Title Turmoil

peanuts The...Ages ago I had a mini meltdown about the title of my current ms and I did a little poll here, to gauge how you all felt. Well that poll gave me a 50:50 result, so I stuck with my original title This Shadow Life and let it go, because I figured if/when I got a publisher, they’d change the title anyway, so it didn’t really matter what I slapped on the top of my ms, because it was inconsequential anyway.


Apparently it does matter. I was at a seminar recently with Harper Collins and one of the many interesting things discussed was how important a title is. They talked about how most of the biggest sellers in recent times had either the word ‘Girl’ in the title (Gone Girl, Girl on a Train etc), or ‘Secret’ (The Husband’s Secret). It became a bit of a running joke throughout the morning and by the end of it we were laughing at trying to meld girl and secret and husband/daughter etc into the one title. ‘The Girl’s Husband’s Secret Daughter’. All jokes aside, though, they did make a point of how important the title was, even at the querying stage. Yes. Even at the querying stage. What? Really? But I had the complete opposite belief. Okay then. It’s just a title and mine is ok.

Don’t panic.

Each of the attendees got some one-on-one time with a publisher from Harper Collins at the end of the day, and guess what? My publisher didn’t like my title! At all! Okay then.

Mild panic.

But that’s ok. That’s one person’s opinion and I still wondered if it was really true – Did a title really have an impact at the querying stage? Come on. It’s only the querying stage, right? Then, a few days later I read an interview with one of the UKs top literary agents and guess what he said? The title absolutely, without doubt, can make a difference at the querying stage.

Massive panic!!!!

One publisher doesn’t like my title, so obviously none of them will, and I’m not overly attached to it anyway, so I should change my title, but what do I change it to, nothing else is coming to mind, what if my title is the difference between getting published or not, what a silly thing that could be so easily fixed, but why can’t I fix it, why can’t I think of a good title, is this the end of my writing career before it’s even begun, surely I can think of a suitable title, why is my brain empty, it’s just a title, won’t my writing stand out in the query trenches and they’ll forgive my title, but that’s two industry bigwigs now saying how important it is, if that’s not the universe telling me something I don’t know what is, oh why can’t I think of a good title…

Fall to the floor and rock in the foetal position.

So here I am people. With another title dilemma. And what better way to solve my dilemma than with another poll. It worked so well for me last time, right? Blind optimism says this time it will. Vote people and save me from a fatal query-trench mistake….Peanuts help

Or read the blurb here and come up with something completely different in the comments!peanuts advice


Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-oct-2015

9 thoughts on “Title Turmoil

  1. Cassandra Piat

    You poor thing! I can so sympathise with you because I’m in the same mess as you 😦 I just can’t find a title for my second book and it’s driving me crazy!! I like your idea of putting up the blurb and seeing if anyone offers some good ideas – I might try that too 🙂 Will have a look at your blurb and see if I’m inspired but right now my computer is playing up – again – so I’ll just send this message for now 🙂 Good luck with that and really hope you’ll soon find just the perfect title!

  2. Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie

    Okay, so. At the time of my voting, This Shadow Life hasn’t received any votes. How crazy is that? Perhaps your instincts about your title is proving correct and the hunt for a new title justified? By the way, I adore the paragraph that follows “Massive Panic!!!!” The way your sentences run on and on through your concerns is EXACTLY how I think. I was right there with you!

    I voted for Of Cupcakes and Dandelions but had to pause a few minutes to consider The Kookaburra Creek Cafe. Of Cupcakes and Dandelions implies (to me) a sense of thematic emotion and contemplation whereas The Kookaburra Creek Cafe has a strong sense of place.

    When I read Dandelion Secrets, I thought: Do Dandelions have secrets?

  3. meredithgschorr

    I voted for Of Cupcakes and Dandelions without even knowing what the story is about – the title makes me want to know what the story is about. That, to me, is a sign of a great title 🙂

  4. Krystal Jane

    Very interesting!
    Good to know my title stress is worth it then. 🙂

    I have a tendency to pick titles no one gets. I actually had a few people tell me last year to change my title! I didn’t. Lol! I loved it, but yikes!

    I hope things are going well!! I know you’ve changed the title already, but I voted anyway. ^_^ I hope querying is going well!!

  5. lolshelley

    I know this poll is done and dusted but just wanted to say that even Ella said ‘How cute is the title ‘Of Cupcakes & Dandelions.’ I think it’s the visual imagery it evokes, fun and carefree. To me cupcakes remind me of my childhood (even though, trust me, I eat them now too:-)) as do dandelions (who doesn’t remember making a dandelion chain at school during lunch breaks??). Shell.x


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