I have a question of great importance that I thought I should share with you today.
How important is the title of a book?
You see, working on my WIP this week, I had what I thought was an epiphany regarding the title. The working title is currently THIS SHADOW LIFE, which is okay, but I’m not overly attached to it. Now, not being terribly attached to a WIP title isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It isn’t unusual for publishers to change a novel’s title before publication, so maybe a lack of attachment is a good thing. But I do have other works, outlined but not yet started, whose titles I adore, and I’d love to feel that way about Alice’s story. I think she deserves that. It’s a bit like picking a name for your child once they’re two years old – you really want to get it right.
So, this week, while I was editing, a line Alice uses jumped off the page and hit me in the face, did a song and dance, flashed some lights, rang some bells and screamed “pick me”. And it would even connect perfectly to the last line of the synopsis I have written….
THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE AND NOWHERE
…synopsis, plot, character, synopsis (sorry, no spoilers today!), blah, blah blah…
Told in alternating narratives, this is the story of the battle between holding on and letting go and true happiness lying somewhere in the middle.
Perfect. *dusts off hands* I was so excited. Then I shared my amazing new title with my sister (one of my beta readers), and…
She hates it!
Bam – ouch!
Given that none of you have read the novel or even an extract from it, it’s hard for you to judge, I guess. But it does beg the question – excluding personal deal breakers (for me, for example, if the ‘c’ word were in a title, or it was clearly a subject I had no interest in)…
Does a title influence your decision to pick a book up off the shelf?
Sometimes, when books are published in foreign territories, their titles are changed. This could be for language reasons – it simply doesn’t translate; or cultural reasons – a reference that wouldn’t be understood. But, even between Australia, US and UK, titles can change.
Kate Morton’s first novel was published in Australia as
THE SHIFTING FOG, but in the UK as THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON.
While I certainly prefer the OZ title, I don’t dislike the UK version and I’m not sure either would sway me for or against if I knew nothing about Morton and her books.
Santa Montefiore’s THE AFFAIR (UK) was published in the US as PERFECT HAPPINESS.
Is one better than the other???
As for the changes in cover design, well, we’ll chat about that another time (here).
Does it ultimately matter what the novel is called?
Have you ever been influenced, one way or the other, purely because of a title?
Do I trust my gut and ignore my sister? (I’m too scared now to share it with my other beta reader).
Without knowing anything about my WIP except the blurb (here), do you lean toward one title over the other? Or doesn’t it matter?
My burning questions to you this week.