You know how they say location is everything for a business? Location, location, location? Well, a good title is EVERYTHING for a good book. Never let anyone tell you different.
Back in 2012, when I first wrote ALLEGEDLY, I had no idea what I wanted my title to be. I also didn’t care too much about it. I assumed people folk to the book because it’s a good story. (Feel free to laugh at me. No, please, go ahead and cackle. I deserve it!)
Before I go too deep into the weeds here, allow me to reveal the original title of my precious work of art, my debut to the world. Ready? Here goes…*clears throat*
Right? See how phenomenally TERRIBLE that title was. But you couldn’t tell me nothing way back when. I thought it was brilliant, marketable, and eye-catching. (Eye-catching, HA! More like an eye-SORE.)
I thought I had it all figured out, so I crafted the perfect query letter with my hideous title and pitched it to agents. I might as well have soaked my manuscript in gasoline and set it on fire. Agencies rejected it the moment it touched their inboxes. After the first twenty-five speed racer rejections, I took a moment to reevaluate my approach. My query letter rocked, the story solid, not one misspelled word in the first ten pages…what’s the problem?
I forwarded it to a fellow author friend for her feedback and she immediately wrote back “WHAT IS THAT TITLE??? You didn’t pitch with that, did you??”
I learned the error of my ways, but was still without a title. I decided to start re-reading the book, thinking I would see a phrase that would spark my imagination. Who would have thought a WORD within the first ten pages would solve all my problems?
There are two lessons to learn here:
- Always re-read your book like a reader, and not like an author. Your title is in there.
- NEVER start pitching a project until you’ve run it by a sound minded friend or author.
But hey, some bad titles DO get published. Check out some of these winners:
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