CLICKS are many things – they’re instincts, they’re connections, and they’re one of the sounds dolphins make when they communicate.
All of these definitions factored into the name of my first book.
For so long, I called it The Dolphin Book. Eventually, it had to have more of a name, so I called it The Dolphin Prophecy, because a major theme in the book is that what happens to the dolphins will happen to humans too. But then, I began to pitch. Editors didn’t know what to say because those I talked to insisted dolphins only worked in middle grade,but I felt this story needed to stay Young Adult. Agents told me to send it because they were intrigued, but it sounded too different, which wasn’t selling at the moment. And they all told me, no matter what other advice I would heed, to bury the storyline about dolphins in the background, and definitely keep it out of marketing.
Then I went to Nashville and UtopYAcon 2012 where I found a whole bunch of people who were publishing independently. They all thought CLICKS sounded interesting, and that I didn’t need to change it to please the publishing industry when they’d discovered another way to get books to an audience. t was Amy Bartol who put it most succinctly. She said “Do you want to spend the next year getting rejections, or readers?” She advised me to hire an editor, a cover designer, and a publicist, and get the darn thing into the world myself. So I did. I was blessed when Jennifer Rees, Regina Wamba, and KP Simmon came on to help. All had worked on NYTimes best sellers and each of them connected with CLICKS. Together, we moved towards publishing. I could ignore the naysayers because I knew the book was interesting, I couldn’t shake the idea that the “dolphin thing” could be damaging, so I changed the blurbs to focus more on surfing and twinning, and made the series name The Pinhold Prophecy. Pinhold is the name of the island, and an anagram for dolphin that very few people caught.
Almost a year later, I can honestly say that “hiding the dolphins” didn’t work at all. They drive the plot, the mythology and the action and that hadn’t changed with the marketing copy. Just look at this update word cloud I made. I may have skipped the dolphin shape, but the size of the word tells you how often it was mentioned. Most readers thought the dolphin parts were the most interesting, exciting and unique. A few didn’t like them at all and, in truth, they would have been much better off if the marketing materials had warned them off. By not mentioning the dolphins, I consistently struggled to explain the book, and I missed out on attracting the audience most inclined to read The Dolphin Book from the start.
I’ve learned my lesson, though, as the ECHOES cover indicates. It’s the sequel to CLICKS and comes out in June, and before that I’m rereleasing CLICKS as well with the word “dolphin” on the cover. There’s going to be a lot more images and teasers with dolphins as well, because they are the very heart of the book.
There is so much that we can learn from them In CLICKS, Cami had to learn to trust her instincts. I should have trusted my own as well. And you know, if you don’t like dolphins? You may not want to check out too much on here for these next few months.