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What’s In A Title? June 18, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in Uncategorized.

MediaMonday for June 25, 2012: Killing Your Darlings. Veronia Roth recently wrote this post about killing off characters in her hugely popular Divergent series. GalleyCat collected a few other snippets from authors about character demise. Read the links above, then join us today to discuss in #litchat.

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can tell a lot about a novel by its title. Consider Junot Diaz’s The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, or Susan Straight’s I’ve Been to Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots. These titles allude to what lies within, without telling the story itself. Other titles, such as At Swim-Two Birds by Flann O’Brien or To Kill A Mockingbird, reflect on important themes or events in the story, but don’t hint to what readers will find inside the pages. What makes a good title? Does gut reaction to a title affect a book’s sales? Why do agents and editors often change an author’s title? We’ll discuss these questions and more on Wednesday and Friday in #litchat.

Michelle Brower in #litchatFriday’s guest host, Michelle Brower, literary agent at Folio Literary Management, joins us as guest host on Friday, June 29. Brower began her career in publishing in 2004 while studying for her Master’s degree in English Literature at New York University, and has been hooked ever since. During that time, she assisted the agents Wendy Sherman and Joelle Delbourgo, and found herself in love with the process of discovering new writers and helping existing writers further their careers. After graduating, she became an agent with Wendy Sherman Associates, and there began representing books in many different areas of fiction and non-fiction. In 2009, she joined Folio Literary Management, where she is looking for literary fiction, thrillers, high-quality commercial fiction that transcends genre, and narrative non-fiction. She enjoys digging into a manuscript and working with authors to make their project as saleable as it can be, and her list includes the authors S.G. Browne, Julia Wertz, Todd Ritter, and Michele Young-Stone among many others.



1. theblogofbrent - June 29, 2012

Interesting. While I would argue that a book’s cover is almost or just as important as the title in framing the consumer’s initial judgement of a book, this is a discussion I’d very much like to follow.

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