So. My novel, out in July, was originally titled No Tea For The Fever.
And that title was scrapped by the publishers. Too literary. (Ouch!)
I submitted two more titles. The answers were no. And no.
I chewed my nails, rocked back and forth in a little ball and tried not to cry.
And finally. My editor broke the news to me.
My novel would be called…
Well, I can’t tell you right now. She’s sworn me to secrecy until December 2nd, when the catalog goes out to the book world.
For now, we’ll call it ‘NewTitleofAliya’sBook.’
And when I read the proposed title, I cried. Real tears. And not tears of joy.
Here’s the email I got from my editor, Sulay Hernandez:
And finally, we have to talk about the title. I know giving you these edits and then hammering you over the head at the same time about the title and showing you a cover draft is a lot. But this is really how fast things are moving now. The deal is that the sales and marketing people, my publisher, editor-in-chief and associate publisher all love ‘NewTitleofAliya’sBook’.
I gasped out loud and clasped my hands over my mouth. That couldn’t be the title of my book! That didn’t feel like what I was going for at all. This one-word title felt street-lit-esque, (not there’s anything wrong with street lit), common, derivative and simple.
Did Sulay think I had written a common, derivative, simple novel? Why the hip-hop-ish title? Just because there are rappers in it? Damn. That’s whack!!
I cried a little more and then went back to Sulay’s email.
Just like the novel ‘Bling’ capitalized on a word that became a movement, ‘NewTitleofAliya’sBook’ is our society’s new point of reference. It’s derivative, yes, but so is everything in this business. ‘NewTitleofAliya’sBook’ signifies class in our society and it also points to the music business. We’re not positioning this as a music business novel, but it is a book set in this world of smoke and mirrors. You are showing us the ugly side of the entertainment world.
Okay. She had a point there. My novel definitely shows an underside to the glossy music business, particularly as is pertains to relationships. Fine. But what about the two titles I submitted? I toned down the literary stuff and tried to make it more direct.
Sulay went on:
They turned down both TheSecondTitleYouSubmitted and TheThirdTitleYouSubmitted as titles because they were too quiet and not big enough for a book like this–they felt more like romance or bittersweet women’s fiction than the blockbuster we hope this to be. I thought about it and I do agree.
Blockbuster? Hmmm. Is my editor trying to gas me up? Because it’s working. I continued to read.
To be completely honest, (and I can be honest to my own detriment sometimes, but I hope you appreciate this) I was iffy on ‘NewTitleofAliya’sBook’ as a title but after I heard my publisher out and thought about it and saw the proposed art, I was floored.
The proposed art? My heart started racing. I scrolled up to the beginning of the email and noticed that there was an attachment. Oh snap. The proposed cover art is here? In this email? Just a click away? I yelled out to TH. “Yo, she sent cover art!!” And he said, “Open it!” And then started he videotaping me as I went back to my email.
Ok, I know you have a lot to think about so I’ll let you do that. The only thing I ask is to please let me know what you think about the cover as soon as possible!
Wait! TH said. He panned in on my face as I clicked onto the attachment.
[And here is where I wanted to insert the video he took of me. It’s pretty funny. But I’ve been calling him all morning so he could email me the video and he’s not picking up. Grrrr! I guess I’ll update it with the video another time.]
I opened the art. And I said.
I like it.
Except I didn’t just like it.
I effing love it.
The cover is mysterious and striking and makes me do a double take.
Um. I can’t post it until December 2nd. Blame Sulay, not me.
I conferred with my agent and a few close confidants. The verdict was the same across the board.
The title? Eh.
The art. Hot!
How do I feel about the title now?
Well. I’ll tell you this. It’s a far cry from No Tea For The Fever. (Like, way far.)
It also makes me feel like my publisher believes in my book. And thinks it’s got half a chance to sell a couple copies.
If they like it, I love it.
My book is coming out in July of next year. (As of today).
Can I just tell you I don’t know how I’m going to make it that long? I really don’t.
How important is the title and cover art when you’re shopping for a book? Do you buy books based on cover art? Do you not buy books based on cover art? Would you buy a book solely because you know the writer’s name and like their stuff? Do you read a few pages in the bookstore? A whole chapter?
I’d love to hear from you…
P.S. You can find out the title of my book with a quick Internet search. But please don’t write it in the comments. I don’t want to get yelled at by Sulay. If you find it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your HONEST opinion.