Monday, September 14, 2009

On The Outside: Sydney Salter

Sydney Salter is the debut author of the hilarious My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

The title just popped into my head right before I started writing. What else could I call a book about a girl who hates her nose and experiences one disastrous event after another? I loved my title, yet, I found myself blushing every time I told someone. I don’t exactly have the smallest nose… I felt like saying my book title drew attention to my own nose. And sometimes it does. “So you think you have a big nose?” more than one person has asked. I mutter something like, “well, yes, but the book is fictional.” Some people feel compelled to tell me that I don’t have a big nose. I don’t know what to say to that either. Um, thank you?

There was a brief moment when my publisher’s marketing team considered shortening the title to My Big Nose (so it wouldn’t be confused as a book of short stories). I freaked out! I could just imagine people asking my book’s title, me blurting out, “My Big Nose!” The person’s forehead would crinkle with confusion. “No, I asked about your book not your face.” I also thought the humor in the title came from the And Other Natural Disasters part. So they added the words “A Novel” at the top of the cover. Phew!

The funny thing is that my title has forced me to really deal with my feelings about my own nose (my inner 17-year-old is still absolutely horrified). I do sometimes laugh out loud when I get emails with BIG NOSE in the subject line. I hear a sitcom-style mafia guy saying, “Hey, you, you with the big nose. You’ve got an email.”

I love my cover! The brilliant, amazing, beautiful, talented, charming, and artistic Carol Chu of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt designed it. I love the way the Barbie serves as a metaphor for the perfection my main character seeks. I also think the spine is so cute! (My name covers the Barbie’s nose.) I like the colors used too. I did not have input on the cover, which is a good thing since I have trouble figuring out what color to paint my walls and I need a lot of saleslady help when I buy clothes.

I also love having my own Barbie at last! My feminist mother refused to purchase Barbie dolls. I played with the dorky Sunshine Family who had big feet, flat chests, and drove a hippie van so they could sell macramé owls at craft fairs or something. I haven’t bought my book any outfits yet, but I am thinking I might get it that cool pink convertible...


Thanks Sydney!


Good? Bad? Ugly? I don't care as long as you tell me!

(P.S. You might have to double click.)