Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Look what I got in the mail--the first pass pages for My Life with the Lincolns! It's so cool to know what the book is going to look like on the inside. Supposedly the typeface is going to change a bit, but I love how the designer has used the Lincoln hat motif throughout the book. Yay!

I also have a potential title for what I still think of as Pears. I spoke with my editor at Ballantine today (who I'll get to meet in person next week--I can't wait!) and she said the copywriting team came up with The Delta Girls and the publisher is very excited about it. Now, this is completely different from anything that I would have come up with on my own. When I first heard it, something inside me withered a bit. I thought it sounded like a book about sorority sisters (when I brought this up with my editor, she said they hadn't considered that and she would talk to the team about it.) It doesn't have the juiciness, the poetry of the titles that you all so generously recommended (thanks again for all of your input!) In this economic climate, though, the publisher is looking for marketability, not poetry, and they think The Delta Girls will sell.

I certainly know how a title can hurt a book--even though I love The Book of Dead Birds as a title, many readers have told me that it was off putting, that they never would have picked up the book if they hadn't had to for a book club or a class, and I'm sure the title did limit its audience. Part of me cringes to think about my title being chosen by committee, being chosen with numbers, not language, in mind, but of course I'm grateful to be in this position and grateful that they want my book to reach as many people as possible.

I ended up writing a new scene that makes The Delta Girls work on a couple of levels (right now, it's just connected to the fact that most of the story takes place in the Sacramento Delta) and if my editor gives the okay to include the scene in the novel, it will definitely help me make peace with the title. The final decision has to be made by noon tomorrow (Eastern time)--I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all of your help and support.

6 comments:

Andi said...

I had a similar reaction when you said "The Delta Girls," but that said, I will gladly read anything you write, my friend, and I'm sure others will, too.

Congrats on this whole world of writing though. How great

twilightme said...

The complexity of this decision is both intriguing and disturbing. Thanks for sharing a little bit of the underbelly of getting published. I love the title The Book of Dead Birds but my tastes are certainly not mainstream. Like Andi, I will read anything written by Gayle Brandeis. My confidence in her authorship goes far beyond the title.

Baylen said...

I love the Lincoln hat page. Do your publishers know what a wonderful reader you are? Every time I hear you at a book event, you have the audience in a state of hushed and rapt attention. You should read for the young girl on the audio tape.

The "Delta Girl" title sounds like a best seller to me.

I can't wait to read both books.

Your #1 fan,
Baylen

Laraine Herring said...

Hey darling Gayle -

Well, you know, Writing Begins with the Breath hurt my heart. I still have trouble with it in my mouth, but I can't argue w/its effectiveness as a title, even if it doesn't have the poetry I would have wanted. I also thought of sorority sisters when I read their idea -- I'll be interested to see what happens. We have to let this part go, as hard as it is. I love you! xoxo

Donna said...

Good luck with the book naming. I agree that The Delta Girls has a sorority association. I also agree with twilightme about The Book of Dead Birds.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I loved the title The Book of Dead Birds. I thought it was haunting. I guess, from what you say, not everybody felt that way. But I don't think the Delta Girls is all that bad, not if the cover art is really good.
I love the Lincoln hat and am quite excited to see that book when it comes out.