In yesterday's comments, the question of how titles and covers play into the sales discussion came up. Let me, for educational purposes, present the following (entirely fictional) one act play featuring sales rep #1, sales rep #2, marketing guy, and art guy.
sales rep #1, sales rep #2, marketing guy, and art guy are all gathered around the conference room table with myriad other publishing professionals.
sales rep #1: I don't know, art guy. This cover just screams romance to me, and Dudes and Bros and Explosions is a thriller.
art guy: True, but one of the main characters is a woman who tries to be "one of the bros" but then falls in love with the protagonist, yeah? We figured it was more of a romantic suspense.
sales rep #2: No, we're aiming for a male audience. We need to take the clinch off the cover and throw in some dudes. Maybe some bros.
sales rep #1: And some explosions.
sales rep #2: Definitely some explosions.
marketing guy: Also, what about the title? I mean, yeah, it's kind of intriguing, but what about the title we launched with?
sales rep #1: You mean The Huzenlaub Effect?
marketing guy: Yeah, that! I'd pick that up in a book store.
sales rep #2: We thought it sounded too academic. Plus, it turns out it's pretty similar to the Huzenlaub process, which is...
sales rep #1 (reading from BlackBerry): "...a form of parboiling designed to retain more of the nutrients in rice."
sales rep #2: Yes. That.
art guy: Okay, we stick with Dudes and Bros and Explosions. But I'm not sold on cutting the clinch. I mean, hot women on book covers sell. And the dude has one arm around her and he's holding a grenade in the other. I don't see what's not to like.
sales rep #1: You made the protagonist look like Fabio. He's described in the book as more of a Kiefer Sutherland type.
sales rep #2: With an eye patch.
sales rep #1: Yeah, an eye patch.
marketing guy: Eye patches don't sell.
sales rep #1: Eye patches totally sell. Boy Wizard with an Eye Patch sold three million copies in hardcover.
marketing guy: Boy Wizard with an Eye Patch was written by J.K. Meyer. She could have written the character with two eye patches, leprosy, and a daytime job on FOX & Friends and it still would have sold.
sales rep #2: All right, what if we foil emboss the title? Shiny things sell.
art guy: Too expensive.
sales rep #1: What if we make it a trade paper original and drop the price point to $16.99?
sales rep #2: That might work.
marketing guy: You know what? I think I like Bros and Explosions and Dudes better.
The curtain closes as everyone at the table tries to speak at the same time.