Monday, June 4, 2018

Little rips in the fabric of the universe

Up through A Pocketful of Stars I'd never bothered with naming chapters. The only remotely creative thing I ever did even with chapter numbers happened a long time ago, and that (Mathemagics) is another story. But now that I've started exploring the world of indie publishing, it has been pointed out to me that good chapter titles can be a secondary form of advertising. If somebody downloads the free sample for a Kindle e-book, don't I want to use every tool I've got to interest them in the story? Of course I do. Well, a table of contents with chapter titles can give tantalizing hints as to what's coming after the short text sample. With any luck, the prospective reader will look at something like, "17. Time-traveling space aliens," and think oh, there's going to be lots of interesting stuff coming up, maybe I want the whole book.

My grinchy subconscious insists on pointing out that they may also think, "This is way too weird and crazy for me."

Shut, up, subconscious. Anybody who reacts that badly to the chapter titles probably wouldn't have given me a good review anyway.

So I put chapter titles into An Opening in the Air, and after going three rounds with the formatting service I finally got them into the clickable table of contents in the e-book:

1. More fun than I’d bargained for
2. Little rips in the fabric of the universe
3. A finite set of stars
4. Close enough without sharing body parts
5. By force if necessary
6. Let sleeping case officers lie
7. A topologist in motion tends to walk into the wall
8. I frequently feel like locking them up myself
9. The most embarrassing mother on the face of the earth
10. God’s Own Amusement Park
11. Shot at and missed
12. Black sheets, white sheets or the kitchen table
13. “Sexist, racist, KKK”
14. The next Ice Age
15. The best vintage car festival ever
16. A message to the future
17. Time-traveling space aliens
18. An extremely embarrassing incident
19. The imminent prospect of torture
20. We astonish Ben bigly
21. And yet it walks and breathes
22. Come alone and tell no one
23. Words like broken glass
24. You cannot let him think he has broken you
25. The resident djinn

I hope at least a few of these will intrigue potential readers. I can't think of any way to measure that, so I expect subsequent books will also have chapter titles; it's fun dreaming them up.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to know I'm not the only one with a grinchy subconscious. ;-) Those ARE intriguing chapter titles.


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