Recipe for a Book Title — Part 2

As promised -a follow up to last week’s post about the new title for my 2016 release:

WIRED MAN AND OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE

I asked a few writer friends to weigh in on their own process in arriving at a title. Here’s what they said:

Dead girls“My original working title was Legacy which I knew would never make it to print–too generic, too dull, etc. I just could never come up with anything that seemed quite right. When it came time to submit, Lauren (agent) came up with Poor Little Dead Girls as a catchier option, and it stuck. I love that it’s memorable, and it fits the tone of the book, but I do get some weird looks when I casually bring it up in conversation.” – Lizzie Carlson Friend

 

EmptyTHE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY was ILLEGAL the whole time I was writing it, pitching it and imagining it on a shelf.  About two months after I sold it, my editor casually said, “Oh, you know we can’t call it ILLEGAL, right?  There’s already a novel out with that title.”  I thought it was the worst thing that ever happened.  But now I love my title so much I couldn’t imagine it being anything else.” –Maria Andreu*

*Side note: Maria has one of the best author websites around! Check it out!!
SandV“My working title of SEX & VIOLENCE was the more benign and enigmatic THE CUPCAKE LADY OF TACOMA.This was not a title my editor could live with and I couldn’t think of anything better so when he took the book to acquisitions, he used the eye-catching title SEX & VIOLENCE. I wasn’t thrilled with this title; I thought it too blunt and also too in your face for my nice little book about lake cabin summer adventures. Even as we worked on it, I couldn’t think of anything better and after a bit, it just grew on me. Then the Meghan Cox Gurdon article happened in the WSJ and I said to my editor, what the hell, let’s just call it SEX & VIOLENCE, bc that’s what we’re being accused of writing about anyway. It still is a strange title to stand behind, though. I always feel a bit sheepish.
I should be making up better working titles for future books, but all the rest of them had no title as we were working on them. It’s kind of the worst part about the process, in some ways. I wonder if not really knowing what your story is about until you edit it and revise it several times plays into this weirdness, because that has been the case with me in all subsequent books, including the 4th one I just handed in.” – Carrie Mesrobian
MurkFrenzy was always Frenzy. Editorial agreed it was a perfect fit for my first book.
The Murk, which came out a couple weeks ago, was originally titled Mergo, a Latin word meaning I drown, I bury, I overwhelm. It’s also the name of the mysterious creature/antagonist of the book. I still prefer it to The Murk, but the editorial team thought Mergo was too vague for an MG book, and they were probably right. The Murk was my suggestion too, so I’m happy that I was able to have some say in the end.” —Robert Lettrick

 

I had so many great responses to my question I needed to divide them into two posts. The next installment coming next week…

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One thought on “Recipe for a Book Title — Part 2

  1. Pingback: Peek behind the curtain - Maria E. Andreu - | Maria E. Andreu –

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