When you gleefully announce the title of your book, to be met with an immediate and very certain response of ‘I don’t like that’ … from someone you know, is fairly experienced in that department… it can make you sit back and think a smidge.
Now, should the person who said that be reading this, please know that I am recounting this tale with a smile on my face – the tears, upset and deep-seated self-hatred passed with my third gin – and in fact, you did me a favour.
The favour is that I love that title, I love it like a child. In my minds eye, I can see the book cover, the posters, the little photo of me holding my debut as the avatar on my twitter. The twitter account now seen by all the lovely new followers I have as a legitimate, published author. (My mind’s eye is as aspirational as myself) … That title is practically tattooed on my inner soul, so to hear that someone didn’t like it makes me sit back and reflect, because after all – a book title can make all the difference to the sales, particularly for a new author who has no history to rely on. It can inspire the cover design, it can hook a new reader, it can sum up the potential brand you want to develop as a writer. Future book titles may follow a similar theme… it’s vital.
Which is also why publishing houses can change the title the author has given to go with one they feel is stronger, better suits the market or the book. So is it worth me trying to come up with a better title? Are book titles so subjective that you can’t get it right for everyone, is it in fact not worth stressing about given that its likely to change were it ever picked up by a publisher… or an agent… or anyone remotely interested in supporting my aspiration to be a published writer… not to mention the fact that I have only just (about half an hour ago) finished the first, very skeletal draft.
For me, it is. Because it’s tangible. If my book has a title I believe in, it adds some much needed gravitas to my process. I am so depressingly neurotic about my writing that I actually feel that a good title is part way to my making a dent in my ridiculous dream. So, with that in mind, and to celebrate the fact that I have finished the first of what will undoubtedly be many, many drafts, I have decided to share it here. Ok, here goes – you have no idea how this makes me feel…
Glitter Red Shoes and Sky Blue Gingham.
There I said it. It’s out there. That is the title of my second book. Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you wonder what on earth it’s about… but not in a good way? Should you be sufficiently inclined, let me know. If you are not sufficiently inclined, perhaps that is answer enough. Either way, I’m off to celebrate my very tiny milestone with a swim and a peppermint tea.
And to the person who told me they didn’t like the title, thank you. For me, directness (whether it is a word or not) is useful. Always.