Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Title, cover and blurb - your opinion?

I'm nearly ready to publish my latest novel, and I'm doing my usual dithering over the title. Ice Diaries and Snow Globe are the current contenders. So I thought I'd ask you, my trusty blog readers, for your opinion. While you are here, would you cast an eye over the cover - figure/no figure - and the blurb for Amazon too?


It’s 2018 and Tory’s managing. Okay, so London is under twenty metres of snow, almost everybody has died in a pandemic or been airlifted south, and the only animals around are rats. Plus her boyfriend never returned from going to find his parents a year ago when the snow began. But she’s doing fine. Really.

Home is an apartment that’s luxurious, if short on amenities, in a block which used to be home to rich City bankers. A handful of fellow survivors are her friends, and together they forage for food and firewood, have parties once a month and even run a book club. It’s all very civilized. The problem is that long-term they have no future; eventually the food will run out. Tory needs to find a way to make the two-thousand-mile journey south to a warm climate and start again.

Enter Morgan, a disturbingly hot cage fighter from a tougher, meaner world where it’s a mistake to trust people. He’s on the run from Mike, leader of the gang he used to work with. And he has a snowmobile.


  1. Hi Lexi, my tuppence worth is:

    Ice Diaries is a better title, but Snow Globe obviously fits with your cover image better. If you want to call it Ice Diaries then perhaps a book lying in the snow might be a more appropriate image?

    I like the blurb but think it's a bit too long - or maybe the middle paragraph needs breaking up.

    The opening line made me think 'It's 2018 and the Tory government are in power'. I know that's not what it says but that was my impression! Is Tory a slightly odd and possibly misleading name for a girl?

    The last paragraph is very undramatic. He has a snowmobile - handy, but not anything that makes me desperate to know what happens next.

    Tonally it's a little odd, with mentions of world-ending pandemics alongside parties, book clubs and hot men, but perhaps that's in keeping with the book's style.

    Hope this is useful!

  2. Thanks, David. Tory is short for Victoria - perhaps I should put that. I think post-civilization you would have parties and book clubs as soon as you'd sorted out the basics. Though I know most post-apocalyptic novels are full of grim conflict...

  3. Please go for Snow Diaries as the title! And the one with the lone person looking all lonely in the snow!!!

    Maybe call Tory, Tori?

    I like the blurb!

    Good luck!! Take care

  4. Hi Lexi

    I think ICE DIARIES is the much better title. (Do you use the diary format at all in the book?)

    The problem with SNOW GLOBE is that there’s a danger of it sounding like ‘It’s no globe’.

    I really like the globe image, though my preference is for the one with the figure in it. It draws the eye in more and creates a more chilling (no pun intended) sense of isolation… though from the blurb I’m not entirely sure whether the book is supposed to be menacing or a little more light hearted than that.

    My only other issue is with the name of the gangleader. Mike sounds a bit too flat to my ear, too common, with no sense of menace. That it beings with an M might also be problematic given Morgan’s name. Research has been done that shows readers often take in a character by their initial as opposed to reading the full name – hence the advice never to have two main characters whose names begin with the same letter.

    Anyway, just some thoughts…

    Look forward to seeing it published.


  5. Kitty, that's an idea I will consider carefully.

    Guy, the heroine does start a diary, but I didn't make it a feature because Dodie Smith did everything you could possibly do with narrator-writing-diary in I Capture the Castle leaving nothing for the rest of us.

    As for Mike - I was looking for a sinister name in the early stages, and the offspring rolled her eyes and said what a cliché this was, and she'd like a villain with an ordinary name like Mike. I fretted about the two Ms, and tried Jake, but Mike stuck.

  6. For what it's worth:

    I like Ice Diaries (it feels to relate more closely to your story)- and the picture with the woman in it - all that white she's standing on emphases her isolation.

    And the blurb - is fine, till 'It's all very civilised' - You've given details so you don't need this. And personally I don't like 'The problem is ...' - it feels clunky to me. Can it be something along the lines of 'But deep down they know that, one day, the food will run out. Tory will have no choice: she must find a way to make etc etc.' And I'm not sure about 'Enter Morgan' can it be something like 'Dare she accept help from Morgan, ..."

    (But what do I know?)

  7. Ooh, thanks, Jo, will try those. I only started on the blurb yesterday, and I believe they take as long to write as the book :o)

  8. Love the blurb apart from the first line which I had to re-read because of Tory/the Tories confusion) Haven't encountered a post apocalyptic comedy before and it sounds fun. Third image/title is best in my opinion.

  9. P.s. Have you thought of adding a tagline to the cover to hint at the genre e.g. 'It's all fun and games until the world ends' (or something much, much better than that!)

  10. It may have to be Tori - it's HARD changing names when you've spent so long with the characters...clearly I rushed into this.

    Ice Diaries with figure is in the lead so far.

  11. A tagline - no, I hadn't, but I will now. Thanks!

  12. I too prefer Ice Diaries and the image with the figure. Changing Tory to Tori would be a very good move I feel as you don't want to put off half the electorate. ;-) Paul x

  13. Thanks for voting, Paul.

    I don't want to put off any potential reader :o)

  14. Hi Lexi
    Oooh - can't wait!

    My votes: the third title/image and spelling as Tori if you don't want to change. While I have heard of Tory as a shortened version of Victoria, it's not mainstream and to most folk Tory = Conservative.

    As for the blurb, could you rejig the 2nd para? To me it reads a little as if the danger isn't that pressing - the drama isn't strong enough so when Morgan turns up it's not immediately apparent he's her only chance at survival.

    With regard to Mike - the name is a little ordinary. If he's set himself up as a powerful leader might he have adopted a title, or use his surname if it's a strong sound? Even if it's not what you use in the book, a shorthand reference could work for the blurb as long as it gives the potential reader the right impression.

    Overall though, can't wait.
    ps some disappointment about the lack of single R-word title and blue sky cover though...

  15. Hi Katherine!

    I've changed Tory to Tori and am trying to get used to it. At least it sounds the same.

    Tori does refer to Mike as Mike the Psych - does that help? Will try rejigging para 2 - hey, lightbulb moment, I could call the novel REJIG!!!

  16. I like the 'Ice Diaries' title and would definitely include the figure.

    I would also suggest the globe without the stand. It would then give a stronger impression of a bubble in time or a glimpse into the future, rather than a toy globe containing a snow storm.

    The blurb looked OK to me.I think 2018 may be a bit soon. You don't want people reading the book in 5 years time noting that no blizzards are forecast yet!

    I had no problem with Tory but am equally happy with Tori.

    Would be nice to have a title like Rejig to match replica and Remix, though I do think it's more important that the title gives a good idea of the essence of the story.

  17. Q, you don't know how much effort went into making that globe sit reliably on its stand! Without that it would be but a strange bubble with buildings and snow inside...

    I chose 2018 so I could have the Boris Johnson reference. But I have a cunning plan - as the date approaches, I will amend the text. Mwahahahaha!

  18. Refreeze - not bad, David, but they're only frozen once. And I get terribly confused as it is with Remix and Replica...

  19. I like Ice Diaries and the globe with a person.

    Tori is better than Tory for me!

    I did get the menace in the fact that Mike has a snowmobile. He has the means to take Tori where she needs to go - but is she safe with him?

    I found Mike being 'hot' made me think of temperature rather than being fit (or sexy, or whatever the current word is!), partly because of the snow and partly because I'm reading Charlaine Harris and the temperature of supernaturals is key in her books!

    You have quite a fan club now and I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who will snap this book up as soon as it's available, even if the blurb isn't perfect. (But I know you'd have trouble releasing anything that isn't perfect.)

  20. Ooh, I like Ice Diaries with the figure. And the blurb instantly pulled me in!

  21. FH, now you've worried me, getting Morgan and Mike mixed up just like Guy said you would :o)

    Tori, Ice Diaries and globe with person it is. Probably. I can dither for England. But if I do it quietly no one will know...

  22. I like the the image on the right - the one with the figure - and Snow Diaries as the title.
    I think those who are suggesting Tori as an alternative to Tory are right.
    The blurb could be shortened a little but it certainly made me want to order the book immediately.

  23. Adriana and Mary, hurrah, we seem to be reaching a consensus! Thanks for the encouraging remarks re blurb.

  24. I prefer Ice Diaries. (Or just Ice) Don't like snowglobe, it's a bit too twee for me because I love snowglobes on a familiar and happy level.

    Re blurb: long. Can you shorten it? Also skip the 'civilized' bit. Post apocalypse being civilised is a contradiction in terms I think, and may distance the punters who enjoy post-apocalypse genre.

    But Lexi, you know the story, you know the detail, you know the image you want to impart. What do we know? Go with your own gut feeling.

  25. Whoops! I need to read more carefully in future!

  26. Mesmered, the civilized bit is now but a distant memory! And clearly Snow Globe is not what people want to read (who thought of that title? Duh.)

    FH, now I'm looking for another name I like as much as Morgan and it's All Your Fault. And Guy's. It's all his fault too.

  27. Miles? Maurice? Magnus? Martin?

    I'm really trying hard to be helpful here :p

  28. FH, I'm guessing you've got ahead of yourself with NaNoWriMo :o)

  29. I think 'Ice Diaries' is a cool title (haha). Seriously. I'm not sure if I missed something, but I'm not clear on the snow globe, apart from the play on words. But to me the visual is much stronger than the pun, and a snow globe suggests Christmas, family, happy memories, etc. Was this your intent? A juxtaposition of sorts? Is it symbolic? Am I particularly dense? I do like the globe with the figure in it, though. If you MUST have a globe, that is. ;b

    Being a Statesider, I never would have picked up on the Tory=conservative bit.

    I agree with everyone else about the Morgan/Mike concern. Too similar. But it's asking a lot to change character names at this stage, isn't it?

    Last thing: Can you drive a snowmobile across the Channel? Is it iced over or something? Oh, minor referent confusion: I wasn't sure who has the snowmobile, Morgan or Mike. My first thought, of course, was that Morgan has it, but then the idea of the gang leader having the snowmobile (when you don't) ramps up the danger, so that kind of made sense, too.

  30. Snow Globe was a reference to the planet being covered by snow. I've looked at lists of names and haven't found a substitute I like, though as you said, that's because it's such a late stage. It's like having to call an old friend by a different name.

    They don't know whether the Channel is iced over. If it isn't, there's always the Channel Tunnel, or they could use a boat. I'll try to make it clear who has the snowmobile :o)