April 14, 2012

Naming Your Baby

I'm inspired by a post from The Romaniacs (don't you love that name? It's a group of romance writers - perfect, right?) about book and character titles, and I'm reminded of the evolution of my title, What More Could You Wish For. Naming your book and your characters is like naming your babies. How do you ever know if it's the right name?
My book's first title was Classmates.com, because it was a story about a woman who reconnects with her high school sweetheart on that website. And, in fact, I actually had reconnected with a high school boyfriend that way. Ah, the inspiration for the story. Just so you know, though, nothing that happens in the book happened in real life. Well...not very much of it.
Anyway, after I finished it (I'm using the term 'finished' loosely since it went through many more drafts) and was trying to find an agent I had the bright idea of contacting Classmates.com to see if they would be interested in co-publishing and promoting it on their website. Brilliant, right? Well, they didn't think so. And they asked me to cease and desist using their name for my title or they would sic their lawyers on me. Well, okay, they didn't put it that way but that was the gist.
So then I changed it to What More Could You Want  which is what Sophie asks Libby when Libby says she's not sure she wants to marry Michael (who was originally Kevin in the first draft).
And then somewhere along the way I changed it to Mr. Right-Enough, which I thought was a memorable and titillating title, although some people thought it sounded like a self-help book. I never thought it described the story but I thought it would draw attention so I self-published it under that title.
Then, when I got the book deal from St. Martin's Press (yay!!!) my editor wanted to change the title. I'm not sure if it was because she didn't like it or if she wanted to differentiate it from the self-published version but I was okay with that. I told her that one of my working titles was What More Could You Want and she liked it. So that's what it became.
But...somewhere along the way it turned into What More Could You Wish For. Why? I don't know. Who changed it? I don't know that either. Was I happy about that? I can't say that I was.
I campaigned for changing it back to What More Could You Want. I lost.
Fortunately the title has grown on me. I would have liked to be in the meeting where it was decided, just to know what the thinking was. In the end, though, I have to defer to the publisher's expertise. They want to sell this book as much as I do and if this title is what will do it, well, alrighty then.

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