We have been working for weeks to find a new book title for my memoir.
As you know my publisher was not satisfied with the previous title The Cicadas, which didn’t do the job sufficiently of telling what kind of book my memoir is, or drawing the reader in. In addition there were too many books already out there, mostly novels, with a variation of “cicadas” in the title.
I have to confess it was a little hard for me to let go of The Cicadas, which for me captures a lot of what my story is about. But I could see the benefits of a clearer title and so we started brainstorming.
Since my story is a lot about heart disease, many of our title suggestions had “heart” in them, but no matter how we tried to be inventive, in the end they all sounded like romance. That would be misleading, so we started thinking in other directions.
I love long poetic titles, and I love short, to-the-point titles and I love titles with a twist. I have to tell you, my suggestions were all over the place! I am happy my publisher reigned me in and made me realize that a strong to-the-point subtitle would do the job of telling what kind of book this is, giving me a little freedom to work with the title itself, without using “heart”.
One weekend I immersed myself in the world of book titles, reading everything I could find on the web; articles and advice from more experienced people than me. I learned to avoid one-word titles, that are difficult to google (because everything with that word would basically come up). Reluctantly I let go of my long poetic titles, but that was my decision, many articles endorsed these also. I felt I needed something shorter to balance my longer subtitle and also something easy to tweet and talk about. So I aimed for a two- or three-word title.
One article talked about finding your book’s soul; what is it really about? I pushed away my laptop, closed my eyes, went back to my story in my mind and thought about this. What is the soul of my story? I felt I knew this, I just didn’t have the two words to describe it. I thought about the pain of all those years I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I thought about the sorrow of knowing that I was dying without knowing the cause. I thought about my beautiful girls, their glittering eyes and their laughter as they played with their dolls and how the thought of leaving them broke my heart. I thought about my husband who was my rock during the difficult years and I thought about how it is strange that life can be awful and ugly and wonderful and beautiful at the same time.
Slowly, my two-word title came to me. It felt right immediately. I inhaled, opened my eyes and wrote it down. And then the subtitle. Yes. This was it. I sent it to my publisher who replied: we have a winner!
I have been pondering it for a couple of weeks and now I am ready to share it with you.
Hope you like it, dear friends! These past weeks I have been editing the manuscript before the proofreading and reading the story again reinforced the new title for me. In many ways it captures the soul of my story.
I am grateful for my publisher who pushed me to let go and venture into new territory. Once again I learned that it is not until I let go of the old, that I can find something even better, just waiting to be discovered.