Improbable Phrases

Who says that?

No! No Lollipops! No One Will Buy Them!

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Earlier this week I realized that the Joanne Harris book that I have been waiting for was coming out next month. There is usually a lag of about 6 months between the UK publishing and the US release. There are varying reasons for this: American inability to understand certain British references, American inability to understand the metric system, and so on. Minor changes are made. But this time something odd happened. Harris published “The Lollipop Shoes” and then “Runemarks,” but “Runemarks” made it to American shelves first, back in January. Why? Because in addition to some textual changes that are common to books that bridge the UK/US divide, the marketing process involved re-naming the book formerly known as “The Lollipop Shoes.” Re-naming the book?!? People in America can wrap their head around the words “The Lollipop Shoes.” The issue here was that someone at a Barnes & Noble marketing meeting convinced people that the title would not sell because it sounded too much like chick-lit. Which is an interesting contention. When I first heard of the UK title I thought of the bright clothes that Vianne wore in the movie based on the first book, “Chocolat.” “The Lollipop Shoes” seemed sweet and fairy-tale-ish, but not anything completely insipid and mind-numbing. Besides, it was written by Joanne Harris, who I know does not do chick-lit. And, if you print: Author of Bestseller Chocolat, wouldn’t that clear up any Harlequin Romance-related misunderstanding? All this brings me to a musing: how many times have authors been asked to change book titles because there was a belief that it just wouldn’t sell? And how much does my own book browsing style contribute to that? I know that I won’t pick up a book and check the content if I have issues with the cover or title. So, is the delay on the US release of  “The Girl With No Shadow” aka “The Lollipop Shoes” partially the fault of me and others like me? If so, holy crap book-world, I’m sorry. But I don’t see myself changing my style. 


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