Sunday, June 15

PROMO WEEK: CHOOS v SHOES

Since my most recent book for teens - ME, IN BETWEEN - came out in March, and since so many older teens read my adult books, at least the comedies, I hope no one will mind if the book I promo today is BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SHOES. It's my fifth and, as far as I know, my final book for Red Dress Ink.

"Baby" is the nickname of Delilah Sampson, an obsessive compulsive window washer who turns to her father's profession - casino blackjack - in order to finance her most recent obsession: Jimmy Choos. As her story progresses, Baby finds herself drawn towards two men: Billy Charisma, a tuxedo-wearing professional gambler whose name says it all, and Chris, a follow-your-dream kind of guy whose own ambition is to excel at being a yo-yoist.

I rarely complain publicly about anything to do with publishing: 1) because it's mostly a futile exercise; and 2) because it's usually bad form. But I'm going to complain a little bit today.

The book I originally turned in, over two years ago, was titled BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF CHOOS. No one questioned the title, no one made a fuss...until a few weeks ago when I received an email informing me that the legal department at RDI had decided that unless they could get someone at Jimmy Choo to OK the title, it would need to be changed. And now I've been informed that, having been unable to get anyone at Jimmy Choo to return their calls, the title has been changed. Not much dismays me about publishing - I've even been asked to change a few of my titles in the past when the people in marketing or whatever have decided that they wanted a change - but I am dismayed by this, because sometimes a title is perfect for a book. Can you imagine if THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA had instead been titled THE DEVIL WEARS HIGH FASHION? No, I didn't think so. It doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it? So now I feel I've gone from a title that was terrific and catchy - and one that was fully expressive of all dimensions of the book - to one that is substantially less so.

Ah, well. Thanks for listening to me whine.

So here's my promo bid for today: please preorder my book, no matter what its title, and encourage your friends to do the same, because the best revenge I've ever found in publishing is good sales.

QUESTION OF THE DAY FOR WRITERS: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ASKED TO CHANGE A TITLE AND, IF SO, WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE RESULT?

QUESTION FOR READERS: HAVE YOU EVER READ A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS GREAT BUT ALSO THOUGHT THAT THE TITLE WAS BAD OR BORING OR JUST DIDN'T FIT THE BOOK?

Be well. Don't forget to write.

36 comments:

lindajsingleton said...

I've had quite a few titles changed, most were okay with me but a few were disappointments. I sold my first book (a midgrade) under the title THE TWIN OF FRANKIE STEIN and they changed it to ALMOST TWINS. I sold my Berkley REGENERATION series under the title of SCI-CLONES. And my THE SEER series was sold under the title PSYCHIC SLEUTH.

I'm usually not happy at first with a title change, but it grows on me.

Regardless, I agree with your disappointment and think your title suffers in the change. But your fans will follow you regardless of titles. Good luck!

Kathy Holmes said...

I hear what you're saying, Lauren, because the original title is very clever. But, truthfully, I didn't know about the title change and thought the new title was catchy and said to myself, "Yep, this sounds like another fabulous Lauren Baratz-Logsted book."

It's still a good title because in this case it's a play on a famous saying all by itself - unlike "The Devil Wore High Fashion." :)

It's going to be a bit hit!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Linda, thank you for the empathy. I've actually had title changes where I couldn't even remember the new title. When one of my books was retitled SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE, I kept promoing it as SCENES FROM MY SUBURBAN LIFE!

Kathy, thank you for the kind words. Here's hoping you're right! Although I suspect you think I have more fans than I actually do.

Lauren said...

QUESTION FOR READERS: HAVE YOU EVER READ A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS GREAT BUT ALSO THOUGHT THAT THE TITLE WAS BAD OR BORING OR JUST DIDN'T FIT THE BOOK?

Though I am sensitive to titles and dust jacket designs -- I love both -- and I thought the change to your title was a bit diluting for those who know what Choos are (I'm not one of them), it nevertheless works. It's kind of like salsa spiced up with habañero peppers (Choos) rather than jalapeno ones (shoes). Still good, just not the same.

Good luck with the book!

Melissa Walker said...

Lauren, Can you show us the cover? I think the visual will override the title, at least for bookstore browsers. I hear you on the title change, but the new title is certainly a catchphrase, as Kathy says, and you DO have tons of fans (count me! I cannot put down "SECRETS...").

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Lauren!

Melissa, I keep trying to open the file with the new cover and it keeps crashing my computer so I'm going to link to the CHOOS version:

http://laurenbaratzlogsted.com/html/books_for_adults.html

I assume the new cover will look the same, except with just that one word swapped.

Barbara Caridad Ferrer said...

Oh, ARGH, Lauren, how unbelievably frustrating. Especially since it took until NOW for it to happen. (I mean, d'uh, this hadn't occurred to anyone in over two years?) And my first thought was about DEVIL WEARS PRADA too. It wouldn't have been the same with a different title.

My title woe was slightly different from yours—my first publisher desperately wanted a Spanish word in the title and we went around and around trying to come up with something. My original title idea had been "Light My Fire" after the Doors song and at some point, someone asked, "Well, what's the Spanish word for 'fire' and I stupidly told them."

And Marketing decided that "Light My Fuego" was just a groovy title. While I sat there and went, "Nooooooo, it's really, really, really not." And I begged and cajoled and bargained with everything I had, all the while scared out of my head that they were going to snatch my contract away because it was my first book and this was something I was actually being slightly difficult about, but honestly, I couldn't let it go out with a title like "Light My Fuego."

Finally, they caved and "Adiós to My Old Life" was born.

Thank GOD.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

OMG, Barb! Light My FUEGO??? Btw, I love the title Adios To My Old Life. And yes, couldn't they have switched my title on me two years ago? Ah, publishing! Ah, life!

Jennifer said...

Lauren, that su**ks. Your original title was perfect. The new title is good too, but needs the cover to explain it. When I first read it, I thought it was referring to any actual baby (as in heartbreak story about single mom who can't afford shoes for baby). But the new title is catchy and combined with the cover and your reputation you will be fine!
Jennifer

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks you, Jennifer! But...what reputation???

Manic Mom said...

I'm so mad for you! That just SUCKS! And you made a great point about the Prada book. Did they have to ask someone at Prada to OK the book title? And why can't someone just send Jimmy Choo and email saying, "If we don't hear back from you by a certain time, we'll assume it's OK to use the title." In fact, I'd send a registered letter. That's just too big of a title change and says so much for your book.

REGISTERED LETTER! REGISTERED LETTER!!!!

That's MY VOTE!

Kristin said...

Sadly, I think "The Devil Wore Prada" was 'allowed' to use that in the title b/c of who the author was and the big push by the publisher to make it a bestseller.

No offense to you, Lauren!

However, the publisher tried to get the title approved. I would be upset at the Jimmy Choo people over the publisher. I still think it's a cute title...

:-)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Manic Mom. Ironically, while writing the book I had plenty of contact with the Choo people because I wanted to make sure certain details were authentic. The people I was in touch with knew I was working on a novel, knew what the title was, and no one said boo.

Kristin, that's an interesting point. And I don't know if that's the case. That said, you'd think the Prada people would have more to complain about - their product is worn by the Devil! - where my ttle casts Choos in a favorable light.

Cara King said...

Oh, Lauren, that's tough!

Though I think, looking at the cover on your website, that it probably won't make much difference in the bookstore. Catchy cover, and though the new title is definitely not as great as the original, at least it's not "Light My Fuego" or something! :-)

As for our own titles...I've only had one book out, and I was *very* glad when I heard they were keeping my original title.

Cara

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

I can understand that gladness, Cara! The only title I ever thought in advance a publisher would balk at was VERTIGO, because of the incredibly popular movie by the same name, but that one I got to keep no problem.

Gabrielle said...

I'm sorry, Lauren! The answer to your second question is: yes, I can definitely remember great books with strange titles. Normally the titles are just too generic: but it rarely works against the book. One I'm unhappy with right now is Catherine Gilbert Murdoch's "Princess Ben." Again with the generic title: her fiction is impeccable and the book is quirky enough to deserve a more original name.

That's interesting that they rejected the Choos. There's a great British book by Annie Sanders called "Good-bye, Jimmy Choo." Agh! The crazy publishing world. Maybe you should ask for a British lawyer.

Cara King said...

Hm! Vertigo -- yes, I'd have guessed that would be changed, too. Shows how much I know! ;-)

On a related topic, it occurred to me that whenever any of my relatives referred to my Regency as "The Lady Gamester" instead of its proper title, "My Lady Gamester," I've always been silently but strongly frustrated...

Definitely not something I would ever correct them over, but part of me inside was always steaming "It's NOT the same thing. The Lady Gamester would be a lame, lame title, but My Lady Gamester is WAY better..." :-)

We do take our titles seriously, don't we? It would be like someone calling you "Laura" and when you tell them it's "Lauren" saying, well, it's the same thing, isn't it? (No!)

Cara (who's really a totally easygoing person, just ask my cat)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Gabrielle, I'm actually aware of the British Choo book - that's one of the things that makes this so maddening!

Cara, funny you should use the Laura/Lauren example. My oldest girlfriend - we've been friends for 31 years - during college we became Ra and Ren because people kept calling us each Laur all the time - as if we were the same person!

bettye griffin said...

I'm in the midst of a title dilemma right now. It's been going on for months. We just can't seem to come up with anything we all like.

The art department has begun to design the cover of this still-untitled book.

Never has naming a book been such a royal pain.

Amanda Ashby said...

Lauren, that is such a suck. I remember seeing your title ages and thinking how brilliant it was. I guess it's more annoying because if they'd decided to pursue it sooner perhaps it could've been sorted out.

Terri said...

I thought Choos was brilliant! The publishers are doing themselves a great disservice. What idiots! Ooops. I said that out loud, didn't I? Well, in my mood of commiseration, I pre-ordered BABY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF CHOOS okay, okay SHOES and the first SISTERS EIGHT book! I look forward to them both, no matter what their title! For some ladies, as long as "shoe" is in the title, it's a go, baby. I wish you massive sales!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Bettye, here's hoping for a speedy and satusfying resolution for you - BETTYE NEEDS A NEW TITLE!

Thanks, Amanda! 'Sush a suck' is such a great phrase.

Thanks you, Terri, for buying x 2!

Mandy said...

EEk. Titles are so tough becuase I think, after the cover, its the next thing a writer considers. Maybe even before, sincce you usually only get the spine to see!

My book just sold a week ago, called PRADA AND PREJUDICE, and they're talking title change too! Apparently "prada" is overdone, thanks to--you guessed it--the devil wears prada. GAH! It stinks becuase it wraps the whole book up in a nice bow.

At least shoes rhymes with choo, and if you say it really fast, no one will notice you're still saying choo. :-). Not sure anything rhymes with prada. :-(

~Mandy
www.mandyhubbard.com

Melissa Walker said...

Ooh, Mandy, what about Proenza and Prejudice? Too inaccessible (they DID do a Target line!)?

Melissa Walker said...

PS-Lauren, the cover you sent is gorgeous and just your style! This title will fly off the shelves. :)

Wendy Toliver said...

I agree with Melissa, hon. I know sometimes our titles or covers aren't to our likings, but I guess it makes those perfect title or cover times even more exciting. It's going to do great, hon.

Sara Hantz said...

Lauren, what a bummer. I love the original title. The cover is fabulous, though, and I'm betting it will do really well.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Oh, Mandy! I hope you get to keep it - I *love* that title.

Thank you, Melissa - here's hoping you're right!

Thanks, Wendy and Sara!

I must say, you-all are making me feel a lot better. Maybe I should whine in public more often!

Alyson Noel said...

The second thing my acquiring editor said to me after offering me the book deal was- "We really need to change the title, how about FAKING 19?" And I immediately agreed, recognizing that it was FAR FAR better than my original of M & I (bad, I know.) She then went on to title ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS when I couldn't come up with a good one on my own, and FLY ME TO THE MOON was once, FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT, so mine have all changed for the better. And while I like an interesting title, it's never a make or break. I'm far more interested in the story, the author, and the cover, so don't worry- your book will do great because YOUR NAME is on it!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

HA!, Alyson! Oh yes, my name is worth so much. :)

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Oh man, Lauren, I totally empathize. What a perfect title and a silly reason to take it away. :( Especially since you were in touch with the company doing research!
I went through angst with my title, but it turned out for the best. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone was a originally All Roads Lead to Rock & Roll, which summed up the book quite nicely but was not “catchy” according to marketing. They wanted a song title or for me to name drop a punk musician. I had an extensive list of ideas that I sent, thinking the best was probably Punk Rock Girl although worrying they’d not like that because it was too similar to another MTV Books title, Graffiti Girl. I never thought they’d actually take IWBYJR because it was too long and they wanted short and it’s not a song by a mainstream band, it’s Sleater-Kinney, but I thought the song summed up my main character perfectly. Fortunately because of the Joey Ramone reference, they loved it and now I can’t imagine it with any other title.
For right now, they are okay with the title of my second book, but I live in fear that some moody marketing person will take that away because clearly, you never know.
But your book is still gonna do awesome. How could it not? With that concept. I’m really excited about it and off to preorder!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thank you so much, Stephanie, and that Joey Ramone title ROCKS!

Liviania said...

Stephanie, I like the current title but I wish they would've let you keep the Dead Milkmen reference. I love their work.

Lauren, I think the new title works. Choos/shoes rhymes and I still get the basic idea of what she needs, if not the specific. Well, shoes makes me think she needs sneakers rather than heels, but it still has the same sound.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Liviania - and what a cool name you have!

Gerb said...

First, do you ever sleep???

Second, when I sold Death by Bikini, it had a completely different name. My daughter was the one who suggested the title and it created a whole "Death by" premise for the series. Yay, Jenna!

As for titles that are lame... my dear friend Kate Coombs wrote a fairy tale parody she had snarkily titled Not This Princess. It fit the sharp wit and tone of the book. Her publisher in their infinite wisdom renamed it Runaway Princess (meh) and gave her a truly dull cover (sorry, but it's true.) Kate wisely holds contests for kids to design their own covers.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Gerb, I sleep a lot more than I used to. Yea! for yuor daughter for being a natural titler. Alas, poor Kate. I, too, have had covers I have not loved.