Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Novel Without a Title - want to win a book?

The most important things, when it comes to selling a book, are the cover and the title.(Read Debbie Bennet on the subject)  Which gives me a terrible headache - because I've got a novel that everyone seems to like (it's just spent six months in the top five of the 'best-seller' charts on YouWriteOn.com) but I haven't got a title - and until I have a title, it's very difficult to have a cover.  So I thought I'd have a competition - whoever comes up with the 'right' title, will win a free copy of any book I've ever written as well as a free copy of the novel when it's published.
Cover 1
The novel features two girls growing up in the 1930s.  They meet by chance at a school in the north east of England and form a friendship that lasts through bereavement, failed relationships, internment camps and all the day to day discomforts of wartime Britain.  They are very different - Tamar is quiet and reserved, having been dragged from lodging house to lodging house all her life by her itinerant mother - the beautiful and unreliable Sadie.  Anna is more forceful, half German, determined to study art and become a painter.  Her mother leaves Germany as soon as things become difficult, separating Anna from her father and grandparents against her will.  Both girls are constantly seeking a place where they feel they can belong and the war takes them to some unexpected destinations.
Cover 2
 
One of my suggested titles is 'One Dear Perpetual Place' (from WB Yeats Prayer for my Daughter), but some think it's a bit pretentious.
I wanted to call it 'The Waters and the Wild' (a quote from Yeats that is the epigraph for the book), but someone has beaten me to it with a Teen novel.  I could have 'Between the Water and the Wild', but don't like it as much.
'The Stolen Child' has also been suggested, as both girls have in a sense been 'stolen' from their fathers.  But I think it would lead readers to expect a thriller, and it isn't.
'Where the North Wind Blows' is another contender, but I'm not sure about it.  The working title was 'Travelling North' - which is inadequate.   Then there is 'The Befriending of Tamar Fell', though the novel is also about Anna.
 'The Hat Box' is another suggestion, since that is where Sadie keeps the papers that will reveal the secrets of Tamar's family history.
Any votes?  Any ideas?  Neil has put together some draft covers, some of which I like, but it's difficult not having a title!

Cover 3


Cover 4




8 comments:

  1. "There Was A Star Danced" - Shakespeare

    "A Star Danced" - Shakespeare

    "Of Colourless Tears" - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    "Those That Wept The Least" - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    ReplyDelete
  2. I will put on my thinking cap. Don't hold your breath, I don't feel very inspired at the moment.
    I struggled like anything with Veiled in Shadows, the only bonus is it has given me a title for its sequel.
    I suspect when I ever get the new idea I am working up I will simply call it Hilda. Having said that I am just as likely to change my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Al- titles are so difficult - you have to get the essence of the book and somehow appeal to likely readers of that genre. Impossible! I've often thought of just calling this novel 'Tamar'!
    John - Your title reminded me of the Neitsche quote about needing chaos to produce a dancing star ie creativity. So, very relevant to the subject matter. Will put it in the hat.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Having read it I must tell everyone that this is a lovely novel,enjoyable on many levels. Of course I think One Dear Perpetual Place is an excellent title - most definitely NOT pretentious. And it is not random - it has resonance within the novel. It - like the novel itself - has meaning on more than one level. My own favourite covers are one and four, with a leaning towards four. The case looks heavy and that's important.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree Wendy. I'm very grateful to you for the suggestion and it was my front runner until others expressed a bit of reservation. I love Yeats' poetry. And a title is never going to please everyone. Apart from the wintry Sheila Fell cover, I too like cover 4. Decisions, decisions!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like covers 2 and 4 - 4 gives more sense of story (good for Kindle I think) and clearly from what Wendy says has resonance, 2 is beautiful though! Its more enigmatic and would make a wonderful cover for a Poetry collection but really for any book in this setting.

    My feeling about the title is that taken out of the poem the words don't sound so well together - at first glance they don't roll off the tongue easily, is it possible to consider dropping 'One,' or alternatively 'Dear,' or putting something else in front of Perpetual Place - or dropping 'Perpetual' even? I think I'm saying it would be better shortened somehow - but I certainly don't think it's pretentious.

    I must say I like 'The Hat Box,' but imagine you would need an entirely different cover for that. I do think it would go down well on Kindle though.

    Oh titles - I've spent weeks, months even, and still not come up with the answer - Good luck you certainly have some lovely covers to choose from.

    ReplyDelete
  7. (4) is my favourite of the covers - and after a long time rejecting various titles with "Home" in them because they were already taken by other novels, I wondered about these titles, all of which seem (on my very cursory check) to be "free":

    Stones In Our Shoes: A Novel

    Opening the Latch (different cover needed)

    Road to my Sister

    - all of which are probably wildly off-beam, but at least might suggest some different approaches.

    ReplyDelete
  8. No - sorry no help with the title - but I must say I do like the last cover but NOT the font, preferring the other three. Also 2 is pretty cool and it does feel a little different - does it stand out better than the others on the bookshelves - or does it fade away?

    ReplyDelete