My publisher changed its mind about “Alternate History“. The primary reason: Amazon uses “Alternative History” as its category for ebooks and “Alternate History” for books. So here is today’s cover:
My friend Kathy (who can’t possibly be old enough to be the parent of a tween) complains that using the word “History” on the cover will turn off kids the age of her son. This is interesting. Publishers feel the need to categorize novels, because readers tend to stick to their favorite genres, and it’s much harder to market a novel if it can’t be fit neatly into a genre. (My first agent gave up on me when I sent him Marlborough Street and he had no idea how to pitch it to publishers. My current publisher decided it was a “psychic thriller,” which I guess is a thing.)
Kathy also queries why the novel isn’t marketed directly to tweens — don’t they have their own category? Yes, they do. But I’m pretty sure adults will enjoy The Portal, and if you market a novel specifically to young adults, you’re not going to get any adults reading it (unless you’re J.K. Rowling). So, I dunno. I’d much rather write the stuff than figure out how to market it.