I am generally considered by my friends and family to be a fairly clever fellow. Bit of a know-it-all, if truth be told. Pedantic even. Hell, I even appeared on "Jeopardy." Didn't win, but I was on the show. It's not everyone who knows the meaning of "Quilp."
But god, sometimes I can be so damn stupid.
Spent the day pulling together in a spreadsheet the list of agents to whom I've sent "The Wreck of the Gladys B." If I'd been doing this from the start it would have been an easy process. Instead it's been damn tedious, digging through the e-mails (I was at least smart enough to save them all in a separate folder) and figuring out who and when and if they'd ever responded in any way. (Usually not.)
But that's not the stupid part. Tori and I were talking about it, and Millie mentioned that if there was ever a movie made from it (good girl, she actually said, "when" they make a movie of it,) she has dibs on playing the lead character, Chrissie Warren. "I want to play Chrissie Warren – Pirate hunter!" And I thought – Ohmigod, I'm such an idiot!
This is where you came in. Sometimes I can be so damn stupid.
Because "Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter" is so much better a title than "The Wreck of the Gladys B."
Let's compare. "The Wreck of the Gladys B." Who's Gladys? What a stupid name. A wreck? Why would I want to read about a wreck? If it's a wreck, is everybody already dead? What kind of a story is that? This is stupid.
Now the new one. "Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter." Pirates! Cool! I LOVE reading pirate adventures. Chrissie Warren, that's a girl's name. And a girl who hunts pirates! Wow! Maybe she'll hunt down Jack Sparrow!
See, it just wins in all kinds of ways. So much better.
And truth to tell I never really thought that was going to end up as the name. As I wrote it and was reading it to the class, I always wondered what the real title would be.
So far I've sent 46 queries on the story under the original name. Gotten a couple of enthusiastic "no thank you" replies and a handful of polite nos, and a lot of silence, which any author will tell you is par for the course. It's hard, as the "no replies" pile up, not to take it as "We've taken a vote and we want you to go away and never come back."
Today we sent one out under the new title. We'll send a few more. And I know it's going to make all the difference.
And if not, something else will. Because, like the vast majority of authors, I live in constant hope