25 June 2006

Septina Nash and the Order of the Penguins

Septina Nash is lamenting her publisher's concern that the working title of the upcoming chronicle about her, Septina Nash and the Penguins of Doom, sounds too much like certain thick books by J. K. Rowling.

As someone who's been in a scores of title meetings, I have to go with the publisher on this one. Sounding like a certain series could obscure the book's originality. And with only one volume left, said series is going to be yesterday's news the day after tomorrow. (I write metaphorically, of course.)

I'd say to young Miss Nash, "Honey, you know no one knows your first name yet. Every September you have to teach your school administrator how to spell it and your teacher how to pronounce it. How will potential fans find your book in digital databases if they're not sure how the first word of the title is spelled?

"Yes, I know Harry Potter gets his name in his titles. But his name is ludicrously easy to spell. It's Anglo-Saxon and salt-of-the-earth (not like those aristocratic French and Latin names that attach themselves to villains, such as Voldemort and Draco--but that's another story).

"So what's better for a Septina Nash adventure than a title starting Septina Nash...? Well, look at what happened when your penguin friends waddled onto your MySpace page: 1,200 friends! Yes, I know they were just coming off a hit movie. But we're talking about your chance for break-out here. People like penguins. People know how to spell 'penguin.' So think about something like..."

Penguins of Doom: The Lost-and-Found Letters of Septina Nash

Did Penguins Steal My Sister?: A Septina Nash Mystery

Penguin Peril: Septina Nash's Epistolary Adventures, Volume 4 (starting with volume 1 is so old-fashioned, so...Pottery)
Of course, the book's publisher might then decide that Penguins of Doom sounds too much like a certain adventure by M. T. Anderson.


Anonymous said...

But then I'd have to redesign all the T-shirts!

--S. Nash

The Buried Editor said...

Bell is right Nash. Septina's hard to spell and too close to Septimus Heap's series name. He jumped the gun on you there.

My vote's for: From the Desk of Septina Nash: Penguins of Doom, the second part being a subtitle.

But what do I know? I'm just one of the book's editors. (I'm not a copyeditor, but I did round one of the copyedits Septina and Greg were so worried about.) Oh, and I do control the production schedule of all children's books at BTP. Wa ha ha.