Changing Book Titles

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Does anyone ever read the bio information in blogs? Or do you read it the first time you read that writer’s blog and then just skim past it from then on? I think that’s probably what I do. Well, maybe I glance at it once in a while, but I don’t really read it when it’s a writer I’m familiar with.

Anyone who has been reading my bio information recently has probably noticed that the name of my pending book keeps changing. Probably a bit confusing in case you are actually waiting to purchase it.

Although I adopted the name Web Wisdom some months ago, the title never really resonated with me. Don’t know why i didn’t question it earlier, but I didn’t. I guess as a major event—like a hurricane or publishing your first book—looms closer you start having all sorts of second thoughts and third thoughts.

Those of you who are published probably remember what a momentous deal that first one was. Those who have never had one published have no idea the pressures involved, particularly when you self-publish. There are a million and one details to tie down, and you wonder about your handling of each one of them. At least I do.

Could the cover be prettier or more attention-getting? What do I put in my bio? Is the title the best I could come up with?

The other morning as I walked and talked with God, the title began to bother me more and more. I decided it didn’t convey anything meaningful to the potential book-buyer. I had to change it.

People who knew what the book is about had commented that it was like the Chicken Soup books. Okay, that’s it. I’ll name it Christian Chicken Soup. I changed the title to that in my bio information and had the cover changed to reflect it. All of this without discussing it with anyone.

Then I told my wife about it, and she said that was wrong. I absolutely couldn’t do that. Even though there’s no copyright on titles, it would sound like a cheap trick of hitchhiking on the back of the popular series. She suggested Heaven Sent instead. My dear friend Jillian Dodd had suggested this title awhile back, and I don’t know why I didn’t pick it then.

The next morning on my walk, I asked God to give me wisdom about the name. Later, at breakfast with a dear Christian friend who is familiar with the content, I told him I was going to list three possible titles and asked him to tell me which was most likely to elicit his interest in buying the book. When I gave him those three options, Web Wisdom was by far his least favorite and Heaven Sent, his favorite.

Heaven Sent Final[1]

So I emailed my cover designer, the wonderful Steena Holmes, once more and told her to charge me what she needed to but to make this change. Then I changed it again in my blog bios. I’ll try not to confuse you (or me) any more with this business.

What last-minute second-guessing have you experienced with book publication? Or with other major events in your life?

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imageDavid N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Heaven Sent: 67 Stories of Godly Thoughts and Inspiration and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.

Contact me at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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23 Responses to Changing Book Titles

  1. Texanne says:

    I’m so glad your wife put the kibosh on the Chicken Soup title. Heaven Sent is a wonderful title, and the cover is glorious. Great job! :)TX

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  2. Jenny Hansen says:

    David, I like this title so much better! And the book cover is GORGEOUS! Good luck on your launch…when is it?

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  3. Sue says:

    I changed my book title AFTER it was published. I didn’t think the title reflected the content. It sounded too dark.

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  4. Debra Kristi says:

    I really love your new book title, David. It’s what drew me here. I have in a quandary regarding my book title, but I still have time. I had one picked out then someone self published using that title and it became rather popular. Yes, I know you can’t copyright the title, but we are friends on twitter and she didn’t know I had that title for my book. It would be awkward. 😦

    You also bring up the bio, something I have been needing to rewrite for some time. Sigh. I had a decent one then changed it to make it short and snappy inspired by another. I really need to change it back. If only I could pull time out of a bottle! I’d be rich!!! 😀

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  5. Hello David – I believe reading a bio on a blog or anywhere else is as important as reading a prologue in a book. A well written bio provides the flavor and tone of the writing and thoughts I’m about to experience.

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  6. Marcia says:

    Love this title and this cover, David! My sistas are amazing aren’t they? Steena will be doing my cover, too!
    I’m just beginning to get into the fray that is self-publishing and it quite intimidating! Kudos to you for working through it!

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  7. Barbara Estinson says:

    Though I’ve never had a book (or anything else) published, David, I can imagine the agony of the details you have been wrestling with. I too like
    “Heaven Sent” and your cover. And you know what? I think I’ll buy a copy!

    Love ya….. Barb

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  8. Jess Witkins says:

    I think Heaven Sent is a wonderful title! It resonates more for your topic matter and who you are as a writer. The cover turned out beautiful! Keep us posted, David, and I wish you much success!

    P.S. You still haven’t told me what brings you up to WI in a month! Curious minds want to know. And I’m making a list of good restaurants. 😉

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  9. Beautiful title and cover!

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  10. Jillian Dodd - YA Author says:

    I had seen some of your earlier book cover and this is by far the best one. Your collaboration with Steena was a good one. It’s really beautiful and a book I’ll be proud to own. Congrats!! I know how hard you’ve worked to get to this point!

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  11. Oh, David, how do I second and third guess myself, let me count the ways…

    Whoop! My calculator is in the house I’m too comfy enthralled with your words to leave my seat. My first two mss? I changed names on them no less than five times each. When rejections began to roll in, I took a journey through rewrite he** (didn’t know if it was okay to use that word on your blog), without packing a clue on what was wrong with the books. Different versions. Different titles. Attempting to find what I thought were bites of brilliance became a Marco Polo game during final rewrite.

    On to your cover: I love it. The title. The visual. I love everything about it. And, I’m sure I’ll love the contents when you give your baby wings to fly the net.

    As for your question: If it’s an author with whom I’m familiar, the book could be titled Do Not Read This or My Worst One Ever, and I’d buy it. Pictures have a stronger impact on me, and not necessarily in a good way.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some extremely talented writers whose books (in the romance genre) have depth and character development and plotting that are (IMHO) NYT worthy. Yet, they’re marketed with a cover that suggests it’s all about secks, (cleverly disguised wordplay, don’t you think?). If I didn’t know the author, I wouldn’t pick up that particular book. And, I write steamy romance, so it’s not a prude factor by an stretch of my over-active-imagination. They simply give the impression that this a fat book-a-month category romance. Nothing wrong with those books or writers. They just aren’t my type of read. I want more depth.

    Not unlike this novella masquerading as a comment. Now, I’m off to work on my retitled WIP (third one, so far) and quadruple guess each word, each sentence, each paragraph, each scene…

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  12. Karlene says:

    I love Heaven Sent. Beautiful.
    Second guessing… I think my second guessing always comes after the point of no return. Prior to, I run ideas around and beat them up. Use my process. Then I decided. But as I wait for whatever it is, I have that moment of “what if.”
    Then I remember… Whatever the outcome, it was my choice. My earlier inspiration. And there will be lessons to learn. I guess I know those lessons will always arrive. Perhaps they are heaven sent.
    Have a great day! You already have a great title!

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