BOOK TITLES by Gene K. Garrison
Are you ready for another problem? This one concerns titles: they’re changing.
It’s not a bad thing, just different. Progress maybe?
If you’re looking for a scapegoat, blame it on the Internet. It likes titles short.
I am the perfect example of how not to title a book. I didn’t even realize it until recently. Take the first one, From Thunder to Breakfast. What’s it about? The answer: Hube Yates, pioneer, memoir,
Southwesterner, humorist, athlete, family man, hero, firefighter, dude wrangler, horseman.
Not only did I write the book, but I chose the title. Why? I’ve asked myself that a few dozen times. It has nothing to do with breakfast. Every time he used that expression while telling me his stories I would smile.
He explained to me that in Texas they say “from hell to breakfast” when they meant that something is scattered all over the place. He was a preacher’s son, so he substituted the word thunder for the word hell. And sometimes he was in a thunder of a fix.
Does my title describe the book? Hell, no.
It’s too inside. Readers get it halfway into the book, but that’s a little late.
What title would one use to search for it on the Internet? What should it have been?
Perhaps “Hube Yates Stories.”
A couple of years ago I was signing that book along with Hugh Downs, who wrote the foreword to it. He had just given a talk about Hube Yates at the Cave Creek Library in Arizona. Between signings I told him about my Cave Creek book. He mentioned a book he owns “with a very long title.”
I asked, “There’s Something About Cave Creek”?
He smiled broadly. “That’s it!”
He hadn’t noticed the name of the author, but he remembered that the title was long. I really tried to make it short. At first I called it Creekers, then looked it up in the Internet and found that there was already a book by that name on the market — a dark mystery genre. Oops!
I knew I must use the Cave Creek name in its title, but there had been other books written about the town and it’s people, so mine had to be different.
Maybe Cave Creek Characters would have worked, but searchers would have to remember the name of the town.
I had a terrible time putting it on Kindle. Not only did it not like the length of the title, but it also didn’t like the apostrophe in There’s.
There were many technical issues, and I’m no techie. I had to call for help.