Ever wonder how a book gets its title? I wish I could say that in my case it’s ME ME ME, but that isn’t always true. Actually, it isn’t usually true. I have a history of picking titles that my publishers deem bad – going right back to the first book I ever wrote. I called that book “Hills of Eden,” because it was set in a hilly region of Brazil that was idyllic, indeed – but not sexy enough for my publisher, who, giving me no choice, retitled it The Passionate Touch. I squirmed a little, but hey, I was actually getting a book published, wasn’t I?
A bit later, there was “Breathless,” my title for a story about an asthmatic running a marathon. As fitting as it was, a Richard Gere movie by the same name had come out the year before, and while you can’t copyright titles, my publisher was worried. They gave me several choices. I finally agreed to Moment to Moment, which was palatable, if nondescript.
Choice is a big thing here. At the start, I had none. The more my audience grew, the more power I had, and the more my publisher wanted to please me. That doesn’t mean I came to like every title they chose.
Take “Blood of the Rich.” As close to a family saga as I’ve written, this book covers many years in the lives of two prominent families and a third family that serves them. The book is about relationships between members of these families, but its scaffolding – the action framework that advances the plot – is a murder mystery, hence my calling it “Blood of the Rich.” My publisher felt that this title suggested more suspense than relationships, so it was axed.
Let me say something here. When it comes to titles, I get a single shot – I mean, me, myself, here in my office. Much as I work and rework narrative, dialogue, and plot, either I get the title right at the start, or I don’t get it at all.
Realizing this with “Blood of the Rich,” my publisher went to work, sending me title after title that I hated. In the end, I was simply worn down. We went with Twilight Whispers, which was the least of the evils, but to this day I gag when I say it.
If I’d dug in my heels, would they have found a better title? Maybe yes, maybe no. My publisher clearly had a view of the marketing needs for this book, and their image didn’t match mine. Yes, I have a say in the final choice, but they are the marketers. Moreover, they’re the ones who will be selling my book and, in that regard, need to love the title more than I do. If I want my books to succeed, I have to take my pride and stuff it.
That said, I’ve learned to push harder for titles I can swallow, an easy task with my current publisher. From the start, we saw eye to eye on marketing to my target audience. Based on the first few chapters of a book, their title person finds great titles. “Black and White” became Family Tree. “Driving at Night” became The Secret Between Us. It’s gotten so that I don’t even try anymore. When I start a new book, I call it NEW BOOK. Once I’ve written the first few chapters, my publisher comes up with a title that works.
Which brings us to Not My Daughter, hitting stands today. I had qualms when my publisher suggested this title. Oh, it fits the book. But I wrote a book in the ‘90s called For My Daughters, which was reissued in trade paperback barely a year ago, and I was worried my readers would see this new title, think they’d already read the book, and pass it by. But Not My Daughter does have a great cover, and the art department italized the My. That should do it, don’t you think?
Remember. Not My Daughter. New. Today. Thanks!
Barbara Delinsky, author of NOT MY DAUGHTER (January 5, 2010) WHILE MY SISTER SLEEPS (2009), THE SECRET BETWEEN US (2008), and FAMILY TREE (2007), has written more than eighteen bestselling novels with over thirty million copies in print. She has been published in twenty-languages worldwide. Barbara's fiction centers upon everyday families facing not-so-everyday challenges. She is particularly drawn to exploring themes of motherhood, marriage, sibling rivalry, and friendship in her novels.
"A lifelong New Englander, Barbara earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. As a breast cancer survivor who lost her mother to the disease when she was only eight, Barbara compiled the non-fiction book Uplift: Secrets From the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors, a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes. She donates her proceeds from the sale of this book to her charitable foundation, which funds an ongoing research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"Barbara enjoys knitting, photography, and cats. She also loves to interact with her readers through her website at www.barbaradelinsky.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bdelinsky, and on Twitter as @BarbaraDelinsky."
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Posted by BookBitch at 1/05/2010 06:49:00 AM
Sunday, January 03, 2010
What a treat to be able to dish with a fellow ‘bitch’.
Our new book, Bitches on a Budget, was conceived two years ago over a cup of coffee and a discussion about women, money, lifestyle and values. Not only were we lamenting the Paris Hilton’izing of American values—status symbols as markers of identity over substance, we also felt the underpinnings of the mortgage and financial markets were shaky. In short, we believed we were headed into bad times (if only we had sold our stocks then!).
Our philosophy? Life is short and should be lived with humor, joy and pleasure. Beautiful things should be admired and yes, even lusted after, but you just can’t (even if you could afford to) consume everything in your path. After all, nothing is less attractive than a bloated bitch. So we set to work to write a book about living well, in good times and bad times. A book that’s fun to read, sometimes bawdy, often ironic, but is in fact chock full of serious advice about everything from shopping (how the markdown cycle works and when to pounce) to exercise (remember when it was called play?) to wheels (lease vs. buy, used vs. new, what’s the difference between road bikes, racers, recumbents?) to travel (best sites for tickets, how to score killer hotel rooms at bargain prices) to home décor (it’s all a matter of perspective) to pets (pamper the bitch). We think it’s one of the only books on the market that covers such a wide variety of lifestyle topics.
To give you a feel for the book we’d like to share a short section from the introduction:
"Budget is Not a Dirty Word
Fiscal responsibility is like monogamy… if you think it’s boring, you’re doing it wrong. Since when has budget been a dirty word? After all, we’re not talking chastity belts, abstinence rings, knee-jerk denial. Think of budget as just another way to say edit. The key to good living is in using your limited resources wisely-- we’ll show you how to hitch your mind to that little lust engine that’s driving you. The end result? You’ll make smarter shopping decisions. Bargain buys will replace designer labels as your new badge of honor. Besides, since you want to be a good green citizen of the world, it’s time to stop consuming everything in your path.
Be a Bitch, Bitch
Bitch isn’t a bad word, either. We’re proud to be modern women. Women who know what we want and aren’t afraid to get it; women with the sense to edit the good from the bad; women who choose to live with style and with conscience. Independent women who say what they think, are in touch with our femininity, and know how to enjoy our pleasures. Hell we make less than men do by the hour, work harder and produce more value (just think about it, can they have babies?) It’s time to stand proud, Bitch. “
You can read more at www.bitchesonabudget.com
Roz’s favorite invitation only home décor website, One Kings Lane, is offering up an electronic $50 gift card to one lucky reader. One Kings Lane curates private, flash sales events on designer home décor, accessories and gifting wares of brands like Ankasa, Archipelago, John Robshaw and Kate Spade.
To win your own copy of BITCHES ON A BUDGET: Sage Advice for Surviving Tough Times in Style plus the gift card, please send an email to email@example.com with "BITCHES ON A BUDGET" as the subject. You must include your snail mail address in your email. All entries must be received by January 10, 2009. One name will be drawn from all qualified entries and notified via email. The winner will receive a free copy of BITCHES ON A BUDGET by Rosalyn Hoffman, courtesy of NAL Trade Paperbacks, and the $50 e-card to One Kings Lane. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age in the United States. One entry per email address, please. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone. All entries, including names, e-mail addresses, and mailing addresses, will be purged after winners are notified.
Rosalyn Hoffman is a former buyer for Bonwit Teller, Filene’s, and Lord & Taylor in New York City. She was also a marketing executive for Avon and Lillian Vernon. She speaks Chinese and has traveled extensively in China. In addition to being a serious cook and wine collector, she has lived and studied cooking in France and has traveled the world cataloging changing markets. Aside from food and cooking, her other passion is design and architecture. She has worked with award-winning architects in the building and design of several modern homes that have garnered awards and international recognition.
Roz is a contributor to The Huffington Post. Look for her posts on The Daily Beast where she is a Buzz Board Insider. Her work has appeared on More Magazine online, Divine Caroline and This Magnificent Life. Bitches on a Budget has been featured on the JWT Anxiety Index, a measure of significant cultural movements, and its television rights have been optioned by Sharp Entertainment.
Posted by BookBitch at 1/03/2010 08:52:00 AM