21 March, 2011

I'm Afraid My Novel's Title Implies There Are Vampires, Of Which There Are Actually None

Have you ever run into the problem where you've got an awesome title for your novel, but later realize other people might think it means something entirely different than what it's really all about?

You see, I'm currently revising a Science Fiction book. It has ships and planets and galaxies and races and government and the usual SF stuff. (Although I'm striving to make sure it's original in other ways.) The issue is that there's the word "blood" in the title.

It just recently occurred to me that might be a bad idea. Nowadays, with the advent of vampires and werewolves and faeries and other creatures, I think a lot of shelf-passersby might categorize it as a Paranormal/vampire novel.

Oops. My novel has no connection to the genre, and I wouldn't want people to mistakenly think it's related to vampires. So I've decided to re-title it with something blood-free and SF-ish.

But it's just that I liked the old title.


Has this kind of thing ever happened to you?

-----The Golden Eagle


Misha said...

Oh dear!

Nothing like that ever happened to me. On the other hand, my titles take forever to occur to me.

Hope you find something even more awesome to name your story. :-)

mist of the blossom rain said...

Unfortunately yes, this has happened to me.
Maybe this means you will have to write another book to fit this title?;)

Larissa said...

I am lucky enough to say no, but like Misha I take forever to come up with titles.

Susan Kane said...

No, my titles are pretty straight-forward-you-know-what-yer-gettin'. But I am one who agonizes over being mis-read on other levels.

ali said...

Not exactly like that, but I have had to re-title one of my books exactly three times. First it was The Devil's Daughter (but when I googled that title, I found lots of nasty stuff and I didn't want to subject my readers to that), so I renamed it Desolation (which is a great name and I still love it, but I'd already queried it under that title) so now it's Become (which is fine, good even, but I still prefer Desolation).

So, yeah. It's hard to let go of what we think as "the perfect title." But keep in mind, a publisher almost always re-titles your book so it's good for us to remain flexible and open-minded!

Rogue Mutt said...

Probably, though I say that space vampires would be pretty cool. I'm sure someone's already done Twilight...In Spaaaaaace though, or about to do it.

B.E.T. said...

Oh yeah about the having to throw away titles for the sake of reflecting the innards of the book. With titles that just stick and come into my head, I get lucky. But with the ones I actually need to think about, I'll settle on something, then it sounds too much like this or too much like that. Gaaah.

I hope you like the new title just as much! Maybe you could use the title you liked for another project like a short story or something.

Old Kitty said...

My problem with titles is that someone else thinks of them first! LOL!!! I remember wishing to call my novel "Beneath the Skin". Well it's not only a novel title, it's a song, an album title and it may even be a type of moisturizer! LOL!!

Good luck finding your perfect title!! Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nto yet! I'm still trying to think of a title for my book's sequel. Nothing's hit me yet.

Catherine Denton said...

That stinks. I did have to change the title of a short story once because it seemed too comical for the piece. But that's not really the same. Sorry you had to cut your likable title. :(
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Jade said...

Titles are always the hardest part for me... And I wish you the best with coming up with a new one! You may find one you like even better. :)

Angela Felsted said...

Do you mind me asking what the old title was?

Anonymous said...

That's never happened to me, but I can see how it would indicate vampires! Can someone please tell me why vampires are so popular? :D

Sangu said...

I don't think 'blood' need necessarily signify something vampire-y. Depends on what it's paired with.

That said, I wouldn't stress out about the title too much. You'll find that if you publish the traditional way, most publishers will suggest changing the title - they know the market best, after all!

Sierra Gardner said...

I had a title that I loved and found out to my dismay that apparently 20 other authors thought it was a great title as well. Now I'm looking for a title that won't bring up a whole page of other books on Amazon.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

LOL. Titles are my favorite part, and it's tough to let go of one you love. Good luck! :-)

li said...

If it's a perfect title, I suppose you could always choose a photo or painting for the cover that gives a better idea of what's inside. Besides, I don't know of anyone who buys a book because of a cool title without reading the blurbs on the jacket, then they'd know what it's about. If it's a striking title, keep it. You want that initial "hook" to make people notice it in the first place.

Brian said...

From reading the tohers comments it sounds not that unusual. You might keep it held back for some time in the future!

Colene Murphy said...

That sucks! (pun-ish...whoops) Hope you can think of another title you like equally as much. Though now I'm curious about the blood title!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Not so much with titles but my one publisher gave me a very misleading cover art.
I usually figure out the title for my books about half way through them.

(: Just Becca :) said...

YES!!! Except mine sounded like a word for homosexual... :D

L. said...

Can I call my books "Just Read It #1", "Just Read It #2"...

Nobody will suspect any vampires.

Margo Benson said...

Interesting post and some great answers from other commenters. It hasn't wuite happened to me - I Like to play around with titles,some come straight away, some later.

My main WIP is a play on words that can (hopefully) be taken two ways!

Lydia K said...

Not to me, personally, but to some of my writing friends. Creating titles is tricky work, indeed!

Liz said...

No, can't say it's happened to me. Then again, none of my stuff is actually titled. Or those that are have titles that I wouldn't mind losing.

I agree with li. Maybe paired with the right cover art...

Holly Ruggiero said...

You I never thought of that, but I think it depends on how it is used in the title. Titles that, to me, do not suggest vamps might be...Blood Sky, Blood Rights, Blood Ties... Well, they might suggest it to but not definitively.

Michael Offutt said...

What is the title exactly? Sorry if I missed it somewhere but I'd like to judge for myself if it makes me instantly think of vamps.

The Words Crafter said...

That's a bummer, especially if it really suited the book. Maybe you can keep it as a back up and when you get an agent, ask their opinion...?

Rusty Webb said...

I love titles. All mine are stupid. I think a great title only seems simple in retrospect. If your title really doesn't fit then save it for something else you write later.

And Rogue - Blindsight was a SF novel with space vampires. It was awesome.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I had a totally awesome title for my current book, only to discover last month that it was already somebody else's awesome title... and the book was just released and in the same genre.

It's a big fat bummer.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Sorry that you had that happen, Golden.

My titles come to me and work well with the novel I've written.

You just might have to write a short story, novella, or novel for that wonderful blood title you love.

Thanks for the good wishes for ABNA.


Abby Minard said...

Honestly, I think you can keep it. If the publisher doesn't like it, they'll ask you to change it, or offer suggestions. I've heard about authors loving their title, but many times the publisher wants to change it. Usually you kind have to listen to the publisher anyway. So if you keep it because you love it, leave it up to your agent or publisher to ask you to change it if they don't like it. Who knows, maybe they'll love it!

Alleged Author said...

Awww, that's a stinker. Can you just tweak a word or two and keep the title almost the same?

Melissa Bradley said...

I hate when that happens. It's so frustrating. Or you come up with a title only to realize that there are one too many other titles with similar wording. Or the publisher wants you to retitle because they think something else will be a better sell.

K. Howard said...

I've actually seen this in the professional world. There is a manga titled "Mars" which, for me, gave the impression that it was a cool sci-fi manga about the planet Mars. But when I read the back to see what it was about, it was actually a high school romance. Mars the God of War comes in as a semi-major theme early in the series.

On another level, I do enjoy being misled like that. Sometimes, life is just boring when you're on the straight and narrow. Or is that just me?

Anonymous said...

I all over the place with my genre so I stuck it int the action/adventure genre. But there are elements of sci-fi, mystery, fantasy, and even a love story mixed in too.

Jules said...

No it has not happened to me but... I love being deceptive that way :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Carol Kilgore said...

Depending on the title 'blood' could or could not imply vampires inside.

Sometimes people don't love my titles. I've changed three. One was a short story with the title changed at the request of the editor. I still preferred the original. The other two are novels, still unpublished. Readers and CP's all said the titles should be different. I love the new ones!

Elaine AM Smith said...

It's a shame you think your title could be misconstrued. This could be an opportunity to reveal a different aspect of the novel? Good luck renaming your work-in-progress :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I'd use the title you love. The cover image and back cover blurb should make it clear as to genre.

Heather said...

I struggle with titles sometimes. Aside from the cover they are the first impression our readers get and it's so hard to pick the right one! Best of luck with yours. I have no doubt you'll figure out something brilliant.

The Golden Eagle said...

Misha: It takes me a while, too--and often I get titles that aren't quite the right thing (at least, they feel that way to me). So I'm especially frustrated over this one.

Thanks. :)

Emily: Maybe! That's a good idea, actually. :D

Larissa: Probably means they fit the book better, right?

Susan: Me, too. There's not only title but the meaning behind the story and what people might take away from what's said and done.

Ali: I've Googled titles I came up with as well--and the thing about the original title I had (which was Lifeblood, BTW) is that few other people had used it.

Thanks for the advice!

Rogue Mutt: I read a short story in the anthology The Starry Rift edited by Jonathan Strahan that had vampires in it--and it was a SF collection.

B.E.T.: Gah is right! :P


I might just write a short story to match the title--I've got some ideas, now that I've read the comments. ;)

Old Kitty: Those are a lot of titles! LOL. I hope you found the perfect on for your story. :)

Thank you!

Alex: I hope you get a really great idea for it!

Catherine: I'll think of another one--once I've stewed over the book and finished revisions/edits I'm sure something will occur to me. Things usually work that way for me. :P

Jade: Aside from the writing part? ;)

Thank you!

The Golden Eagle said...

Angela: Lifeblood.

See what I mean? Vampires need blood to survive in a lot of novels. I meant the word metaphorically, closer to TFD defintion: "An indispensable or vital part". But people might think something else.

Shaynie: I know I can't. LOL.

Sangu: I paired it with "Life"--as in, Lifeblood.

You make a good point! But I still can't help feel a little more like my novel's . . . well, real, I guess, if it has a good title. And I need one to publish in any way. :P

Sierra: I hope you find it! :)

Shannon: Thanks!

Li: True! I know I wouldn't pick up a book without reading the blurb/reviews/etc.--but I'm still afraid of giving people the wrong impression about my book and having some readers pass it by.

Brian: Good idea! :)

Colene: Thanks!

It was Lifeblood. Vampire-y, no?

Susan: I can see how cover art would affect things! I try not to when I pick up a book, but covers play a big role in what I think of the book at first.

Becca: I don't think that would be a huge problem--as long it wasn't derogatory or anything, and people could tell it meant something else.

L.: I like your strategy!

The Golden Eagle said...

Margo: It's the same with me--but the novel I'm working on is important to me and I want the PERFECT title for it.

It sounds interesting!

Lydia: Ah well. At least it can be fun to play with different ideas. :)

Liz: I pay a lot of attention to my titles--for some reason, I can't stand one that doesn't match a book or is . . . off in some other way.

Holly: True! Those titles aren't so suggestive of vampires--but they have the word blood in them. My title was Lifeblood, but I still think it's too vampirish.

Michael: Lifeblood.

The Words Crafter: I might--although if I find another, really good one I'll probably try to stick with that. :P

Rusty: I doubt they're stupid!

Good point--then again, isn't it always the important things that look simple later on? :P

Jennifer: That does sound like a bummer!

Michael: I might! Rogue's comment about space vampires gave me some ideas on what I could do with it. :D

Abby: Thanks for the advice! I've never read/heard about that kind of thing happening--am I totally out of the loop or what?--but yeah, I guess you do kind of have to listen to the publisher. LOL.

Alleged: It was only one word--Lifeblood.

Melissa: Frustrating is right!

K.: Geez. I guess Mars doesn't always mean the planet! :P I know that's what I associate it with.

I don't mind being misled by things like that sometimes, either. But I would still prefer something indicative of the content of my novel in a title . . .

Stephen: I so want to read Breakthrough. :D

Jules: And I love the way you do it--especially in the posts like the one about your flip-flops. ;)

The Golden Eagle said...

Carol: Lifeblood (at least, IMO) seems to indicate vampires, now that I think about it more.

I'm glad to hear you like the new titles! :)

Elaine: Interesting thought! I'll have to remember that idea--I could work with it.


Charles: Does the author or the publisher make up the blurb? I've always been unsure about that. Sometimes the blurb seems so different from the book or gives stuff away I wonder how the author could have actually written it his/herself . . .

Heather: Thank you! :)

Arlee Bird said...

I've read things that have had misleading titles, but I usually use pretty straight-forward titles on things I write.

Tossing It Out
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Simon Kewin said...

It's certainly happened to me - another good reason to have other pairs of eyes looking at what you do!

Elena Solodow said...

This hasn't happened to me, but changing the title is at least a whole lot easier than changing the entire plot!

The Golden Eagle said...

Lee: That's what I'd prefer to do.

Simon: Very true.

Elena: Definitely! :P