STATUS: I leave Sunday for London and the London Book Fair. I’m heading out early as I have a whole week of meetings with UK publishers.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU by Whitney Houston
Titles are always a fascinating discussion I think. For this project, the author Janice Hardy and I were involved every step of the way.
First off, and you couldn’t tell this from the original pitch blurb, THE SHIFTER is middle grade fantasy. When Donna Bray at Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins) bought the trilogy, she mentioned that the title would probably have to change for this audience. Since titles change all the time, it wasn’t a deal breaker—especially when Donna pre-empted in a very good deal (in Deal Lunch speak). We were over the moon to be part of the Balzer & Bray debut imprint launch list which is happening this fall. We’ve gotten lots of extra press that might not have happened if that weren’t the case.
But back to the title. As Janice mentioned in the comments section, her UK publisher is actually keeping the original title. I guess what works across the pond gets the thumbs down on this side of the Atlantic.
So here’s the saga. We knew right after the sale that a title change was requested so we got cracking on some alternatives. Right off, we came up with a title that everyone at B&B liked.
So the title “The Pain Merchants” shifted to “The Healing Wars: Nya’s Curse.”
Great. All parties were happy. Then Donna went to sales conference and the title didn’t play well with the sales reps but they like The Pain Merchants. So back to the original title (which of course Janice and I were pretty happy about).
Great. We were set. Got the title. We were also involved in the cover discussion at this time. We saw at least 4 or 5 different cover concepts that were being considered. Settled on one that we all loved. Then that got shot down at sales conference as well. Back to the drawing board for the cover but hey, at least we have a title, right?
Nope. Then sell-in to the various accounts happened. The accounts didn’t like the title (but were great with the new cover concept which is the cover y’all saw yesterday).
Okay, we couldn’t have Healing Wars or Pain Merchants. How about Pain Shifter?
Nope. That didn’t work as the accounts didn’t want the word “pain” in it. When BN, Borders, and the bigger independents say nay, guess what happens? You ditch the title and come up with something else.
THE SHIFTER is what the accounts liked so that’s the title. With the really wonderful cover art, I think viewers will get that it’s fantasy and not paranormal (which would be shapeshifters, vampires and the like).
Also, if you look under Janice’s name at the top of the cover, you’ll see we managed to save something. We liked “The Healing Wars” for the series title and there it is.
Here’s a partial list of some of the titles we played with (and hey, they can’t all be gems!):
A Talent for Trouble
A Touch of Trouble
Hands Full of Secrets
Sisters of Hope and Sorrow
A Choice for the Hidden
The Luminary’s Bane
The Broken Healer
The Secret Shifter
A Bargain At Any Price
The Pynvium War
The Missing Apprentice
The Price of Pain
The Price of Pynvium
She Who Has No Choice Has Trouble
A Choice for Those Who Can’t Choose
The Secret of Pynvium
A Miracle for Geveg
Trading on Misery
Trading on Pain
Nya & The Luminary
Tomorrow I’ll share the submission letter.