Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Title Prey

I'm trying to find time to read every day, so I bring a book with me to read at lunch. Yesterday, I forgot my book. Determined to broaden my mind, I opened the file cabinet at my desk and picked out one of the books that had been left there by other people. I decided to give Broken Prey a try.

I should never go against my instinct. As a rule, I stay away from murder mysteries because they tend to be overdone, predictable and flat-out boring. I turned over the book to look at the back. There was no description of the book, just a picture of the author, dressed in a dated suede leather jacket and jeans, leaning up against a building.

But it was raining and I was already at the deli eating my salad. I had to read something-anything. So, I cracked open the hard cover and what I discovered that this author has written several other books. This is not surprising, given the success of this genre. James Patterson must be on his 400th book by now. I read the list and almost choked on a piece of chicken. Click Read More to see the list.

Rules of Prey
Shadow Prey
Eyes of Prey
Silent Prey
Winter Prey
Night Prey
Mind Prey
Sudden Prey
The Night Crew
Secret Prey
Certain Prey
Easy Prey
Chosen Prey
Mortal Prey
Naked Prey
Hidden Prey

I'll bet the publisher was pissed when he came up with The Night Crew. I can only imagine the phone call John got after the publisher found out.

Publisher: John, what the hell is this? The Night Crew? What the fuck?

John: I thought I'd break from the pattern. You know, get people interested again?

Publisher: No, no, dammit! People are going to get confused by this! We had a good thing going and you fucked it up! You must think you're sooo clever, huh?

John: I wasn't trying to be clever.

Publisher: Change the title--now!

John: We can't. It's already printed.

Publisher: Listen to me, you smug son-of-a bitch, you ever EVER do this again, and you'll be writing copy for the penny saver!

John: But, but...I

Publisher: Do you hear me?

John: Yes, sir. I'm sorry.

Publisher: That's a good boy. I'm glad we see eye to eye. Now, go get started on that new book. It's due next month, you know.

John: What should I call it?

Publisher: Hmm, let's see. How about...Secret Prey?


Ros said...

You're actually really close to how it goes. There aren't exchanges like that, but the author has no control over the title. And since the "Prey" books are the best-selling ones he does, the publishers don't want to change it. They suspect it would "confuse" the reader. In reality, the reader can't tell the books apart. The author can't remember which title goes with which book (so keeping them straight is part of my job). He wishes at this point that would have chosen a theme other than [X] Prey, but after almost twenty years there's not really anything he can do.

(Yes, I know I'm commenting some three months late, but I don't always find Sandford posts when they're posted.)

Chris said...

Thank you, Ros. Hey, if he's still going strong after 20 years, he could name his next book "Prey Prey" or "Like a Preyer" and no one would bat an eyelash. More power to him.

Steven said...

I think I've read Birds of Prey.

Shit. Is that even one of his books?