William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” A good editor knows that this process is sometimes painful to the author because their words are their babies. How, then, is an editor to approach nonfiction trauma manuscripts when an author’s words are their nightmares?
As the cover of a book communicates to the potential reader what lies within, many conventions have emerged to highlight certain genres, such as an old photograph that promises a memoir, or a shirtless muscular man that promises a romance novel. To investigate further, we’ll look at four popular books sold in both the US and the UK and see what each cover has to say about the same story.
Becoming a conscientious objector isn’t simply saying no to war and walking away. It’s a complicated decision shrouded in public shaming, and for Rosa, a decision not made lightly. Her memoir gives us a glimpse into the female military experience and the effects 9/11 had on our young recruits.
We’re preparing for a busy season at Ooligan Press, with three titles coming out in as many consecutive months beginning in March. Our final book of the school year, Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War by Rosa del Duca, is set to publish on May 21. It’s a thought-provoking memoir that not only communicates Rosa’s path to becoming a conscientious objector in the military but also serves as a conversation-starter around a number of pressing topics.
If that’s the case, why does nonfiction allow something as unreliable as memories? The idea is that the writer is truly recounting the memory, not whether or not it actually occurred. The experience is born out of the memory of the event. A memoir is a recounting of memory. It has to be a truthful recounting of only what’s remembered and what is researched.
A book’s cover and title are the first two things that a person comes in contact with, and thus are the first clues as to what that book is about. A good title and cover both need to accurately convey the content while also making it easier for the reader to figure out the general genre and topics covered as well as make it stand out from others in its genre at the same time. That’s a tough order to fill! Here’s how the team for the upcoming Spring 2019 title is handling this part of the process.