her first novel, Updraft, debuts from Tor Books today.