Title Search

I just read that the Stieg Larrson series has sold 40 million copies worldwide. Amazing, isn’t it? And so encouraging! People still are reading books after all – lots of them. I also learned that the book that started it all, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was originally called Men Who Hate Women. Glad they dumped that one! The Girl is a great read, but it’s not a stretch to think that the earlier title would have sunk the book like a stone — and sandbagged the whole series.

This led me to reflect on titles again (see my post, “Whynot, Mississippi” ) – and to think about naming my book, Birthing the Elephant. During the draft stage, we went through a ton of ideas. Key contenders: “Women Who Launch” and “A Business of Her own.” Lackluster, I admit. But when the publisher emailed an idea from one of its sales staff: Birthing the Elephant, I practically fell off my seat.

Luckily, my Aunt Sandy was visiting me. A lot like Mrs. Claus, she’s cheerful and upbeat. I asked her opinion. “I like it!” she said in her bubbly way. “Starting a business is tough – I get it. And people love elephants!” That warmed me up a bit. Then I walked over to Watchung Booksellers, my local bookstore, and consulted Margot, the owner. There’s “A Business of Her Own” and then there’s this way-out title, “Birthing the Elephant,” I told her. Her take: “I can see people coming into the store and asking for that elephant book about starting a business. It’s memorable!” Later, I had the smarts to call my friend Katie, who’s a brand strategist. “Birthing the Elephant – that’s a branding goldmine. That’s definitely the one to go with!” she said with comforting conviction.

Fortunately, everyone else’s advice prevailed, because Birthing the Elephant turned out to be a winner. Entrepreneurs love it and so does the media: it’s an attention getter – and that’s what a title should be.

Any title stories you can share – disastrous, inspired, or otherwise?

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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