Sunday, January 29, 2012

Love the book, hate the title. Find another one.

I responded to a @HuffPostBooks piece, written by Randy Susan Meyers, about finding book titles that work.  The information on Huffington Post was very helpful and interesting, and I thought I’d share my response on this blog.

I had a title change just over a year ago, when my sixth YA fiction title "Aiden's Arrival: Honor Before Gold" gained the three extra words. It was likely a good idea, but at least it kept my original working title of Aiden's Arrival.

Now, I've just been going through this title problem again.  I received unasked-for feedback on a title for a book to be published in March.  The refrain, "Love the book, hate the title. Find another one," sounds just like what I heard.  At first, I resisted.  Strongly.  Very strongly. 

The working title for my new YA fiction book was important to me, as it identified the book better as the first of a series.  With one book completed and the second of four nearly written, I was certain that "Prince David, Book 1: Enter the Heir" was right.  However, after a great deal of discussion and convincing on the part of my editing team, I finally agreed that "Zac and the Reluctant Prince (Book 1 of the Prince David series)" was a better choice.  The outcome of that choice remains to be seen, of course, and I am gradually coming to terms with the new title.  After living with the working title for so long, learning to like the new one will take some time.

I think the lesson here is that it often takes a detached expert view to help us authors see the faults in our books, our titles, and our covers. We need to accept the suggestions, see the light, and accept what will help our books reach the most readers.  In the end, though, we'll never know until we see how it does (or doesn't).

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