Tag Archives: publishing

On Writing II: The 15 Stages of Choosing a Book Title

All writers know the extreme pressure of having to choose a book title.  No matter how epic your sci fi fantasy semi-autobiographical post-apocalyptic vampire romance novel may be, if you don’t name it something somewhat catchy, ain’t NOBODY gonna read it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.59.41 AM
Actual title and pseudonym I may have considered at some point

The issue is, choosing a good title is like going to buy a pair of jeans: you think it will be easy and only take thirty minutes, but instead you end up sobbing and berating yourself after hours of fruitless effort.

Don’t believe me?  Well then, I present to you the 15 VERY REAL stages of choosing a book title:

Stage 1:  Finish writing your book and editing your manuscript.  Write down the first title that comes to mind – it’s perfect, and cute, and catchy, and everyone will like it! Now on to the query letter…

Stage 2: As you’re about to send out your polished query letter, decide to Google your chosen title just to make sure no one else (or very few others) have used it before.  You’re sure that all will be well because you’re so clever and original and definitely the only person who’s ever thought of this adorable turn of phrase, but better safe than sorry!

Stage 3: FOUR MILLION OTHER BOOKS HAVE THIS TITLE OMFG ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME.

Stage 4: Cry.

Stage 5: Spend hours scribbling possible titles on scraps of paper, hate all of them.

Ughhhh
Ughhhh

Stage 6: Find a title you don’t completely hate and yell “MWAHAHAHAH TITLE GODS I DEFY YOU!” while shaking your fist in the air.

Stage 7: Send out queries with new title, get agent*.  Agent reads MS and is like, “Overall pretty good; change these things, and also the title sucks.”

Stage 8: Cry.

Stage 9: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by meticulously addressing all of agent’s edits.

Stage 10: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by knitting.

Stage 11: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by cleaning out your closet.

Stage 12: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by drinking.

Stage 13: After fortifying yourself with alcohol, go back to your scribbles, scribble more title ideas. Cry.

Stage 14: After like 12 back and forth emails with agent, finally choose a new title.  Agent submits MS to editors.

Stage 15: Wait and resign yourself to the likelihood that if your book is sold that the publisher will immediately want you to change the title.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

AND SO THE WAITING HAS BEGUN.  MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ALL MY WRITER PEEPS OUT THERE!

*Of course, getting an agent takes a while, but that’s an entirely different post.  My agent is Sharon and she is great and despite the snark in this post I am very grateful that she told me to think up new titles because my original ones did, indeed, suck. ❤  

Writing Update – I Am This Dog

So anyone who has been reading my blog is aware that earlier this year I wrote a book.  It’s a memoir about my time as a chicken farmer in Kansas.  Ok, so that’s a lie, but it is an actual novel, with words and sentences and characters and stuff, and after writing it I was like, “Huh, I think this is ok.  I will try to get it published!”

Then I went online to learn about publishing, and cried because all the articles said, “Oh, you want to get published?  Never going to happen – HAHAHA #BYEFELICIA!”  And then I was like, well, screw this, I’m gonna try to get a literary agent anyways because I HAVE DREAMS.

I started querying (if you don’t know what that is, thank your lucky stars and move on with your life) and I was this dog:

I was this dog but less adorable.
I was this dog but less adorable.  And I didn’t wear a tie.

Publishing is a crazy business, and the more I queried and the more I read about queries online, the more I needed wine and a nap.  Then, something miraculous happened – I was referred to a couple of wonderful agencies, and they read my book and wanted to represent me!  When I was given this information, I was this guy:

canttellifserious

It turns out they were serious, and I said, “Are you aware that I’m a dog who has no idea what she’s doing?”  I actually only said that in my brain; outwardly, I pretended like I was confident and also that I am a professional human non-canine who knows things.  It was only 20% totally awkward.

Then I had to decide, and I was like, THIS IS AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES (FYI: it took me four tries typing “embarrassment” before I got it right; thanks, spellcheck.  Yep, I’m a writer.).  And then I decided, and now I have an agent, and she is wonderful!  I’ve signed with Sharon Pelletier of DGLM, and she’s fantastic and funny and gets my book, but now I’m worried she’s going to see this blog and ask, why did I sign on to represent a dog who has no idea what she’s doing and also lacks opposable thumbs?

I don’t know, Sharon, but you’re stuck with me now.  Sorry!

So that’s my writing update.  As you might be able to tell, I’m pretty psyched.  I’m also scared, because I’m a dog who has no idea what she’s doing.  But honestly, aren’t we all that dog at some point in our lives?  I think that’s the moral of this blog post, and maybe the Bible, too.  Peace!

P.S. A completely unrelated shoutout – Happy 30th Birthday to my girl T of Tears. Sweat. Sea.  WE ARE GOING OUT TONIGHT!  I know I’m a dog, but I can still drink wine, I promise.