Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Ann Whitford Paul gives great tips for choosing a book title in Chapter 16 of WRITING PICTURE BOOKS.
While not every title will contain all of the characteristics, these tips are a smart place to start in evaluating possible choices. Is your title...
1. Brief
2. Catchy
3. Unique
4. Straightforward
Does it...
5. Express the Mood of the Book
6. Hint at What the Book Is About
7. Create Suspense
8. Give the Artist an Idea for the Cover Illustration
9. Include the Main Character's Name
10. Use a Catchy Line From Your Manuscript
Make sure...
11. The Title Doesn't Give Away the Ending
12. That A Child Can Easily Say It Out Loud (for picture books)
I selected my contest winner using these characteristics. WHEN SARAH WASN'T LOOKING is unique. A quick check of shows me that it hasn't been used before. That's important because I want readers to be able to find my book without searching too hard. WHEN SARAH WASN'T LOOKING also delivers on #'s 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11.
All in all I think it's a great title choice. Thanks to all of my contest participants and to Barbara Krasner who suggested the winning title.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And The Contest Winner Is...

Barbara Krasner! Barbara suggested the title: WHEN SARAH WASN'T LOOKING. I think readers will immediately want to know what happened when Sarah wasn't looking and keep reading to find out.

The random drawing winner is"theartgirl." Congratulations to both of you and please let me know which book you'd like to receive. Choices are TONIGHT YOU ARE MY BABY by Jeannine Norris, and DOG GONE or BUCK FEVER by Cynthia Chapman Willis. Also please email your shipping information to

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Sometimes the right title for a book or magazine article just pops into my head. But not this time. I'm having a problem coming up with the perfect title for my first novel. So I've decided to run a contest to choose the name. Here are the rules:

1. Read about the novel's plot below.

2. Choose your favorite from the titles listed or come up with a completely new title.

3. Post your title choice on my blog.

If somebody comes up with a completely new title and I decide to use it, then I will send you a free copy of either TONIGHT YOU ARE MY BABY by Jeannine Norris or DOG GONE or BUCK FEVER both by Cynthia Chapman Willis. (Your choice)

In addition, I will put the names of everyone who posts on my blog in a hat and select a random winner. I will also send this winner a free copy of either Cindy or Jeannine's books.

Here's the storyline:

Twelve-year-old Sarah Willis is babysitting her five-year-old sister when her sister wanders into the street and is struck by a car. From that point on Sarah wishes for two things: first she wants her sister to be good as new, and though her second wish is impossible, she wishes it with all her heart. Somehow she wishes the accident hadn't been her fault.

Possible titles include:

Inside Beauty

Don't Tell

Keeping Secrets

The Summer Sarah Beth Willis Grew Up

Summer Break

SCHOOLED by Gordon Korman

I had never heard of author Gordon Korman, but a quick check at his website tells me that he has published more than 55 books with over seven million copies sold. Mr. Korman has written several series as well as lots of stand alone titles.

I loved reading SCHOOLED and found myself chuckling during most of it. Our protagonist Capricorn (Cap) Anderson grew up on a commune. His hippie grandmother, Rain, homeschools him and he has little contact with the outside world. When Rain falls and breaks her hip, Cap is forced to live with a middle school guidance counselor and attend middle school.

Because of Cap's weirdness, (he's never handled money, watched TV, doesn't own a cell phone, and dresses straight out of the 1960's), he is elected class president as a prank. What follows is both hilarious and heartwarming.

Tip for writers: The book is told from the viewpoints of several different characters. Each chapter starts out like this Name: Capricorn Anderson, Name: Mrs. Donnelly, Name: Hugh Winkleman. It's an effective way to get the inside scoop on all the major characters in this story.