It is Sunday morning, seven a.m. and I cannot fall back to sleep, so I reach for two books. The first is normal sized and the cover speaks of inspiration. The second is a huge book, probably one foot or more in length by almost a foot in width. The title caught my eye next—Undisclosed Files Of The Police in bold white letters; POLICE standing out far more than the other words. The word UNDISCLOSED claims almost half the distance across the cover. My choice was made. Upon flipping through the pages, one story caught my attention.
I stopped on this particular eye-catching story and began to read. What was so intriguing you ask? It was the picture; the same picture that sold more newspapers in one day than any other in the history of The Daily News. It was Ruth Snyder's death picture taken in the Sing Sing death house, a picture no one should have had. In bold black letters was the headline DEAD! Below it was the death picture, capturing the moment she died. That front page picture sold 1.5 million newspapers on January 13, 1928.
I read the entire story and then moved on to the next and the next. My point is grabbing attention in big ways can pay dividends, if attention is what you are seeking. I continued reading through the true crime stories in this book for one and a half hours. The stories covered the 1920's up to 2010. Today, true crime writings, movies, and conversations with serial killers dominate our attention. Upon noticing this, I decided to add a serial killer novel to my series. A few beta readers struggled with one scene in the story. When each approached me, I knew exactly which scene it was. I considered deleting the scene. Then, I considered this one fact—serial killers are not performing good deeds. They are in fact, heinous killers. So, I left the scene. I read every review of the novels I write. One review said, "How dare a woman write something like this." Unfortunately, this review has been removed by Amazon. I haven't a clue why. I like these types of reviews. They make me stop and think about my stories.
I considered again if I should remove the scene. My final conclusion was no, I should leave it. The scene was a part of the character. To remove it would mean deleting a portion of the character. So, the second thing I did after leaving the scene was to make sure the cover portrayed the story contained between the covers. I made the letters bleed. There was no doubt about what you were in for if you chose to read the story. All in all, the reviews were uplifting for me. I think I made sure the book stood out, showing what it had to offer.
If you are interested in the Sing Sing Death Photo story you can find it in the book below: