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What’s in a name?

Posted on March 19th 2016

From the early stages of writing my first novel I had decided on the name, ‘The Windelton Absurdities.’ I felt it accurately characterised the absurd, outlandish and hilarious roll call of inhabitants and place that is the imaginary, small Yorkshire town of Windelton.

So why did it end being called ‘Hidden Lives’ you might ask? Well, hereby hangs a tale. As I neared completion of the final text I decided I had better get some professional advice on how to find myself a literary agent and thus, hopefully a publisher. This is no easy task and despite being introduced to one literary agent who had enthused about the initial draft of the novel she never succeeded in finding a publisher. Sadly, she disappeared back into academic publishing and I had to start my search all over again.

I decided to grab the bull by the horns and attend one of the myriad London based, ‘meet the agent’ seminars run by publishers. It was on one of these occasions where I was told that the book title was “all wrong, and anyhow, we receive 12000 book submissions annually and only take on one or two new writers a year.” On my return from London and cheered by this motivational news, I resolved to change the name. After all, I thought, these are supposed to be the ‘experts’. My second resolution, along with many other aspiring authors, was to head down the self-publishing route as I recognised that my novel was not going to make the Booker Prize long list.

When the book cover design was completed and the novel available on Amazon Kindle I informed my good friend and fellow author Dennis Hamley (writer of over 60 children’s novels and my editorial mentor) of my change of heart. He was astonished by my volte face and similar sentiments were echoed by my London based PR advisors and many people who had helped me with the early drafts. However, I stuck to my guns believing that it was no point in seeking (and paying for) professional assistance and then ignoring it. So ‘Hidden Lives’ it became.

After three years and around 2000 e-book downloads I decided it was time make ‘Hidden Lives’ available in print format as so many people have asked if they could have a printed copy. It was at this juncture that I thought that I should revert to the original name and also correct some of the missing words, typos and the occasional spelling horror that punctuated the first version. It was also prompted by the imminent publication of the second novel in the series, ‘Windelton and the Bavarian Incident.’

‘The Windelton Absurdities’ will be available shortly through Amazon’s Create Space print on-demand service, the estimated cost is £9.99 per copy but this has to be finalised. So if you have been a ‘Hidden Lives’ reader the printed version will now feature the original and correct title of ‘The Windelton Absurdities.’ And if doesn’t please literary editors at least it pleases the author and friends.

More details to come very shortly, please watch this space.