• Carmine Valentine

Funny how All Fired Up got its name



Some authors don’t even worry about the book’s title until they’ve typed ‘The End’. I need a title, at least what’s called a ‘working title’ before I can write the first word. Sometimes I think that I’ve come up with the best title in the world. Until a little voice in my head reminds me not to love it too much because the purpose of the ‘working title’ is only to help with creativity, like mood music, or the weatherman’s forecast. The purpose of the weather forecast is to help you plan your day; sandals with those jeans or booties. When I’m done with the book, and it has a book cover, the purpose of the title changes. It now needs to help sell the book.

But I can’t think of a new title just based on the content of the story. The title needs to work with the cover more than what’s behind the cover. My job now as a self-publisher is to come up with both a cover and book title to make it into the hands of a mystery reader. All Fired Up originally had a beautiful pink cover with a man and a woman on the verge of embracing. Great cover, if I wanted to grab the attention of romance readers. And I did, at first! Until I'd received enough frank feedback from disappointed romance readers who basically said, “this is a mystery, not a romance.” That’s when I had to be very direct with myself. I was trying to get into the romance market simply because the romance genre has a bigger slice of the literary sales pie when it comes to book sales. It’s a hot market. And I wanted in on that piece of the pie. But I wasn’t being true to myself or the readers I was initially aiming for. Which led me to listen to some good advice knowing that it meant work ahead for me. Someone told me, “you should write what you love and not what you think will sell.” So, I bowed out of the romance genre and acknowledged that I’m a mystery writer. Although, I’m a sucker for romance, and because of that, there will always be romance in my stories, just not enough to ever compete in a romance literary contest, again.

Back to the book’s packaging and the perfect title. I could no longer dress it up as a romance. I had to change covers and I was lucky enough to find yet another talented book cover designer. I fell instantly in love with what is now the cover of All Fired Up. It had the mysterious elements I wanted. Now I needed a title to go with the cover. And this is where I drove completely off the road in how I intended to come up with a title. In the past, my titles were words I pulled from the story. Seemed like a good way to me to come up with a title. That’s not what happened. I was online getting ready to place my order for this fantastic book cover, and as I was filling out the order form, the title I was getting ready to type in just didn’t fit with the cover I wanted. It’s like changing outfits. The shoes no longer rocked the dress. I was stumped. The clock was ticking. I wanted to purchase the book cover before another writer found it and laid claim to it. I sat there racking my brain, knowing I wanted to keep it simple. No more than three words was my new rule. The television happened to be on just for background noise. Half of my brain was listening to the sitcom that centered around the funnier side of domestic family life. One of the characters said, “What’s she all fired up about?” Yes, light bulbs do come on in your brain with blazing illumination! I typed in All Fired Up on the order form and hit the send button.

I’m currently at work on final revisions for the next book. I’ve tossed the creative ‘working title’ and now have the final title. Three simple words that one half of my brain heard while I was trying to focus on something else. Funny how life works like that. So, here’s my current pattern for coming up with a book title. Start with a title to act as mood music, finish the book, then sit back and relax, and listen to what’s going on around me. Three simple words are bound to present themselves in a most unexpected out-of-the-blue way. OMG! There’s a title for a book. ‘Out of the Blue’. Wait! That’s not how this is supposed to work. That’s four words not three. And the working title needs to come first. What a dilemma! Oh well. In the meantime, I wonder what Out of the Blue is going to be about?


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