I find writing books easy and fun, but writing a book title terribly painful. (This is Rachel talking, by the way.) And so much depends on the title—sales, for instance! By sheer luck, my latest book has a pretty good title, but it went through the usual hair-raising cycle.
1. While I was writing, the book had a working title: "Mrs Palin Reads a Naughty Story".
2. I got used to it and came dangerously close to using this misguided title for real.
3. I user-tested the title on friends. Someone asked, "But what's the sub-title?" Good question.
4. Just in time I got some radical advice: rip out the first chapter. Result: new title: "Scarlet Heels", sub-title: "26 Stories About Sex".
Does this remind you of editorial processes in your workplace? I figure since I wrote this book all alone for my own amusement, the sloppy development of a title was all part of the fun. But in the workplace, better not leave such things to chance!
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