Carol E Wyer on an amusing look titling you book…Fifty Shades of Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code!
Only recently did I discover the true importance of your book title. I don’t know about other authors but I agonised over the title of my first novel which had a working title of A Twinkle in your Wrinkle. I changed that to Facing 50 with Humour, after my blog and indeed the blog that Amanda Wilson, my main character, is supposed to write.
I didn’t like either and when I wasn’t writing or thinking about the plot, I mused over the title. I believed that eventually a light would go on in my head before I submitted the final piece. Alas! Not so much as a dim flicker and 124,000 words later I still had no title I liked.
I asked my husband who came up with the brainwave Fifty Not Out. On the basis that that particular title sounded as if it belonged to a cricket manual, I discounted it. Three sleepless nights later I had a list of possible titles: High Heels and Hot Flushes, Tick Tock, Amanda Wilson’s Secret Blog and Adventures in Blogland among others. (Okay, the last two were really desperate.) I asked the many followers of my blog to vote for their favourite. Opinions were so divided that I was not much further forward although I had narrowed it down to five possible titles.
I took the five titles onto the streets of
Solihull where I asked women who were shopping which was their favourite. Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines very quickly became a popular choice. I was happy. Even Hubby approved. He liked the play on the words ‘laughter lines’. After a long afternoon and many weeks of anguish I finally had my title.
Earlier this month I was launched my latest novel, Surfing in Stilettos. One lady in the audience who read Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines has written to me several times since finishing the book. She loved it. She enjoyed it so much that she made sure all her friends read it and brought them along to the launch of the new book. She has sent the most wonderful emails to me thanking me for giving her such a good laugh and for making her realise there are so many other women who go through the same emotions as her and who feel the same way she does about getting older.
During the question and answer session though, she threw me. She asked how I decided upon titles for my books. I explained and she duly nodded. She then told me that had the book not been highly recommended to her, she would never have picked it up. The title would have put her off. She felt it was too chick-lit for the actual novel. She felt it didn’t do the book justice.
Now, I must add here that this lady has been a wonderful fan and very generous with her praise and support. I took her comment seriously. I thought long and hard about what she had said. It made me realise that how we chose our titles has far more significance than maybe we realise. If I had named my novel differently would I now be in the South of France aboard my new yacht, sipping champagne and enjoying the fruits of my hard work?
How should we choose the titles of our books? I don’t know yet but between you and me I have changed the title of my next novel. I thought I might call it Fifty Shades of Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code- or maybe The Twilight Woman with a Dragon Tattoo and a Gruffalo. What do you think?
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