It seems that some authors start with a title and then write the story to go with it. I envy them. I always struggle with titles. My WIPs always have a working title but I usually know it’s not the right one. Or sometimes I don’t realize just how wrong it is until I’ve finished.
A good title can make all the difference – especially when it comes to hooking a reader. It has to jump out at them from the shelf in the library or classroom – or even at the book store. A good title is memorable – and unique enough to be remembered after a word of mouth recommendation.
This book is beautifully written and it’s filled with things that a certain eleven year old boy I know loves — and even more that he would find interesting: there’s a bit of baseball, exploring, seeing a whale up close and personal, it’s based on a true place, and it’s about a boy learning to be a man. Guy stuff!
But he shunned it when I brought it home. The title does not sound like a “boy book.” It sounds like it’s Lizzie’s story – which it is, but through Turner’s very male eyes and experience. And though the cover is charming to me, it seriously endangers the likelihood that a boy reader is going to be drawn to it. Of course you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but of course you do. And the standards are high when you are an eleven year old boy…
It seems that it’s hard enough to get boys reading – don’t pretty-fy their books.
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK