Further to my post last week about the acquisition of my novel by Carina Press, I thought I’d shed some light on one aspect of my journey to publication: retitling.

The working title for my novel was Ctrl+Alt+Del. I’ll admit that I was pretty happy with it – I felt it captured the elements of hacking, stalking and murder pretty aptly.

However, Carina rightly pointed out that search engine results would commonly bring up the keyboard shortcut in preference to the novel. Therefore I was asked to go through a retitling process.

It started with a Title Worksheet. This involved teasing out information about the book that could feed into a new title: genre, themes, conflicts, etc.

title-worksheet-screengrab

The next stage was coming up with a new list of possible titles. I was surprised how difficult I found this, as I’ve always found picking a title one of the easiest parts of writing. Of course, this may because I’m naff at it…

bookshelves

For inspiration, I decided to look at our bookcases. My husband and I are both avid readers and we have three bookcases in our house (plus one for DVDs!). I turned to the two fiction bookcases and looked for titles that were particularly eye-catching, titles which would make me pick that book up off the shelf to see what it was about.

I wrote down the titles that grabbed my attention and then highlighted the ones that were distinctive, particular to the genre and content of that book.

title storm

I then generated a list of titles and sent them in. My wonderful editor Deb returned my list with some further suggestions, including usage of popular crime themes and concepts (death, justice, etc.).

And from there, my novel was retitled. I heard back at the end of last week what my baby would be named and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Drum roll please…

BINARY WITNESS

Coming to a virtual bookshelf near you – May 2014!

Of course, if you’re not a novelist, or not yet at the stage of contemplating publication, a retitling process can be useful in other ways.

For example, when one acquires a pet hedgehog. One can devise a list of titles with one’s spouse. One can generate a list of names with one’s nieces and nephew and vote on our favourites.

But, when all’s said and done, if you get the little prickle monster home and he doesn’t fit in with any of your names, you’re going to have to come up with something different.

So, introducing my “retitled” hedgehog…Humph!

humph

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