Pub Rants

A Wealth Of Title Suggestions

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STATUS: You might have guessed but the big day was a large auction unfolding which finally concluded today. Lots of players and more than one day so it’s been hectic here. I’ll probably announce next week so I’ll share more then.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? MY HEART WILL GO ON by Celine Dion

I can’t thank you guys enough. Seriously, this is so very cool that many of you took the time to brainstorm and then share a bunch of different ideas with me. There were some good possible titles in that bunch, and we forwarded them to the editor.

And here’s what I’m going to do. If one of the blog commenter suggestions gets chosen and that person is not currently represented but has a project they would like me to look at, I will (and yes, when I can share the rest of the story and the outcome, I will).

If you are already agented, then all I can do is profusely thank you on the blog since I certainly don’t want your current agent to worry that I’m poaching or doing anything like that!

42 Responses

  1. Cathy in AK said:

    It was enough just to brainstorm and perhaps help out, but now “Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!” is running through my head like Chihuahua on speed.

    Either way, it was fun : )

  2. Allen B. Ogey said:

    That exact thought of a partial review as a prize had ocurred to me, but I thought that as a commenter on the blog it wasn’t my place to suggest it.

    Now I feel like someone has handed me a raffle ticket.

    Thanks, Kristen, you’re a good sport.

  3. Jeannie Ruesch said:

    Glad we could help. I hope the author, you and the editor are able to come to terms with a title you love. 🙂

    I look forward to hearing what the final title ends up as!

  4. Kate Messner said:

    I didn’t suggest a title, but I do want to say thanks for posting about this, Kristen. I’m in the process of brainstorming with my agent right now for a new title before we start subbing my MG novel. Your title discussions — particularly the first one with the steps you went through in brainstorming — helped me immensely. Thanks!!

  5. Starstruck said:

    Gah, don’t pick mine, none of my projects are finished! Talk about a lost opportunity…sigh.

  6. kris amberson said:

    good idea for a game, kristin. we all like games. though I believe the title should come from the writer, or else the book is a mutt rather than purebred.
    I guess it turns out witches are kind of horny, though they aren’t that good in bed from the rumors. I mean they’re cold blooded and easily angered, and that thing about eating children is nasty, so you know, don’t get sexually involved with witches or your’e on the road to destruction.

  7. Diana Peterfreund said:

    though I believe the title should come from the writer, or else the book is a mutt rather than purebred.

    Lotta mutts on those shelves then.

    Like Catch-22. Poor Heller, if only he hadn’t listened to Robert Gottlieb, then we’d have a *real* book on our hands, not that sad shell of a novel whose title was decided on by the editor… 😉

  8. karen wester newton said:

    Wow! Kristin, I tell everyone who’s looking for an agent to try you first because you’re so nice, and then you go and prove me right!

    You know, if you pick someone’s title suggestion and they already have an agent, you could offer the same “title service” for one of their projects. I think it’s a neat idea, myself. And not all agents are as web savvy as you are.

  9. Vicki said:

    Of course I’m hoping and praying mine will be ‘the chosen’ one. However regardless of which one it is this was great fun and I loved reading everyone elses as well.

    Thanks so much for the offer to who ever the winner may be.

    And as far as titles coming strictly from the author of the book? Not so much. More often than not it’s from the editor and/or agent. I learned along time ago to title my work but not to become attached to said title.

    While they may listen to the authors input and once in a while actually love the authors idea, they usually have their own thoughts on what the title should or should not be. And the fun begins with titles tossed back and forth until one lands on the cover of the book. Who knows if it was the authors, the agents, the editors, or a combination of all three.

  10. KMR said:

    Authors and titles?

    Imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald’s TRIMALCHIO IN WEST EGG.

    Now, MY title. It’s obviously perfect.

  11. Chumplet said:

    That’s incredibly sweet of you to offer. If the prize was viewing a partial I’d be in the running, but my two WIPs are incomplete at the moment. It would be nice to see if I’m on the right track, though!

  12. Anonymous said:

    Editors assisted Heller and Fitzgerald– not fellow writers who had no stake in the books. So… what percentage of sales are you asking for if your title is chosen? This isn’t a business where anyone can afford to offer their services for free, and the offer to look at your manuscript sounds ridiculous. Looking at it doesn’t guarantee representation, and you could just as easily get that far by sending a decent query. If Nelson chooses one of the titles written by a poster here, she plans on putting it on a published book. If I was that poster and saw my title on the book and got no credit for it, I would be bitter. You all might think you would react differently, but your mind might change if you saw the book in stores, or saw that it was selling well.

    This might not turn out well, despite the good intentions of both sides.

    I’m not saying this to be cruel to all of you or to Nelson. I just think you all should consider the outcome, and Nelson should consider how the title’s author might react. Like I said in the beginning, Fitzgerald worked with his editor– a person who was already getting a percentage– and this is a different situation.

    I wish you all the best.

  13. Chumplet said:

    I think those of us who offered suggestions went into this venture with open eyes, anon.

    I wouldn’t be bitter. I’d be happy that I helped a fellow writer, even if I never met her.

    We all brainstorm one way or another — with our crit groups, our beta readers and our families. Would we have to give them a cut of the profits if our books sold well. No, we’d offer a dedication and our profuse thanks.

  14. Taaudoloran said:

    I don’t think any poster offered their suggestion with any anticipation of repayment, nor was any hinted at in the original post.

    I am grateful to her for her offer and think it is a might more than most agents would offer.

    Thank you once again to the folks at Nelson for this offer and for your blog.

  15. Mags said:

    Anonymous 11:23 said…
    This isn’t a business where anyone can afford to offer their services for free…

    Oh damn. I’ve been operating under the premise that this isn’t a business where one can afford to pass up the opportunity to be a part of the process when offered.

    I always get that wrong. Crap-oh-damn.

  16. kristin g said:

    A percentage of royalties or payment for a 3-word title suggestion? Goodness, anonymous poster. There are plenty of good title ideas to go around. And I wouldn’t be expected to receive payment for it, if I happened to come up with a good one.

    Now, one thing I wouldn’t have done: give a title that is one *I* want to use! Brainstorming for a few minutes to come up with a title for someone else’s book, which is in no way related to any book I am writing or have written doesn’t harm me in the least. In fact, it was really fun!

  17. Bosephus said:

    I am a professional title writer, and gosh-darn-it I want my royalties! I will gladly take 3/100,000 of any royalties received by the author (if it’s a three word title… I get paid by the word). I insist on being paid in Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum, and if those pieces are not in my mail box within nine months of publication, I’ll sue!!!

    Seriously, though, I kind of agree with the grumpy anon from above. Come on, offering “a look at your project” as a frigging prize? Big for britches, is Kristin… not that big a deal, is having her look at project. Probably worthless, this is. (Thank you, Yoda.) Who wants to help some nameless author fix their problem, just for the shot at getting rejected without all the angst of writing a query?

    That’s just sucking all the fun out of it.

  18. terrence shipley said:

    After perusing many of the offered titles, I must draw the inevitable conclusion that most of the posters here are in fact thirteen year-old girls with extensive collections of both Danielle Steele and Laura Hamilton books. Very tough to read.

    What ever shall the cover art look like, should one of these magnificent titles be chosen? I’m envisioning the classic shot of a woman’s leg, toddling along on a six inch pump, while a well-manicured hand dangles a rosary fixed with an upside-down crucifix against one taut, fishnet-stocking clad thigh. The background is blue, and smoky of course, and there is the shadow of a man coming through the door in the distance- but is it the hero or the villain? Either that or the infamous ass-shot, maybe with the slender hand hiding a stilleto in the small of the Wikka-tattoed back.

    Moby Dick it ain’t. I’d rather name the latest snack cake from Hostess. “Chocolate Desire, with More Fudge!” “Peepoes.” “HoHos Plus.”

  19. Jeannie Ruesch said:

    In this writer’s opinion (one who already has a partial with Kristin), the offer of Kristin to read a manuscript if a blogger’s title is chosen is a very nice “prize” indeed. I know many people who would give up their first born (okay, maybe second born) in order to get their actual manuscript into the hands of an agent…those who have received dozens of rejections.

    Kristin offered up a question for anyone to answer, if they were so inclined and had the time. In response, she’s offering a LOT more of her time in reading a manuscript than the 20 (okay, 30) minutes I spent brainstorming words. I think that’s very generous.

  20. Anonymous said:

    Well, if you add a witch, a hunter and a few paranormal and romantic twists to Moby Dick, who know what that title might have ended up.

  21. ~Nancy said:

    Holy crap, Batman! That’s so awesome. So…what’s the deal? You’ll look at the first 3 chapters of someone’s project? I can’t imagine you have that much extra time to go through more than that.

    Not that I expect it to be me, lol.

  22. ~Nancy said:

    So… what percentage of sales are you asking for if your title is chosen? This isn’t a business where anyone can afford to offer their services for free, and the offer to look at your manuscript sounds ridiculous. Looking at it doesn’t guarantee representation, and you could just as easily get that far by sending a decent query.

    Percentage of sales? Where’d that come from? I think the idea here is to get a partial in front of Kristin so she can give you her opinions as to whether what you’re writing is good/bad/whatever. It’s a chance for fresh eyes to look at something that maybe you’ve worked on for a year or something – an an agent’s eyes, yet.

    I don’t think anybody who frequents this blog thinks they’re going to be automatically repped by Kristin. Where did she say that? I don’t think it was even implied.

    IMHO, queries are not the same as having a partial read.

    Methinks the anon in question doesn’t frequent this blog very often and just misunderstood what Kristin offered.

  23. Cathy in AK said:

    Where did the party-poopers come from?

    It was a bit of fun for us, and if it helped an author even a little, it was worth it. Let’s show each other some support, people.

    Kristin didn’t have to offer anything other than her thanks, but the chance to skip the query phase is a grand opportunity. (That is the offer, yes?) As Nancy said, representation isn’t guaranteed. The “winner” still has to have a book that catches Kristin’s attention.

  24. karen wester newton said:

    Moby Dick it ain’t. I’d rather name the latest snack cake from Hostess. “Chocolate Desire, with More Fudge!” “Peepoes.” “HoHos Plus.”

    Fine. Please do so. No one is begging you to stick around.

    If I was that poster and saw my title on the book and got no credit for it, I would be bitter. You are already bitter, and believe me it shows.

    Kristin, I wouldn’t blame you if you turned off comments.

  25. Serenissima said:

    I think most of us participated for the fun of brainstorming and the good karma from helping out someone who provides a fun and useful blog [free of charge!].

    If my title idea ended up on a book, I’d find it a big, fat hoot!

  26. Anonymous said:

    Hello everyone! This is Anonymous 11:23 again, returning to a blog that she reads frequently and reacting with surprise that her well-intentioned comment was read with such… passion. My comment was simply meant as a warning. Like some of you have stated, rejected writers sometimes go to extremes to get noticed by an agent. It’s easy to lose perspective, and I wanted to make sure you all realized that you were indeed writing a title for someone you had never met and might not receive any credit.
    I think critique groups are different. When you’re in a group, you’re in a partnership. You help your fellow writers, and they help you. I guess I can’t understand spending a half hour brainstorming a title for someone I’ve never met. Like many of you have said, it was a fun “game.” I could understand that. I read the titles you all came up with, and some of them were unique. But I posted my previous comment mainly because of what kris amberson said in one of the first posts: “good idea for a game, kristin. we all like games….” I read that post and thought some of you might not have understood that it was more than a game– that the title might actually appear on a real book. Now that I’ve reread Nelson’s blog post for that day, she does say that she’s looking for “serious suggestions,” so it probably should have been apparent that it was more than a game.

    Having said all this, my post was my opinion. I love a good argument, but I do not believe in personal attacks. Like I said the first time, I’m not accusing any of you or Nelson of doing something wrong. If you want to brainstorm for writers you don’t know, go ahead. For my part, your title suggestions were fun to read, and some of them were clever. But I hate to see writers get walked over, and just wanted to make sure you all knew you were working for free.

    Now, I need to go find a decent piece of chocolate or other sweet candy. Apparently, I have this nagging case of bitterness that needs to be cured.

    I wish you all the best again.

  27. terrence shipley said:

    I, on the other hand, have nothing but malice for those who instantly label the owners of dissenting opinions as being bitter. Don’t all of you ever get sick of dragging that one from the closet to bash someone with? If a poster isn’t sitting here nodding politely with the traditional lobotomized expression of accepting happiness upon his/her face, BANG, he/she is a bitter failure of a writer not good enough to lick an agent’s bath mat.

    Another person having an opinion that isn’t yours is not bitterness. It’s America. Get over this fact and maybe YOU won’t be so bitter. Not everyone who posts here is necessarily a “bitter unpublished writer” (a group that seems to catch a lot of crap from Nelson’s fans, by the by; I wonder why that is…); many of us might not even be writers at all, but people who actually work in other areas of publishing and like to see into an agent’s head for business purposes.

    Thus far, the only voice among the commenting public that I find any useful information in is Linnea Sinclair. Maybe it is because deep down, she’s realized that as time goes by and her career expands and solidifies, she needs a particular agent less and less. A strong publishing track record will find her a publisher or a new agent with relative ease.

  28. Anonymous said:

    The game was fun and for a good purpose: to help someone else out of a jam. Many thanks for letting me play (and learn more about title composition).

  29. Anonymous said:

    terrence shipley, you’ve made my day. I now still have hope that there are people willing to express their opinions without apology. Thank you.