“This last batch of titles doesn’t do much for me. Except for the word “broken” to describe churches — that seems a good word choice. I still don’t like “Dancing With God.” It’s too grandiose. And too unabashedly joyous to fit the content. Don’t like “Corrupt From Within” because, like “Twisted Churches,” this sounds like a nonfiction expose on churches rather than a memoir. Also, corruption implies “from within,” so it’s extra words. And could be used for any kind of expose, so doesn’t convey much. The subtitle “seeking faith, friendship and freedom in wounded churches” seems to be so general it loses its punch. I think it’s true that your memoir concerns exactly these three things, so it’s a good global description. But to get someone interested in reading a book, I think you have to narrow your focus. “Searching for faith in broken churches” is so much more focused and powerful.”
As you and my other followers know, I have decided to publish my book as an ebook while pursuing a deal with a traditional publisher. I’ve been studying ebook publishing, and Jane’s information, so far, is the best, by far. If you are interested in publishing and ebook, I highly recommend reading this article and going to Jane’s website for other information about professional writing.
Marsha “Persuaded One”
How to Publish an Ebook by Jane Friedman
The e-book publishing landscape is changing fast—with new services, new terms, and new formats.
Despite the pace of change, here are 5 things that have remained fairly constant this year—and that you must be aware of—before you undertake any kind of self-publishing process for e-reading devices. I promise to update this list should any of these facts change. (But don’t hesitate to leave a question or comment on this post at any time.)
- E-book publishing and distribution services (e.g., Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, etc) are nonexclusive and do not take any rights to your work. That means you can use any or all of the services at the same time, and you can take down your work at any time. (You can also upload revisions/updates and change the price at any time you like.)
- There are single-device publishing/distribution services and multiple-channel distribution services, which can be used in tandem. Smashwords and BookBaby are examples of services that will distribute your e-book to multiple e-reading devices.Amazon’s KDP (Kindle) is an example of a single-device publishing service.
- Successful e-books generally require excellent cover design (appropriate for digital viewing and reproduction), appropriate pricing, and strong social currency (testimonials, reviews, blurbs). Appropriate pricing is constantly under debate, but for novels typically runs from 99 cents to $2.99.
- Amazon royalties favor pricing between $2.99 and $9.99. Authors who publish direct with Amazon Kindle will receive a 70% royalty if they price between $2.99 and $9.99. Pricing above or below that range means a 50% royalty. You are not allowed to undercut Amazon’s price on other sites (and that includes your own site).
- Calibre is free e-book conversion software used widely by people in the industry to output e-book files from many types of sources. However, this software might prove intimidating to an inexperienced user. To avoid handling the technical aspects of formatting and conversion for your e-book (especially if you have a range of styles or illustrations used in your book), use a service such as BookBaby, which charges a flat fee to get you going.
For more excellent articles on writing, check out Jane’s website:
Jane will also be presenting a webinar next week about ebook publishing.
Photo by Tim Zurowsky
With hot coffee in hand and two sleeping West Highland White terriers on the couch this morning, I ponder the book I’ve written and rewritten it five times. I’ve studied how to write a proposal. I’ve written a proposal. I’ve studied how to write a query letter. I’ve sent the latest manuscript to readers for comment. Several people are doing edits. I’ve queried multiple literary agents. I’m building a platform. So what now? Now I need a cover page.
I’ve pondered a cover idea for months. This morning got an idea.
I pictured a photo I took in Sebastopol of a path leading into the woods on a soft, foggy day. Something about that photo intrigues me. It suggests a journey. My story is a journey.
Then I thought about Teensy, the fledging sparrow I rescued as a child. Teensy was the creature who introduced me to the tragic reality of death at the tender age of eight. And for that reason, Teensy was an important marker in my life. Fifty-Eight years later I still think of that bird, long decomposed in the Woods–probably an apartment complex now– on 162nd Street, Flushing 65 New York.
What about the picture of a sparrow superimposing, or in another way, being part of the path photograph? I think I’m on to something.
And then, I thought of the song His Eyes are on the Sparrow” by Civilla D. Martin / Charles H. Gabriel.
This song could possibly become my theme song.
From the teenager struggling with peer pressure to the child facing terminal illness, the domestic engineer to the corporate CEO, the single dad, the widowed woman, the preschool teacher, the librarian, the homeless woman, and the Holy Ghost preacher, we all have a story to tell.
You may feel as if you do not have a story to tell because your life seems bland and perhaps even boring, at times. But you do have a story to tell. Tell us about what it feels like to live a bland existence. You may not feel skilled in writing. Then speak your story. After all, oral stories were the first “books.”
I’m just a common woman with a story to tell. Day by day, word by word, my story grew into a book. Now that’s not the most profound thing you’ve probably heard today, but, for me, it’s profound. It seemed like an impossible mountain when I began writing my story 10 years ago. Now that it’s written, I face a new challenge: getting my story into your hand.
- I already keep a journal.
- Who would read a blog written by a stranger?
- I would have to use the right tense in every sentence and phrase.
- I would have to spell and punctuate correctly.
- Writing a blog will take time away from writing THE book.
THE book, a sacred act of revealing my life on paper for the world to see.
THE book, a thing that will one day rescue me from my day job.
THE book, an obsession that I talk about, think about, dream about.
THE book that will someday entertain and inspire thousands.
THE book, an icebreaker at a party.
THE book, the boring thing that people wonder what’s taking so long.
One day it occurred to me that I don’t even have a book. I have a manuscript. One day I admitted that THE book (okay, the manuscript) hasn’t rescued me from my day job and may never, though it is a great icebreaker at parties. Yet I still dream.
Though this book-in-process may never be on the New York Times Bestseller list, I still dream about the day my story will entertain and inspire others. But I don’t merely dream. I understand that the act of writing has in itself transported me out of the “if only” place. And that is an exceptional accomplishment!
From my writing mentor with my own thoughts and response inserted:
One reason it’s so hard to find a title is that you’re not sure what your book is really about. Is it your search for God? Is it about your negative experiences in several churches? Is it about your search for love and marriage? All of these things can be in the memoir, but if you want to interest someone in reading it you must choose one single prevailing theme for your subject. Until you do this, you won’t know what the right title is.
I DO AGREE THAT I HAVE VACILLATED SOMEWHAT BETWEEN THE TOXIC FAITH ELEMENT OF MY STORY, THE UNUSUAL KID, TEENAGER, AND ADULT ELEMENTS, AND THE JEWISH ELEMENT.
I also think one reason for your difficulty choosing a single topic is that the one most unique thing about your memoir — your bad experience in churches — is something you have very mixed feelings about promoting. You are perhaps afraid of offending people you know from these churches, or of betraying your own positive experiences there, or of making a complicated.
MY CONCERN HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH ISOLATING ONE AUDIENCE TO APPEAL TO ANOTHER. I HAVE COME TO A PLACE, THOUGH, IN WHICH I REALIZE I CANNOT APPEAL TO EVERYONE. I KNOW THAT i MUST WRITE MY STORY WITH INTEGRITY AND ALLOW PEOPLE/READERS TO REACT THE WAY THEY MUST. I ALSO REALIZE THAT OFTEN CONTROVERSY ATTRACTS MORE ATTENTION THAN A “PEOPLE PLEASING” MESSAGE. LET PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH MY STORY! LET THEM CRITICIZE ME! LET THEM ARGUE! THE ONLY TRUTH I CAN TELL WITH INTEGRITY IS MY TRUTH, AND THIS BOOK DOES EXACTLY THAT.
You can write your concept down on a piece of paper…. resolve your confusion and make a decision about what the book is about.
Once you know you would use in a title and subtitle. Then get creative and write a long list of different ways of saying the same thing. Then let it sit a while, and come back and analyze which works and which don’t work. Start a new list with the ones that work best, and use these to inspire yet more creative examples of how to say the same thing.
From a baby who didn’t smile for six months, to a kid who entered a Gentile home, to a Jewish adult who chose Jesus as the fulfillment of her faith,Tracy never quite fit in with her peers. As a young Christian, Tracy searched for a community where she could fit in as a Christ follower. In the first years, her search led to an African American church where the “saints” nurtured her as a prodigal daughter returning home, a group posing as Christians who turned out to be a front for the Unification Church founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and a spiritually vibrant mega church in Seattle that became notorious in the mid1980s for a practice called “Spiritual Connections.”
Spiritual Connections was a form of “worship” where members danced with partners to whom they were not married. The result was a rash of emotional and sexual affairs, adultery, nervous breakdowns, divorces, lawsuits, several suicides, and one murder. After Tracy escaped, she attended a church in Boise for 19 years where, during the last six of these years, she encountered a personality-driven pastor who seemed more concerned with his own glory than the spiritual needs of his members. In these organizations, powerful autocratic leaders used mind control to pressure members to disconnect from their families, nonconforming friends, and their individuality.
Though Tracy’s journey thrust her into some significantly unbalanced religious experiences, she learned to surrender her unhealthy relationship with church, give and accept forgiveness, and become vulnerable and honest in relationship. She eventually finds freedom from condemnation and the courage, to be one-of-a-kind authentic.
Now that the time for publishing an ebook is closer to reality, I am, once again, thinking about my titles. In the ten years that I’ve been writing this book, my title has changed. Some of the title below come from your suggestions. If you haven’t already, please vote on one. If your title become THE title of my ebook, you get a free, author-signed book when it comes out in print.
Note that in some examples, the subtitle is interchangeable. Don’t be shy. If you haven’t yet, or you change your mind after gleaning these plethora of title ideas, please vote! I don’t need feedback on the lettering, at this point. Just the title.
HERE YA GO!
Home of the Gentiles
from Jewish to Jesus
Pretty Close to Perfect
My Search for Acceptance in Zealous Churches
seeking acceptance in church and other places
Seeking Unconditional Love in Church & Other Places
Seeking Unconditional Love in Church & Other Places
trading repressed religion for freedom in Christ
trading spiritual bondage for liberty in Christ
The Jewish White Girl
Seeking Acceptance in Church & Other Places
The Jewish White Girl
seeking relationship in religion
a spiritual journey
The Jewish White Girl in Church
seeking relationship in religion
a spiritual journey
Others titles that haven’t struck the title chord for me, but contain important elements of my story:
A Journey towards Intimate Relationship
A Journey Towards Intimacy & Acceptance
A Jew-ish Journey into Christianity
Open & Honest & Unafraid
A mildly dramatized true story
The girl who wanted friends
The girl who found faith in bad churches
A Search for faith & community in Christianity
A Search for True Intimacy
A Longing for Relationship
One Woman’s longing for Intimate Relationship
My Longing for Intimate Relationship
One Woman’s Search for Intimate Relationship
Starved for Relationship
A Journey Towards Intimate Relationship
A Search for Love and Acceptance
An amazing journey towards intimate relationship
A splendid table
A search for the Jewish God in Christianity
More title ideas:
FINDING FREE: Seeking a perfect God in imperfect places
FINDING FREE: Seeking a perfect God in flawed places
FINDING FREE: Seeking unconditional love in conditional places
FINDING FREE: seeking unconditional love in flawed places
FINDING FREE: seeking acceptance in flawed places
FINDING FREE: seeking perfect love in imperfect places
FINDING FREE: Seeking unconditional love in imperfect places
FINDING FREE: Seeking unconditional love in flawed churches