by Darke Conteur
A while back, someone on AQC posted a question about the title of their novel and if there were any specific rules. It was a big surprise to them when a fellow member (Litgal, I’m looking at you) basically said that it didn’t matter what the title was, there was a good chance it wouldn’t be the one the publishers went with, if and when the novel was published.
Get that? The title of your novel (as it is now), might not be what’s on the cover. For those of you who didn’t know this, I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor.
This didn’t surprise me. I’ve heard stories about this for some time. My own dealings with a copyeditor for my editorials were an interesting lesson. I never titled them, was told not to by the newspaper editor, as the copyeditor only had so many characters to work with to fit the whole thing in the column. That was fine by me, but the titles he gave them—and what I had in mind, were always two different things. I wasn’t even allowed to suggest anything. Imagine that, not being able to suggest a title for your own work!
How does this bode for your novel? Would a title change enhance or ruin your story? I don’t think so. Remember, this is part of the marketing side of publishing. Why would the editor purposely re-name your book to something that wasn’t appropriate? Besides, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a say in the final naming of the project.
Some titles are changed because they’re too long, or might sound like another book, which is why I suggest you do a search on your chosen title. You’d be surprised at what you’d find, but don’t fret over naming your story. Sometimes they don’t come to us at the beginning and that’s fine. What’s important is the idea. Work on the story, and let the title take care of itself.