How could I possibly forget, you ask? Maybe it’s because Amazon and BN started shipping early, so I feel as if the book’s already “out.” Last weekend, a few people had already received their copies in the mail, and I was relying on their descriptions of what it looked like. “It is shiny,” wrote one of my students, and as it turns out – she was right!
A few days ago, I received my author copies, and immediately I laid one aside as a very special gift. I contacted a certain person’s mother for permission and then made arrangements with a sixth grade teacher in my building. This past Thursday, armed with a signed and personally dedicated copy of We Hear the Dead, I marched down the hall to a nearby classroom – with my own students trailing behind me like little ducklings.
You see, last spring, my editor broke the news to me that the Sourcebooks marketing department wanted to ditch the title I had previously used for this book (High Spirits). I wasn’t surprised, but I was at a loss for a replacement. I wracked my brains, consulted a few friends and relatives, and then sent Sourcebooks a list of suggestions. (They ran along the lines of A Talent for Deceit and An Innocent Deception.) The marketing department bounced those around for awhile, but none of them really captured the feeling they wanted to promote for the book. I came up with a second list, and this time I was scraping the bottom of the creative barrel. (Voices Beyond the Veil and Speaking with Spirits … gag!) I even threw out an SOS to my fifth grade class, asking for help.
One of my students delivered a suggestion via our classroom blog. “How about We Can Hear the Dead?” she wrote. Well, that was clearly better than Voices Beyond the Veil! So I edited out a single word and sent it along behind the others.
They loved it – as you can see from the way it is splashed across the cover! Thursday, I was delighted to present my very first copy of We Hear the Dead to the young lady (now a sixth grader) who thought of the perfect title for my debut novel. From her big grin, I suspect she was just as excited as I was.
And Sourcebooks says that if she’s planning to go into marketing as a career, she should look them up in a few years.