Rich Handley Author and Editor

Dear Cover Editor: You Had ONE Job!

Let’s say you’re publishing a pulp horror novel. Now, let’s say the book partly revolves around a murder mystery, with someone having hired an assassin to kill one of your main characters. Let’s say you plan not to reveal the assassin’s identity until two pages from the end. And let’s say that you establish early on that one character suffers from nightmares, during which she sleepwalks, which is intended to foreshadow the big reveal that the person with the nightmares is, in fact, the assassin. Keep in mind that you want to not let people know from the get-go that the friendly, sweet girl with the nightmares is the assassin. The last thing you want is for readers to associate nightmares and assassins too early on, or else they’ll figure out the end of the murder mystery on, oh, let’s say, just for the sake of a hypothetical argument, page 23 of a 159-page book. Nightmares and assassins should be considered separate story elements until the big “A-HA!” moment. So… how do you maintain the suspense? Naturally, you choose the following title for the book:

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