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.
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.
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.
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….
Or read the blurb here and come up with something completely different in the comments!
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