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Wait. When Did SPLIT SCREEN Become DOUBLE FEATURE? - Voices In My Head (Brent's Blog)


Previous Entry Wait. When Did SPLIT SCREEN Become DOUBLE FEATURE? Jan. 6th, 2012 @ 12:38 am Next Entry

Wait. Didn't my book Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (the third book in the Russel Middlebrook series) used to have a different title?

It did! It was originally published by HarperCollins back in 2007 as Split Screen (with the same “zombie” subtitles).

So why does it have a different title now?

When I was writing it, I had originally titled the book Double Feature, which I thought was really important to communicate the overall “concept” of the book (it's two complete books in one that tell of the same period of time from two points of view -- Russel's and Min's). I also loved the retro sci-fi allusion, which totally fit the plot of the book (Russel and his friends get a job working as extras on a low-budget zombie movie).

The new book jacket

But my editors didn't like it. They didn't really have a reason, except that marketing had told them, "No. It's not 'colorful' enough."

(And it didn't matter when I said, "Not colorfulenough? The sub-title is all about brain zombies!")

No matter how much I begged and pleaded, my editors refused to give the book my original title. I didn't like our “compromise” title, Split Screen, which I thought was awkward and confusing and didn't fit the concept I had in mind. But I was trying to be a good soldier, so I ultimately went along with it. (And then, of course, after the book was published, I had to read a lot of reviews and email from people who thought the title was awkward and confusing and didn't fit the concept. D'oh!)

Hey, editors and writers don’t always see eye-to-eye. Nothing new about that. And they’re signing the paycheck, so their word goes on things like that. What can you do?

The original book jacket

Anyway, when I got the rights to the book back earlier this year, I decided to publish my own e-edition, and I was able to finally give it the title I had originally wanted. I was also able to give it a cover that I think does the book better justice than the one HarperCollins chose (authors have no control over their book jackets, alas).

I know that changing titles will probably cost me some book sales, but you know what? I really didn't like the title Split Screen, so it was really important to me to return to my original vision.

Miss the book (which ended up winning the Lambda Award, despite its title!) the first time around? Check it out here!

(Graphic artist April Martinez did my original e-book covers for Double Feature, Grand & Humble, and The Last Chance Texaco, and I recommend her very highly.)

whisper in my ear
Date:January 6th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
Ooh! I love the new title and cover! I own the book but I may have to get the e-book too now! :) Congrats!
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 7th, 2012 06:55 am (UTC)
Aw, you're sweet. And thanks! :-)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture Icon]
Date:January 7th, 2012 06:55 am (UTC)
It's so true! I love the newfound freedom. This must be the first time in history that writers have this much power!
(whisper in my ear)
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