Titles are a sneaky business. I bet most readers don't know that oftentimes, titles start out VERY boring. For instance, if we're brainstorming a book concept at Capstone, we'll often pick out one word to describe said book and refer to the book as that throughout it's lifetime, even after it's been published under a different (and much better) title.
Our books can start out with a name as simple as Basketball, and over time (if we're lucky) they morph into something more catchy, like Point Guard Prank. Other times, authors will submit title ideas with their manuscripts, and for various reasons, those suggested titles sometimes won't work for the market they're meant to go into (of course, sometimes these titles DO work, and that's fantastic). Still other times, an editor works with the author to come up with a title idea, the editor proposes the title to the marketing, product planning, and sales teams, and a new title is requested.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about titles. We're working on getting titles ready for approval for our Fall 2016 season — can you believe it?! — and I'll admit, I'm not super creative when it comes to book titles. I tend to gravitate toward alliteration, which can only get you so far. This week, as I was racking my brain to think up clever book titles, I came across these two articles in Mental Floss. It got me thinking about the terrible titles I've come up with, and how coworkers and authors have set me straight. See below for examples (in bold are the actual titles!).
The Cackle in the Night — The Grin in the Dark
Ice Rink Burnout — Slap-Shot Slump
Center Mentor — Hoop Hustle
The Final Act of the Opera — The Soprano’s Last Song
I asked coworkers to share as well, and one brave volunteer, senior editor Krissy Mohn, shared the following.
Fractions — Half You Heard of Fractions?
Skip Counting — 2, 4, Skip Count Some More
Probability — Give Probability a Chance!
Estimation — Can you Guess What Estimation Is?
This also got me thinking about what book titles are my favorites. I immediately thought of Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (I'm a sucker for one-syllable nouns), White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. What are YOUR favorite book titles? With any luck, they'll give me some much-needed inspiration.
— Eliza Leahy, Associate Editor