The Good News and Bad News of Book Titles
There’s good news and bad news.
The Good News
Twilight Whispers, one of my earliest mainstream novels, is making its debut as an e-Book at the end of this month – on January 30, to be exact. The bad news? I can’t stand the title. I’ve been struggling with it since this book was first published, so many years ago. It’s especially upsetting to hate the title when I love the story inside. Rereading it in anticipation of this digital release, I kept thinking, “Did I actually write this? It’s so good.”
The Bad News
If you’re thinking that surely a writer like me can make her own title stick, think again. The reverse is actually true. A title is a marketing tool, which means that the larger my audience grows, the more my publisher has at stake and the more sway the marketers hold. If the sales force doesn’t like a title, forget it.
This was actually true with my newest, Before and Again. The working title was “Making Up,” but the powers that be didn’t feel that it told enough of what the book is about, and my editor was tasked with suggesting alternatives. She made a list, picked her three favorites, and ran them past the sales force before showing any to me. Thankfully, we all agreed on Before and Again.
Other books of mine where the title was all over the place before we found a winner? The Woman Next Door, Family Tree, and Blueprints. Others of my titles were set from the very start. Sweet Salt Air was that way. This title still sings to me.
Back to Twilight Whispers. My title, which I really liked, was “Blood of the Rich.” I felt it fit the story, which is part family saga, part murder mystery, and part love story. My publisher felt it was too divergent from what the book-buying public expected from me, which is probably precisely why I liked it. Whatever, Twilight Whispers it became.
The “New” News!
I still don’t like the title, but I do love this book. Try it, and let me know what you think.