What's in a name?

Did Shakespeare get it wrong?

But what about its title?

I’ve been pondering that question for a while now, even before the release (and I’m very pleased to say the success) of Kill Plan, a book with a title that pretty much says what it does on the tin.

The Background
Lots of experts agree that the three essential ingredients you need to pique a browsing reader’s interest are: great looking cover, strong title and enticing book description.

I’ve blogged about covers a wee bit before. But the title issue I’ve not really touched on. Mainly I think because I didn’t know what I was doing when I previously decided on suitable book names and gave one or two of them the wrong titles. When I say wrong, I suppose I mean unhelpful. A title should do the same heavy lifting as a cover – it needs to convey what genre the book sits in, as well as be eye-catching and memorable.

The book under scrutiny
Although the title The Third Estate fits with the subject matter of the second Angela Tate mystery (and even has a second, more literary meaning to boot), a reader won’t discover that until they’ve at least read the blurb, but most probably they’d need to read the book to fully appreciate it. So the title is NOT DOING ITS JOB!! It’s supposed to pull potential readers in, not seem apt when a reader is half way through the ruddy story!

The Solution
So… even though I’ve convinced myself many times not to make a change (it’s such a lot of work and there is a risk that readers of The Third Estate might inadvertently buy the book with a new title and feel thoroughly hoodwinked) I am nevertheless now taking the plunge.

Drum roll please…
The Third Estate will become The Deadly Silence. The new title fits the book just as well as the old one (maybe even a little better) and it does shout ‘mystery’ rather than… erm… I’m not sure The Third Estate shouted anything at all other than this author is trying to be clever (see the Wikipedia entry for Third Estate here). And lord knows I’d never claim to be that!

I’ve created the new text for the cover (though I’m not changing the image, as I don’t want anyone to think this is a new book) and I’ll make the changes to every mention of The Third Estate as quickly as I can. Here’s a peek at the new cover:

The Deadly Silence

I’ll report back here how the name change goes in terms of feedback, sales and any other difference it makes. Wish me luck, I’m rolling up my sleeves and going in.


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