When the new year begins, everyone has a few goals they wish to meet by the next time we complete our trip around our local star. Lose weight. Increase your productivity. Achieve financial stability. Get in touch with that old friend who spilled coffee on your shoes that one time. Everyone has a goal, and I had mine.
Now it is time to fulfil that goal.
About two months ago, I had a talk with some people who told me the title for my book was not very good. After much reflection, I agreed and decided to put my query letter process on hold pending a new title.
So I started to brainstorm, compiling a list of title after title, thinking up new ones day after day, week after week, and eventually month after month. As of yesterday, my list reached 334.
This process was not very much fun for me. I became quite depressed at my inability to find a string of words that summed up my book, and that certainly didn’t help me think of anything new.
I just got back from a two week long vacation to see family and friends, during which time I didn’t do any writing. Something dawned on me then. If I didn’t continue the query process soon, I would likely be stuck on this title thing for a long while. During that while, the same mundanity would greet me day after day, and no progress would be made to achieve the dream. Just the same routine, going to the store some days, going to the internship the others, and still needing help to support myself in this expensive city.
So I did the only sensible thing and set myself a time limit. If I couldn’t come up with a title by my arrival back to Los Angeles, I would simply pick my favorite out of the list and use that one for my query letters.
These last two months I have had much time to reflect, and realized the rejection letters didn’t hurt me at all. At least when getting those emails there was a feeling of accomplishment that went along with them. Stuff was getting done. Without sending the queries, I could not help but feel trapped. Those rejection letters became preferable to the tedious work that had become my existence.
Well, I have returned to Los Angeles, and looked through that list, and picked a title. It may not be a great title, but it is a good one.
Maybe that is how it goes sometimes. Good, perhaps even mediocre titles can be elevated by their source material. Take for example simple titles like Predator and Jaws. On their own these words are pretty unremarkable, but when attached to their respective stories, they become something more.
Many possibilities for my fantasy epic came and went. Dragonstorm, Shard of Oblivion, Masters of the Firestorm, Seekers of the Dark Shard, Raging Scarlet, things that sounded promising but were already taken, were too complicated, and so forth. But last night during my flight home, one came to me. A simple two word title that summed up my protagonist’s skewed view of the world, and contained more than a hint of irony. It wasn’t a great title, but it was a good one.
You know what? I’m okay with good. Good is simple. Good is easy to say. Good fits on a jacket. Good is easy to remember.
Is there a better title out there? Perhaps. But I am 27 years old. I have been out of college for about two years now, and want t0 start living again. When I first came to this city, I came with a spirit of adventure and excitement, wondering what the next day might bring. It was due to this that I was able to finish a solid draft of my first book in less than a year.
During those last two months, while working at the store, I didn’t stop thinking about the book. How much it meant to me, how eager I was to share it, and where the story would go from here.
I have at least three more of these things to write before the story reaches its conclusion. So many exciting visions and ideas came during my dull and dreary job, and they once again left me feeling invigorated and enthusiastic. There was just that one nagging thought.
If only I had a name.
Well now we have a name. And now the letters will begin again.
My output will not be nearly as high for these query letters. I will be taking great care with each and every one of them. I will study successful queries and model my letters after them. I will change my language to be more confident and self assured. And most importantly, I will have a new name for what I am giving them.
In the meantime I will explore options for an editor, and we will continue to churn out our illustrations and concept art as quickly as we can. I recently have started another read through of the book to edit it down and search for typos, so I updated the sample chapters with these new edits. Hope you enjoy reading them.
Well, it is 2016. Time to get busy.