Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The girl's secret guide to saving sparkly mermaids vol 1: the complicated case of the ghostly pirates, or How to be popular with superheroes

I'm weeding children's chapter books, and I have discovered two ways publishers can guarantee a book will never circulate: 1) give it an abstract cover. 2) fail to include a description of what happens in the book. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Why make these mistakes unless they're trying to sabotage a writer? It's not rocket science. On the other hand, here's a list of 10 things you can put on the cover of a book (regardless of its content) that will make it move.

1. Sparkles. Or shiny swirls.
2. Animals with sad eyes.
3. Any reference to Superheroes or special powers.
4. Graffiti font.
5. Any combination of the following words: girl, popular, secret, complicated, life, game, rules, notebook.
6. The words "How to" followed by something ridiculous, like train dragons or eat worms.
7. The mottled pattern of a composition notebook.
8. Fairies or mermaids (strangely, unicorns have fallen out of favor).
9. Large reptiles.
10. The words haunting, ghost, scare, or triple-dare.

Foster care remains popular, but terminal illness and paralysis are still circ-killers. Another cardinal rule: the more books in the series, the better it circulates. Familiarity doesn't actually breed contempt. It breeds readers.

Stay tuned for my list of suggested titles for young adult books, beginning with Chicken Soup for the Teenage Child Called It.

No comments: