Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hasta la vista, Affleck!

The title of my book has been A Happy Armageddon for as long as I can remember. I like it. Even though Ben Affleck almost ruined it for me and The Guardian sort of made fun of it, I think it still works. I like the sounds of the words together and how they look on paper. Most importantly, the title makes sense given the plot -- it warns the reader of the bad inside while leaving hope for the good. So I'm sad that I have to change this title. But I think it's best we go our separate ways.

Over the past few years, I've submitted my book -- as A Happy Armageddon -- to agents and publishers, and those agents and publishers rejected it. And for good reason: my book was bad. Since then, my book has been completely re-written and over a year has passed. But time alone does not heal. To even stand a chance with any of these agents and publishers again, my new book will require a new title, too.

Some writers believe a title cannot be judged until a book is read, but I don't think that's true at all. In fact, when I'm in one of my impulse-shopping moods, I regularly buy books based on the title alone.

It's no easy feat to name a novel and -- as that Guardian article hilariously demonstrates -- marketing, unfortunately, must be taken into consideration. So here are the titles I have going right now (+ my current self-published cover design fantasy). Which book would you be more likely to pick up in a book shop?

my former favourite (red spellcheck squiggle included)

my current favourite

I sure hope you read that article...

(And yes, I know my name is up here now.)


  1. Although I like all of them, I'm going to have to vote for The Persimmon Gatherers by process of elimination:

    The first one sounds like she's racist.

    The second one begs many sexually-themed jokes, even though not many of them would make a whole lot of sense.

    Then again, those may be reasons to vote FOR the first two. I'd pick up a book that hinted at blatant racism, especially if the "her" it was referring to is the little white dog.

    And I'm glad your name is up now. Of course, this means I'll be calling you "Id" in person now.

  2. Matt: My sarcasm radar is in the shop so I have no idea if that was a serious response. Since you chose the fake title from The Guardian article, however, I'd like to encourage other visitors to this blog to join in on this conversation. I'm looking for some real advice here, people!

  3. OMG, I didn't even see that...
    I have no idea if I was being sarcastic or not - sort of half and half? More of a stream of consciousness typing than anything.

    However, independent of the stupidity of my previous choice, I have to say that overnight "Her Problem With Colour" kinda seriously grew on me.

  4. Matt: The fact that you picked "The Persimmon Gatherers" is very telling, not stupid at all. It proves that the author of that article is 100% right, which is kinda freaky.

  5. How about "The Weather Inside" rather than "The Weather Insider Her"?

    Eagerly awaiting Amanda's professional advice on this...and LOLing at Matt's always-hilarious commentary:)

  6. I love "The Weather Inside Her." This IS the kind of book I'd pick up because of a title. I am also a sucker for books that have a big red anything on the cover. Maybe that's why I had a fire hydrant in my orignal plan for a cover:
    Interesting article!

  7. Tara: I love red on covers, too. (Front doors as well.) Glad you like that title.

  8. Alana: Hmmm... Good idea. Less is more, right? The "her" may be giving away too much., actually.

  9. Hi Emily:
    Congratulations on putting out your name and a new book title & working cover -- great moves. The Weather Inside Her, grabs my attention most and I wonder if the weather is a metaphor for something significant in the story. My un-scientific analysis seems to indicate that readers gravitate towards titles with three works, so it might be worth thinking about shortening the title to "The Weather Inside" (as was suggested above). That would also be intriguing but with other connotations (ie. my mind starts thinking of weather metaphors relating to shelter and safety rather than emotions; but this leaves open the door to both).

  10. Hi Evadne: thanks for your opinion! Very helpful. I'm certainly leaning towards The Weather Inside these days. Making a mock cover is so much fun, isn't it? It really makes the whole first-book-writing process feel more real.