And then, weeks later, months later, even years later if the journey to getting published takes many less-than-successful roads, does the title still feel right, does it fit your novel like a child's name fits him or her? Ooooh, lucky you. I've written two novels, and started a third, but only one is thisclose to being ready to self-publish, and I love the name as much now as I did at the very moment it struck me like a thunderbolt, more years ago than I care to think about. That sounds great, right? The name must be absolutely perfect, to still have a warm & fuzzy place in my heart after all this time. I thought so, too. Until maybe a week ago when I started working on a blog post about the only *BIG* rejection I ever received -- a couple of short letters I received from the head of a major literary agency (Yes, the head and founder of the agency, woohoo!). I decided against posting it -- didn't even quite finish it, in fact -- because it was turning too personal and too long and I wasn't sure how much detail I wanted to go into, or exactly where it was going. But I started that post because I came across the old letters themselves, and reread them. Ok, reread them about 147 times. They're still as thrilling and confusing and depressing and thrilling again as they were when I first opened the envelopes. And there it was, in black and white, my novel's TITLE, being mentioned by Mr. Cool-Head-Of-An-Agency. And the realization hit me: I gotta change that title.
I still love it. LOVE IT. Every thought I've had about my novel over the months and years have had that name imprinted on it in big, bold letters in my head. That book is my "baby," and that's her name. It's hers. It's perfect. It's ...
Seeing the title printed in that letter made me, for the first time, truly see it as it would be printed on a book cover, but this time I saw it through the eyes of someone else -- someone standing in a bookstore, scanning covers, trying to decide what to buy. And if they don't like westerns, I'm screwed. No, I did not write a western. It's a crime/thriller set in modern-day, in a small town. But for the first time, I realized that the title SOUNDS like a western. Images popped into my head of bronco-busting and cattle drives and saddles. Need I mention that my novel contains none of those things?
Oh yeah, gotta change that title. I need something modern, suspenseful, dark & foreboding, exhilarating, crime-thrillerish ...
Wish me luck.