What’s in a titel

Book titles. Aside from actually writing the books, that’s one of the biggest challenges. Aside from of course editing, querying, finding a publisher, and promoting it!

A bad title can trip you up when finding an agent or publisher, no doubt. When I go to a book store often I find myself drawn not just to a nice cover, but to an interesting title, especially when I don’t know the author.

So, how to pick a title for your book?

I struggled with this when I wrote my first story. It’s currently called “Goodbye November”, and I might stick with it but it’s been a journey getting there. During the first draft I called it “Garafalo” after the band featured in the novel. I loved it, but the more I worked on the story the less the band featured and it didn’t reflect the book anymore. After some thought I changed it to “Sorrowland“. The MCs both suffer from depression and addiction issues and mental illness is a major theme in the story, so it was fitting. I still like the title, but after querying and posting the synopsis online I received A LOT of feedback saying it was too sad a title and off-putting. Mind you, the story is not a happy one, so maybe it was the right name for it after all. It’s currently shelved, awaiting yet another re-write, so we’ll see.

The second novel, “In Absentia” wasn’t that difficult to find a name for. I was going through a phase of fascination with the Latin language at the time. The term “in the absence of” is usually used in legal proceedings, but it’s a perfect name for the book which deals with the aftermath of a young man’s disappearance. I briefly toyed with changing the title to something else but in the end I’m stuck on “In Absentia”.

The story which found a publisher is titled “The Pink Tourmaline”. There was never any doubt that it was the right title for the story since the events in the novel take place because of a pink tourmaline gem stone. Well, at least in my mind it was always the right title. Fortunately, my publishers agreed and it’s still the title.

I’m working on something new right now and am toying around with title ideas, but as always – I’ll have to come up with a good story first!



Query stats

When I first queried The Pink Tourmaline I found it really useful to see stats and timelines by other writers, to compare. So today, I’m going to share how The Pink Tourmaline fared during the query process. I queried agents, small publishers, and also participated in several contests.

I started querying The Pink Tourmaline in June 2015. I sent out a total of 57 queries to agents. Of those, 24 didn’t reply. Of the remaining queries I received two full requests, four partial requests, and 29 rejections. Two of the rejecting agents offered personalized rejections with offers to resubmit or submit other manuscripts.

I also submitted to seven small publishers. Of those seven I received: Two rejections, four full requests, and one rejection with an invitation to resubmit. One of the four full requests turned into the offer from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

I participated in Pitch to Publication 2015 and out of the five mentors I submitted to I received two  full requests and one partial. I also participated again in 2016, this time receiving one request. In between I participated in a couple of other contests such as Page70pit and PitMad on Twitter, but didn’t get any newsworthy results!

All in all, I had a much better time querying The Pink Tourmaline than I did with In Absentia. I sent just over 100 queries for In Absentia and only received two full requests and a couple of partials. I also didn’t have any luck in contests with it. I hope once I edit it and start querying again it will have better results.

So was your experience with querying?