I’m thinking about titles this week because I just got word that the title of one of my books is going to be changed. I know that happens but it hadn’t yet happened to me. So I’m looking at the new title out of the corner of my eye, turning it over on my tongue. Getting used to it. It’s an odd feeling. It still feels a little other.
Titles are important. That’s why editors and sales departments spend a lot of time thinking about them. They’re like a book’s name–how a book is known to the world. Even if you haven’t read a book, you might know its title. Does the title make you pick up a book? Or pass it over for the next one?
I’m also wondering. Why is it that in writing sometimes the title comes before the book? And other times a book arrives completely lacking a title? I have whole lists of funny titles waiting for books that I haven’t written yet. I will go to great lengths to create a story for a title that I think is particularly clever. Yet other times, I can write an entire novel (twice) with no other title in mind except “that Augusta book.”
What do you think? Are titles something you struggle with? Or are they the best part? Are there books that you loved first just for the title?
Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.
She is the author of the picture books, Instructions for Bedtime (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)
You can visit her online at http://mylisalarsen.com