Reader Feedback Request

One of the big advantages for writers, especially independent authors, has been the digital revolution. No longer is an author’s work dependent on literary agents (Literary agents, in my opinion, are like lawyers, low-life bottom-feeders who can’t write themselves so they make a living skimming 15% off the top from people who can write. They simply didn’t have the grades in college that would get them admitted to law school so they could spend their lives chasing ambulances.) and the Big 6 publishing houses who are more interested in churning out re-hashed versions of the same, slightly modified stories by the likes of James Patterson, John Grishom, Clive Cussler and the like. Those with a vested interest in perpetuating the Big 6 domination of the literary world clamor that independent authors clutter the world with trashy writing…yeah? Look above and tell me about their value to the printed word.

Ever since Gutenberg figured out moveable type until just a couple of years ago once an author gave his work a title and a cover was affixed to it that was it. . forever. You were stuck with it. Now, though, with just a few clicks of the mouse (and a new ISBN number) an author whose work is in electronic form whether as an e-book or Print on Demand (POD) can change the title and/or the cover at will.

I’ve never been completely happy with either the title of my book about Christopher Columbus’s horrible fourth voyage. His fleet was denied entrance into Santo Domingo to ride out an approaching hurricane. It took them a month to sail the northern coast of what is now Honduras and when they turned the corner he named it “Cabo de Gracias a Dios” which is still on charts to this day, 510 years later. They constantly battled contrary winds and currents. Their attempt at establishing a colony in Panama was a disaster. The Indians didn’t take kindly to the thought of sharing their land with these interlopers and in a bloody battle literally drove the white men into the sea. With his ship’s hulls leaking like sieves because of shipworms he was forced to abandon two of the four in Panama. Trying to return to Santo Domingo the two remaining ships were so close to sinking that besides manning the pumps 24 hours a day the men were literally bailing with their cooking utensils to the point where they had to be run ashore on the bleak coast of Jamaica to save their lives. They remained there for over a year and Columbus faced starvation, a mutiny and a pitched battle between the mutineers and those loyal to their leader.

The original title of the book was “Despair!” and the cover was an old painting of the “Admiral of the Ocean Sea.” It was okay, I guess, but not really what I wanted. Now, with the book translated into Spanish and being worked on to be offered as a dual-language book, I’ve decided on a new title and cover art. I’d like to get some honest feedback from my readers as to what they think of the new title and cover.

Old cover and title:


What do you think about this?


Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “Reader Feedback Request

  1. Hi Richard:

    My vote is for your second book cover. It’s more closely related to the events of your book. I can still vividly remember your description of a hurricane which you described as “liquid hell.” I loved your book and will soon read it again.

    Best Regards,


    Thanks Omar…when the dual-language book is ready I’ll send you a free copy.

  2. Brian Christofferson

    I like the new cover and title. The new title is more descriptive.

    Thanks, Brian, when I get the Spanish to English edition ready I’ll send you a free copy.

  3. Rick Rueter

    I agree that the graphics of the second version are better, but to avoid confusion I wouldn’t change the title, but add wording that it is reissued to include a Spanish translation. (Translators’ names need not be on the cover, although I’m sure they appreciate it.)

    I AM going to change the title. I think it’s one of the things that might have been holding back sales. I’m also taking Linda’s suggestion about adding “The Ill-Fated…” and YOUR suggestion of not putting the girl’s names on the cover. I HAVE to put the “Dual-Language” thing on the cover though and with the girl’s names it’s just too cluttered. But, as I said in Linda’s comment, above, I’m going to offer the book in dead-tree form through CreateSpace, a POD arm of Amazon and I can put the girl’s blurb on the back cover.

  4. Love the second cover.

    If it were me, I’d do a mashup of the first & second wordings. This is just off the top of my head.

    In Disaster’s Wake
    The Ill-Fated Fourth Voyage of Christopher Columbus

    by Richard S. Philbrick

    A Dual-Language Book: Spanish to English
    Translation by Stephany Penaloza and Deyreth Garcia

    Are the girls’ names listed in that order because of the portion of the book they translated? Would alphabetical order be better, or not? That’s something I don’t know about.

    I like your suggestion a LOT! Stephany is listed first because she translated the first half of the book. But I think I’m going to take Rick Rueter’s suggestion and leave the girl’s names off the electronic book cover. Adding “The Ill-Fated Voyage” makes the page too cluttered. I am going to put the book out in dead-tree form through CreateSpace and I can add them and their pics on the back cover where there’s usually a blurb and an author bio. They are, of course mentioned at the end of both books and acknowledged on the first pages of the book.