Posts Tagged ‘book titles’

Title Trouble

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I really need a working title before I start a novel. I’m on the verge of beginning the first draft of a new book, so I was thrilled when I hit upon a perfect title, one that I thought was unique and expressed not only the mood of the novel but exactly what the story is about. (Sorry, but I’m not going to share it with you, as I’m trying to keep my new story idea under wraps.)

Imagine my disappointment when I was browsing blogs the other day and came across mention of an upcoming YA novel with the same title!

This isn’t the first time I’ve had title trouble. My novel FLYAWAY was originally titled BROKEN WINGS, but my publisher asked me to change it because another book had surfaced with the same title. Even though the other book is a paranormal about “dark angels” and mine is a contemporary about a girl’s relationship to her meth-addicted mom, they felt the title duplication would be problematic.


The publisher’s initial suggestion for a new title was FLUTTER, which I honestly wasn’t crazy about. So I was actually relieved when a MG novel called FLUTTER showed up and ruined that plan.


We finally decided on the title FLYAWAY, which I’ve come to love, even though several other books of the same title have released fairly recently, including one by renowned author Lucy Christopher.


So now my dilemma is whether to come up with a new working title or to keep it for now, knowing that the publisher will eventually make me change it anyway.

What do you think? Should I change my title or go with it, at least for now? Have you ever had an experience with title duplication? How did you deal with it?


Facebook: a writer’s best friend

Friday, July 6th, 2012

I’m not ashamed to say it: I love Facebook. Not everyone does, and I understand that. But Facebook has done so much more for me than reconnect me with long lost cousins, high school buddies, and old boyfriends. I think of Facebook as a tool for my writing life, and not just because I can check out my favorite authors’ pages or friend agents and editors. The most useful aspect of Facebook for my writing, I’ve found, is the ability to poll friends and get expert opinions.

Here’s an example of one way I’ve used polling: When my editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt told me that my novel needed a new title, I asked my Facebook friends, in the form of a status update, what they’d suggest as a title for a Young Adult novel that dealt with both crystal meth addiction and bird rescue. Dozens of friends commented with title suggestions, some of them great and some of them not-so-great. Even though the title we eventually chose, FLYAWAY, came from another source, I was glad to have a chance to involve my Facebook friends in the process. Hopefully, it gave them more of a sense of collaboration with me and more of a stake in the book.

Recently, I put out this request, again in the form of a status update: “Okay, theater friends. Have any of you seen or been in a show where a woman with a leading role has a quick backstage costume change? This is for a scene in a Young Adult novel, so it would have to be a show that could be done at a high school. Any suggestions would be appreciated!” I got a number of great suggestions, along with an invitation to further contact a woman whom I’m sure will be helpful as an expert on the topic I’m writing about.

So if you’re a writer, don’t think of Facebook as just a time-sucking distraction. Next time you need some folks to brainstorm with or give you expert opinions, call on your Facebook friends!


I’ve got title!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

 I’ve been waiting impatiently for my editor at Harcourt to give me the go-ahead to announce the official new title of the book formerly known as BROKEN WINGS. The time has come, and my new title is….


I like it. I like the way it reflects the bird-rescue subplot in my book and the way it evokes escape. I like that it’s a little quirky and unusual just like Stevie, my main character. I even like the angularity of the letters and the fact that it’s one word. I’m hoping the cover designers will do something cool with it!

Thanks to everyone who gave me title suggestions. I loved many of them, but in the end, the decision was made by my editor and the marketing department.

Guess what song’s been playing in my head all day?

Title Trauma

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Okay, "trauma" might be a little strong, but I do love my alliteration. It is strange, though, to be the author of a book without a title. As you probably know, my original title was BROKEN WINGS, but the publishing house decided I needed something stronger. Besides, there were already books with the same title out there, most currently this one, which is about dark angels. Which my book is definitely not.

Just before Christmas, my editor proposed a new title. I won’t give it away in case we end up going with it after all, but I will tell you it had some things going for it. For one, it was short and sweet; one-word titles seem to be "in" these days. For another, it was a verb, which gave the book a sense of movement and action. And last but not least, it was evocative of the content of my story – always a plus, right?

But my editor emailed me today and said that the title I thought was a sure thing is probably a no go. Why? Because there’s another recently-released book out there with the same title, this one about vampires.

There must be some kind of middle ground between angels and vampires. Somewhere out there, there must be a perfect title for me.

Name Game

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

 I just got an email from my editor telling me that the publishing house wants me to come up with a new title for my book. The marketing department thinks  BROKEN WINGS is a little too "expected."

My first reaction, of course, was sheer panic. From the moment I first came up with the idea for my novel, i’ve thought of it as BROKEN WINGS. Asking me to rename it is like asking me to rename my own child.

But I know they’re right. I’ve done Google searches on "Broken Wings" and come up with a number of books that are polar opposites of mine. Like this. And this. I’d rather have a title that no one has seen before, something uniquely my own.

Plus, I know other authors have gone through the new-title thing. My friend and colleague Holly Cupala ending up changing the name of her first novel from THE LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT to the infinitely more evocative TELL ME A SECRET.  And as if one title-changing event wasn’t enough, her upcoming novel has gone from STREET CREED (which I actually think is pretty cool) to DON’T BREATHE A WORD.

I know I’ll come up with a new title for my book and that, in time, I’ll come to love it. But for now, it’s still my baby. I reserve the right, for a little while longer, to think of my novel as BROKEN WINGS.