The Volunteer as a Title

I check the Amazon page for The “Volunteer” regularly to see if any new reader reviews have been added.  It is up to 46 reviews on the American Amazon site now, quite a lot for an independently published novel that has never had a major advertising campaign.  Even better, the average rating per review is a lofty 4.5 stars.  Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed The “Volunteer”.

I saw something interesting when I checked the paperback edition’s Amazon page this morning.  In the “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” section was another book, a novel, called The Volunteer.

Also Viewed

Of course, I clicked on this other novel to check it out. It is by an author named Salvatore Scibona whose previous novel The End was nominated for a National Book Award.  His The Volunteer is scheduled to be released on March 5, 2019.  I also saw in the “About the Author” section that Salvatore Scibona is the director for the Scullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.  Coincidentally, I worked as a librarian at the New York Public Library in the early 1990s.

I have mixed feelings about seeing another novel with the title The Volunteer.  Titles, of course, cannot be copyrighted, and I’m sure there were other books called The Volunteer published before I submitted mine to the world (although I doubt that anyone put the word Volunteer in quotation marks as part of the title).  No, the thing that bothers me just a bit is someone searching for Mr. Scibona’s The Volunteer and finding mine instead.  Sure, it might make for more sales for me, but most of the people who have bought my The “Volunteer” have done so because they were attracted to the concept.  They knew what they were going to get.  I’m not so sure those wanting to read Mr. Scibona’s “epic story of a restless young man who is captured during the Vietnam War and pressed into service for a clandestine branch of the United States government” are going to want to read a first person account from a young woman who reluctantly chooses to go naked in public for a sociology experiment.

Part of my misgiving comes from the fact that I am, like many writers, a bit insecure about my writing.  I mentioned this in my last post, that I felt an affinity with William Goldman when he said that he was truly proud of only two of his works.  For those who search for Mr. Scibona’s book and find mine, I can only say that I hope you enjoy it.  It was written just for the pure fun of writing.