17 Things: Alternate Debut Titles

What’s the hardest part of writing a novel?  Plotting and pacing?  Snappy yet realistic dialogue?  Compelling, relatable characters?

Nope, nope and nope.  It’s figuring out what to call the damn thing.  Every writer wants an attention-grabbing title, one that lets a potential reader know what the book’s about and leaves them dying to read it!  Easier said than done.  The quest for the ideal title requires a lot of brainstorming and soul-searching, with plenty of comedic results.  Read on for some alternate titles for the Swanky 17ers’ debuts!

1. “School Lunch Sucks” or “How Yodels Saved My Life”

Ruth Lehrer, BEING FISHKILL, Candlewick Press, Fall 2017


2. “The Enemy of My Enemy is Freaking Terrifying”

Allison K. Hymas, UNDER LOCKER AND KEY, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, April 18, 2017



3. Kale’s title: “How I Keep Almost Dying”
Harper’s title: “That Hot Guys Who Keeps Disappearing”

Gwen Cole, COLD SUMMER, Sky Pony/Sky Horse, May 2, 2017



4. Title brainstorming is the WORST/BEST:

Actually written down on a list of potential titles before realizing what it meant: “Breaking the Wind”

Alternatively, “Wouldn’t this all be simpler if you just tell me who my dad is”

Natalie C. Anderson, QUEEN OF SAINTS AND THIEVES, GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, January 24, 2017


5.  My editor, agent, and I had 3 conference calls to try and retitle my book. My husband kept texting me stupid ideas. The best one was “Clearance Sail:  All Princes Must Go,” and I couldn’t stop laughing. (Main character is sailing… on a boat… with an obnoxious prince.)

Sarah Tolcser, SONG OF THE CURRENT, Bloomsbury, June 2017




6. “Preteen Orphans Try to Steal Things, Come Up with Terrible Plans, and Generally Get Into Trouble”

Alexandra Ott, RULES FOR THIEVES, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, Summer ’17


7.  “The Definitive Theoretical Treatise on the Art and Science of Social Media: A Thriller.”(I’m still holding out for this title change to be honest.)

A.V. Geiger, FOLLOW ME BACK, Sourcebooks Fire, Summer ’17


images (1).jpg

8.  I was told “The Birds and the Bees” would not be an attractant to readers of dark paranormal YA.

Meg Kassel, BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS, Entangled Teen, Fall ’17


9.  “Every Girl Loves a Fry Bouquet”

Jilly Gagnon, #famous, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, February 14, 2017



10.  “Why People Who Sign Their Email with ‘Best’ are Twits”

Christina June, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, HarperCollins/Blink, May 9, 2017




11.  I have literally dozens of alternate titles. My favorite:

“Me, Emily Dickinson, and the Daughter of the Dragon King”

Misa Suguira,  IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET, HarperCollins/HarperTeen, Summer ’17


12.  “Black, White and Red All Over.” This was my husband’s very unhelpful attempt at brainstorming a new title (My book has a class color ranking system system using white and black…and people shoot at each other, hence the red all over).

Caitlin Sangster, LAST STAR BURNING, Simon Pulse, Fall 2017


13.  “Treasure Island,” but I heard it was taken. ;)

Tracey Neithercott, GRAY WOLF ISLAND, Random House/Knopf, Fall ’17



14.  “Steam and Spice” was a title I considered until I realized it sounded like erotica instead of a MG fantasy about a chef. ;)

Kati Bartowski, A DASH OF DRAGON, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, Summer 2017




15.  “If Jack Sparrow Were a Woman”

Tricia Levenseller, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, February ’17


16.  “Why Won’t She Eat Food”

Stephanie Elliot, SAD PERFECT, FSG/Margaret Ferguson Books, February ’17



17.  “I Hate Puppets”

Sarah Cannon, ODDITY, Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, Fall 2017


Images courtesy of Better Book Titles 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s