Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Choosing the right title

They say the title is one of the most important things you will ever write for your new manuscript - though probably the query letter still ranks a little higher. There are definitely some titles that catch the imagination or pique the curiosity. Some of my favorites include: How Are You Peeling?, Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, A Bag Full of Nothing, Mr. Pinkerton Finds A Body, No More Dead Dogs, And God Created Squash, and the list goes on...

We'd been talking about titles in the residency I'm currently teaching (I'm done at the end of the week so will stop talking about it eventually) and doing some brainstorming about what should and shouldn't be in a title. Some kids had a snappy option right off the cuff, others just stared and shrugged. (I think I could tell which ones have more AR points.)

I got home with a head full of titles and then saw this sitting on my kitchen table:

Maybe it's just because I was hanging around with 9-year-olds but doesn't this strike you as possibly being an unfortunate choice? I can't imagine a parent walking into a book store and asking for the book "Things to Do with Pooh."

(Okay, actually I can. And I can also imagine the look on the staff member's face when they hear the request. I mean, if you didn't know it was connected to Disney's version of A.A. Milne's classic bear, what shelf would you start looking on?)

Needless to say, it's gotten some mileage around our house, and it's served as a caution to me too. Our titles need careful attention. Do you want to see if your title measures up? You can put it to the test at the Lulu Titlescorer or, for the more sports minded, put two titles to the test at the new Lulu Titlefight!

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