Recipe for a Book Title– Part 1 of 2

My new book -due out in the Spring of 2016 has a title! Woot woot! And yes you’re going to have to read this whole thing to find out what it is -or work your scroll finger.

Titles and covers are two things that authors get asked a lot about and coincidentally often have very little control over. As a seasoned second time author I knew to expect some haggle and finagling over my title. I actually wasn’t strongly attached to my working title of Wireman which was simply my main character’s last name. I knew it wasn’t super catchy but I liked that it was also a play on the fact that my main character is hearing impaired and wears hearing aids that make him feel like a cyborg.

My new editor at Carolrhoda Lab, Alix Reid, made a good suggestion that I was willing to go with, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up the search. I went back to the same process I used when trying to rename Go West into The Other Way Around. I did a thorough rereading of the manuscript (that’s such a funny word -it makes me think of quill pens and ruffled collar shirts) hunting for words and phrases that might have deeper meaning and also sound cool and somewhat catchy. It’s not easy.  And it’s really hard to stay out of cliche territory.

I made a long list of everything that sounded remotely good –which meant some of it was very bad. Then I narrowed that list down to about 20 options which I shared first with my agent, Lauren, and a few trusted friends. These vetting processes are important -such as the time I thought Veg-jerky would be a great name for a dehydrated tofu product until a good friend pointed out that it sounded a lot like Vag(ina)-jerky. I don’t know what that would be but I don’t think it would sell well.

The list I sent to my editor included fewer than 10 potential titles with the ones Lauren and I liked best highlighted. From that Alix was able to eliminate the more theatrical and too commonplace ideas and pick a winner……..

So without further ado the new book is called….

WIRED MAN AND OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE

It’s weird and quirky without being too sci-fi (which would be fine except the book is not science fiction) and it includes the word freak –which is important to the story in a number of ways. I’m quite pleased by the collaborative nature of this whole process. I think publishing is at its best when the people who care about the book the most are able to listen to one another and build off each other’s ideas.

In honor of this new title I asked a few writer friends to tell tales about the titling of their books. Stay tuned that post is coming next week.

 

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