What’s in a Title?

One of the questions that I’ve been asked is how the title for my novel, Exiled Heart, was chosen. That’s a great question, as the title, along with the cover, are the two hooks that get a reader to actually pick up a book and consider reading it.

The process of choosing a title is an interesting one. When a manuscript is submitted to an agent or publisher, the author will have what’s called a working title. This title provides a working reference for when agents and publishers review the book, but most of the time, if not all of the time, it will change. Because it will most likely change, the author must not get too attached to the title.

This was true with Exiled Heart. When I submitted it to Comfort Publishing as a manuscript, the working title for it was The Calling. I figured, when I chose the title, that it represented what happened to Ziad throughout the novel. However, it quickly became apparent that this was not the best working title. We (Comfort Publishing reps and I), entered into a very interesting process to rename the book. First off, they researched the title The Calling and discovered many, many other books by something similar. Since the primary goal of the title is to get the novel to stand out, it simply had to change.

Then, both I and the publisher started on that new naming process. Separately, we embarked upon this task. My husband and I sat down one night at supper and just started throwing out words related to the novel. We came up with close a hundred. Then we started stringing words together that we felt made a good combination. I submitted the list of proposed titles. Meanwhile, at Comfort Publishing, they were doing the same. After all, the design of the cover couldn’t commence without a title. So in February, they sent me word of the title. Exiled Heart. I have to say that as I thought about it, I fell in love with it. Exiled Heart captures many of the themes in the book. Being forced from the homeland. The heart issues Ziad faces. The transformation of the heart. The strong romantic element throughout the book.

I imagine that many publishing houses and authors go through the same process. It’s a challenge. Perhaps a daunting challenge, but one of the most creative processes that can occur.

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