Regular visitors to the blog may know that I have a soft spot as big as New Mexico for Jack Croxall’s Victorian adventure, Tethers. I ‘met’ Jack on Twitter last year when he was still writing it and right from the first mention I was intrigued. The book promised to be everything I grew up loving: heart stopping, swashbuckling adventure with kids at its heart, set in an era steeped in romance. I looked forward to its release with a mixture of excitement and trepidation; it would have been the disappointment of the year if it hadn’t been good!
My fears were unfounded and I loved it. But that’s not the point of this post, so I apologise for digressing. The point is that Jack’s title, Tethers, was intriguing just by itself. In fact, without gushing, it was a work of genius. As I began to lose myself in the tale, I just knew that somewhere along the line, it was going to be significant. So when the moment came to reveal that significance, it was such a gratifying one that I almost punched the air. It was so important to everything that the book was about and that made it perfect.
Titles are funny things. Some people struggle with the title more than anything else, often using a working title for as long as possible. For me, a work in progress doesn’t feel like a real book until I have a title for it. I often find, in actual fact, that the title is one of the first things that occur to me. For one book I recently began, a title that popped into my head actually dictated the whole premise and kick-started the draft! However the title comes, for me, it’s usually one of the first things put in place. There have been occasions where books I’ve written have had a title that was changed at the last minute, though. Sky Song was initially called The Cosmic Canvas (taken from a line in the book) until a friend wrinkled her nose and mentioned that it made her think of hippie Neil from The Young Ones. After that, I couldn’t get the association out of my head and the old title had to go. Another novel, Runners, went through about four titles before it was settled.
Titles are not only significant in terms of telling you what to expect from a book or linking into the plot, but they can dictate whether the book sells or not. This sounds extreme, but I believe it to be true. Unless highly recommended, if I see a book whilst browsing and I think that the title is boring, I pass it by. I realise that everyone’s concept of boring is quite different, so, obviously, this will be subjective according to each reader. But the point I’m making is that it needs to be clever/intriguing/witty/romantic – whatever will pull at the heart strings of your target audience. This may sound obvious, but it doesn’t seem to be to everyone. I would point here to Snakes on a Plane. Either someone had their tongue firmly in their cheek, or their imagination had gone for a city break. Whatever you think about it, I have never seen, and do not intend to ever see this film, simply because the title puts me off.
I realise that I might be setting myself up for a massive fail here as lots of people point to my book titles and scoff. In which case, all I can do is point you to Tethers to prove my point.
If you want to find out more about Jack or his book, you can click the following links…