Titles matter


Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn.

I had the perfect — perrrrrfect— title for my next book about my and B.’s big backpacking trip in 2002. You know, the one with the 9 cities, 4 continents, 2 backpacks, and 1 very weird romance. Anyway, it came to me a couple of years ago, and I couldn’t wait to use it.


You know where this is going, right? A book’s just been published with just that title. And it’s a memoir.


I kick myself and think, Should I have gone ahead and written that book first, instead of this unwieldy war novel? I mean, it’s not like World War II can be changed or anything. People will be writing about that war for another thousand years.

Oh well. My only consolation is that titles can’t be copyrighted, so I can still use it. (I should’ve known it was too good to be true when I did a book title search when I first thought of it and nothing came up. Apparently it is true that there’s truly nothing original under the sun.) It’ll take me another 4-5 years before that one’s completed anyway, the way this current manuscript is going. By then maybe this new book will be pulp. (Mean, I know, but I’m not happy!)

3 thoughts on “Titles matter

  1. So, what’s the title? I might want to use it for mine. 😉I wonder though: can a title be changed more easily than the names of characters? Once you’ve given them a name, you cannot change them, it would feel <>wrong<> somehow.

  2. Don’t get too attached to a title. Once you’re published, your editor will probably ask you to change it.

  3. Dear <>Randal<>, ha! I’m on to you. You wouldn’t have liked it. It’s not actually a title I can see you using. But ohhhh, it was perfect for mine.You know, you might be on to something there. Titles have to grab a person browsing at the bookstore, so we tend to put a lot of weight on their meaning. It might take me another 5-6 years to find a really good one. As it is, although I’m well into this war novel already, I’ve yet to really find a good title, and that’s after 2 solid years of thinking about it.Dear <>PBW<>, you’re probably right. I’ve heard enough stories about authors clinging to precious titles, only to have the publisher do the switcheroo on her, depending on what the marketing/PR people said. I know it’s happened to me several times on some of my published articles.Oh well, back to the drawing board.Cheers,Marjorie

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