I have a new novel coming out May 1st. It's the story of four women, total strangers at the start of the book, who wind up going on a road trip together.
The entire time I was writing the book, I called it "The Road Trip." That was the name of the Word doc., that's what I called it when I discussed it with family members. As far as I was concerned, that was the title.
In December, I let my editor at Amazon know I had finished another novel. He read it and said he loved it. We did our usual back and forth with the contract, and then discussed various other publishing details. In one of our phone conversations he said, "So how attached are you to the title?"
Me: You don't like my title?
Smart Editor: It's not that I don't like it. It's just that it's a little generic.
Generic? Like store-brand green beans? No. I wasn't seeing it. I loved the title. Not only was it easy to remember, but it also said what it was, much like The Help, or any of Nicholas Sparks' books (The Notebook, The Guardian, The Wedding, The Choice etc.).
It turns out that no one at Amazon Publishing was all that crazy about The Road Trip as a title. One of the women in the office, upon hearing it, assumed it would be a comedy like the movie, The Hangover, which it definitely is not. The book is humorous in parts, but it's not crazy madcap fun. I didn't want to use a title that was misleading.
Smart Editor: I have an idea for a title. It's a line from the book. What do you think of 'The Possibility of Flying'?
I wasn't crazy about his suggestion. I thought it sounded too literary for my type of novel. Plus, I didn't remember it being a line from the book (turns out, it is).
Finally, some brilliant marketing person devised a plan. If I was on board, they'd have me come up with four possible titles, then post them on the Kindle Facebook page and let people vote on their favorite. Let the readers decide! I thought it was a great idea. I came up with four suggestions, including mine and Smart Editor's. At the beginning of the month they posted the promotion on the FB page. It looked like this:
What would you name Karen McQuestion's upcoming novel? Take a look at the book summary below and then tell us which title you like best... or come up with one of your own. However you vote, we can't wait to hear from you!
Cast your vote by posting your favorite title in the comments:
1. The Road Trip
2. The Possibility of Flying
3. The Long Way Home
4. Arriving at Destination
5. [Other: ______________ ]
Marnie is just thirty-five when her boyfriend, Brian, drops dead of a sudden heart attack in the house they've shared for nearly a decade. Though stunned by his death, Marnie feels the greatest grief for Troy, Brian's son whom she has raised and loved as her own since he was just four years old. After Brian's death, Troy is reclaimed by his train-wreck of a birth mother, who whisks him far away from Marnie.
Desperate for solace, Marnie ventures to a grief group at the local rec center. There, she finds unexpected allies, three strangers who join her on an impulsive road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas to reconnect with Troy.
Along for the ride are fifty-something Rita, prim and ladylike on the outside, seething with rage on the inside over the murder of her daughter; Laverne, Marnie’s introverted landlady who is crippled by grief for her late husband; and Jazzy, a beautiful young psychic driven to the grief group by an unseen voice.
Together the women embark on what will become the adventure of their lives, a journey toward reconciliation and healing.
777 votes later, the people had spoken with The Long Way Home being the clear leader. None of the other three titles came close, which was an eye-opener for me. A lot of people came up with their own ideas, incorporating words like heart, grief, and journey. One commenter suggested Recalculating, which made me laugh. Many of the suggestions were outstanding, making me think title selection should be open to the public more often.
Thanks to everyone who voted. It was fun to read all the comments and I'm feeling a lot better about the new title knowing so many people liked it.
Because Amazon is quick and efficient, the page for the book has already been created, although there's no cover displayed just yet. If you're interested, you can see it here: The Long Way Home
I was amused to see that someone had clicked the "Like" button on both the paperback and Kindle page of the novel . Since very few people have read it yet, I think I have an idea of who that could be.
When I get the final cover image, I'll post it here. Hopefully it won't be too generic or look too literary.