This happened to me with The Implosion of Aggie Winchester, which was formerly called Promgate. The sales force at Putnam ultimately decided that Promgate sounded too cheeky and light, and they wanted a title that conveyed the weight and magnitude of what the protagonist experiences in the book. Implosion was the solution, and I have to say — I love it.
Of course, I’m not the only one this has happened to. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby was initially called Trimalchio in West Egg.
These days, though, most changes are a little less high profile. Usually the sales force at a publisher contacts the editor, and asks the editor to convey to the author why/how the title needs to be modified. Ideally, the editor and author collaborate on new title options (maybe the agent too, as was the case with Promgate), and they choose one that makes everyone happy.
It’s not always that idyllic, of course. And it certainly happens with covers, too — which is a different blog post entirely.
But the takeaway is to remember that your title can change, and if it does, don’t let the sting of it wound you too deeply. At the end of the day, your publisher simply wants to sell more copies of your amazing work.
[Image source: Kimberly Hayle]