Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's in a Name?

Good news. We have a title for the first book in my new series. As many of you recall, in addition to the Accidental Demon Slayer series, I'm going to be writing separate books about a paranormal M*A*S*H unit.

When I sold the new series to St. Martin's, I'd titled it The Monster MASH. I thought that was pretty fun - and yes, I have a weakness for campy 1960's monster songs. My editor loved the book, but thought the title could use more of a sexy tone. She asked me what else we could do.

I had to think about that. Usually, the title just comes as I write. I'd done only one other title brainstorm and that was for The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. The original title for that book was A Girl's Guide to Demon Slaying. And it was an easy switch. We did it in a phone call. Dangerous Book was my second idea, really.

So how hard could it be to re-title the MASH series?

I came back with some more funny titles, like The Truth About Cats and Demi-Gods, and In Stitches. Not sexy enough, my editor said. Okay, so that was true. Hmm...I opened it up to readers, who came up with a lot of the same things I did. "Almost," my editor said to a few of them. That's when I truly realized there's an art to this title business. It's not just about what happens to be amusing or funny at the time.

I was also starting to get a bit desperate. I considered adding a slew of vampires so I could name it Undead...anything. (Just kidding - sort of.) We needed to name this puppy.

Luckily, St. Martin's came back with a title with the word Immortal in it. I thought it was good, and my agent had an idea that everyone liked even better. So now we have a title: Immortally Yours.

Whew. Before I was in this business, I never knew what went into a book title. I still didn't until we had one that didn't quite fit. And that's the great thing about having an editor and a publishing house behind you - everyone keeps working until we have something that fits well and that everyone likes.

Never again will I take an easy title for granted, or an editor that is willing to sift through all kinds of crazy ideas until we find "the one." Thanks again to everyone who offered ideas during the great title hunt.

The second book won't be this hard, will it? Wait. Let's not think about that just yet...

2 comments:

Brandy said...

Since a title is what sometimes catches my eye, may I say I am grateful that so much hard work is usually put into picking one?

Zita said...

I like it. When can we read it?