Titles

Titles have been much on our mind here at the Greystones Press as we gear ourselves up for next year’s publications. They are as important as covers. In April we publish John Matthews’ exciting “Sword of Ice and Fire,” the first in the YA Red Dragon Rising Sequence about the young King Arthur.

Yes we did think about George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire but that sequence now seems to be better known by the title of its first volume, “A Game of Thrones.” And, as we’re sure you know, there is no copyright in titles. So in the end we stuck with John’s title.

The next book we are publishing in the spring is a fabulous YA story by Katherine A. Roberts about the young Genghis Khan. It came to us as “Red Moon”, but we were a bit concerned about Red Dragon Rising and it was for a long time it was “Blood Moon.” Then we checked on Amazon and there are SO many books with that title that, regardless of copyright, we felt we couldn’t use that.

Brainstorming ensued with the author and many more titles were suggested. In the end, we’ve gone with “Bone Music,” which is both evocative and mysterious. It references the violin made from the skull of a deer, which Genghis’ young wife Borta plays and which summons visions.

Next October we are publishing a YA novel by Gill Vickery which came to us as “Blood and Roses.” Exactly the same problem arose as with “Blood Moon.” It was a hard book to sum up in one phrase, being a double time frame novel with 21st century teenagers finding out family secrets from the past involved the grandfather of two of them.

Alongside this quest, which unravels in Florence, a Goth boy is tracking down the reclusive author of a series of crime thrillers where the murders are linked to the Italian Resistance in the 2nd World War. The two stories collide in terrible revelations.

More brainstorming! We’re going with “Tell me no Truths.” What do you think?

(There are a couple more books we’ll tell you about later).

“When she was Bad” used to be “Christina on the Nursery Floor” and “The Italian for Love” started out as “Tuscany: the Novel.”

As an author, I find titles happen one of two ways: either the whole story starts from the title – Amazing Grace, Dracula’s Daughter, Shakespeare’s Ghost, The Ravenmaster’s Boy; or the title still hasn’t come to me by the time the book is almost on its way to the printer!

What are your favourite book titles? We like “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” Also “The Man who Mistook his wife for a Hat,” “The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul,” “Catch-22,” etc. etc.

Every year the Bookseller magazine, the trade journal for everyone in the book business (to which we have subscribed since 1975!), runs a competition for the Oddest Book Title of the Year, called the Diagram Prize. Favourite winners of ours have been “Versailles: the View from Sweden” and “The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling.” (Though “How to Avoid Huge Ships” is the most topical currently).

The idea is that the title should unintentionally odd and funny.

Why not drop us a line on our Twitter account @GreystonesPress with your favourite or funniest title or Instagram us a photo? We’re Greystones Press there too.

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