Sunday, July 08, 2007

Audience Poll

Kind Readers,

I have five working titles for my novel [until now called only 'the subway novel' because that's where I wrote a good chunk of it], and I want to get your impressions of them. Knowing that few of you have read anything more than an occasional excerpt, I just want your impressions of the titles on their own, as if you had never heard of me or the novel and were browsing your local bookstore for something new.

Would any of these arouse your curiosity? Make you want to pick up the book and read the back flap? Which of the five is most likely/least likely to do so? What would you think the story was about based on the title? What do they bring to your mind? Do they all suck? Should I scrap them all and start fresh in the morning?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Here are the titles:

Thanks for your help.

Labels: ,

All actually really good names-- catchy, but not too overthought.

I personally like "Control Freaks and Skeptics" (but I'm in psychology, so I would like something like that!), but I think "Living in the Dirt" is my top one.
I prefer The Skeptical Nomads. It evokes curiosity.
Living in the Dirt

grabbed my attention; short title with a lot of different interpretations that would at least make me pick it up and read the fly leaf.



and to your wife Thank You for doing what she can.
Living in the dirt

hands down. I would pick it up, scan the cover, pull out my Books-a-million card, take my discount, and take her home!

The nice thing about the publishing business is that they will often provide you with a title or a headline they select themselves...takes the load off you.
...Like in my one piece of being down and out, of uh, living in the dirt.

Some fuzzy-eared sub-editor had set the headline: Dumpster Diving and Dining."

So I wouldn't sweat the titles too much, though I identify with your quest for the good book, the good title.
The title of yours that I like best is "Control Freaks and Skeptics"--but I think I'd put an H.L. Mencken edge to it.
How about "Control Freaks and Other Optimists"?
We know for sure that control freaks are in control of less and less, fewer and fewer people as folks catch onto them.

That's my fifty-cents worth anyway.


living in the dirt

it evokes a bluesy kind of vibe,
like the song "sleeping in the ground". But it describes a social condition and suggests an outlook, as all titles will, or should, do.

All of your ideas are good, but don't rule out what may hit you tomorrow or in a minute or two. Those ideas might be your best ideas yet. You probably asked everyone else that you know well a million times about this before putting it to post.

Look around you and make sure you characterize you work, but not over think it, as everyone is saying.

Living in the Dirt is a really good title.

If you go with something else, think of a variation that is along the lines of that theme--don't stray far if you do.
My vote: Control Freaks and Other Skeptics.

I like the first part, the Control Freaks - but I am not so sure about the Other Skeptics bit.
I haven't read anything that you wrote but "Living in the Dirt" caught my eye.
I want to say Broken Social Contract, but I think that Control Freaks and Skeptics would probably draw the eye more.
I actually kinda like the title "Th Subway Novel" - gives it a dark, kinda mysterious ring to it... you wouldn't know what to expect! :)
All are good names, but i dunno what you should chose since I have no idea how your novel goes...

the titel should explain the novel nah?
Hmm - well seeing as though this will be only the second time that I have ever posted upon your blog - I may adequately fit the criteria of being blissfully unaware that you were composing a novel. My admiration and commendations – that is no small task.

That being said, I tend to be drawn by the more unusual titles in life – things that bear little context or reflection of what the novel itself contains. Titles such as “Cryptonomicon” and “Salmonella Men on Planet Porno” – that kind of obscurity draws my eye.

I like to think of it this way – if bookstore staff have no idea what section to put it in, and eventually give in to their own maddening curiousity and read the back to determine where it belongs in the store – that is one more captive audience member.

As for your list of proposals – I will admit that I did not read them yet so as to have a fresh set of eyes for a true first impression.

Let me get my first coffee of the day in hand, and I'll be back
Living in the Dirtivmm
Tough one. After due consideration for ten seconds or so, I'll vote for Broken Social Contract, but I'm inclined to drop 'social' for just Broken Contract.

I'll change my mind later.
Living in the Dirt piqued my curiosity straight away. Close second, the Skeptical Nomads.
I too like Living In The Dirt.

Not literally, but Literally.

You know what I mean.

When I have finished reading I will try and suggest something alternative for your consideration
I like "Control Freaks and Skeptics". It's visceral. I think it would touch a chord with more folks.
Okay, quick tally to this point:

Control Freaks and (Other) Skeptics: 5 votes

Living in the Dirt: 8 votes

Skeptical Nomads: 1 vote

(Broken) Social Contract: 2 votes

Skeptical Nomads: 2 votes

Thanks to all who've participated so far, your comments are exceptionally helpful.

PP: yeah, there's a big element of psych to the book as a few of the major characters suffer from a certain mental illness, but I'll not say which one - maybe you can guess from the title ideas.

Tomcat: yeah, that one has a certain appeal to me to, but I'm worried it might be too obvious re the content.

TWM: my wife says your welcome. Her job is hard work and can be very frustrating, so I think she appreciated that someone out there appreciates it.

Singleton: your my kind of booklover!

Ivan: I'd wondered if that was the case and I greatly appreciate the insight from one who's been down that road. Part of me would be happy to let some NewYorkTimes type headline artist come up with a winner, but part of me loathes surrendering any control (guess I'm one of those freaks). Anyway, I really like the idea of inserting Other in there, but I think I'll stick with skeptics instead of optimists - the skepticism is actually a very key theme here.

Thanks Eric - I'm not particularly attached to any of these per se, they all sort of address themes in the work but I'm open to other ideas that may hit me or maybe one of my early draft readers will come up with something. I appreciate your interpretation of the Living in the Dirt title, it's nice to know what images are evoked.
ifreud: the headshrinker contingent is unanimous on this one.

Hi Marsha, welcome to my little domain. From your site I linked and I made myself into a Simpsons character but I don't know how to export or save the image.

Thanks Mob, good to see you again and thanks for the feedback.

HOD: truthfully I agree, but it doesn't quite jive with the content of the book, other than the second chapter which takes place largely on toronto transit commission vehicles.

Crash: yeah, it's a weakness of this poll, but the idea was just to see how people reacted to the titles alone. I see your point though.

Okami: it's funny you mention Cryptonomicon because the title had 0 impact on me and piqued my interest not at all. but i read it on the advice of a trusted friend, and it was one of the best books i've read in the past couple of years. anyway, looking forward to your caffeinated return.
myutopia: an interesting tweak to that one.

marva: interesting tweak to that one too. the social is kind of key for me though - it's a reference to the philisophical idea of a an unwritten social contract that everyone must abide by. if tihs unwritten code is broken, chaos ensues.

Bibi: yeah i'm kinda surprised the skeptical nomad one hasn't tested better to date, but it's good to know.

Ultra: I do know what you mean, and additional suggestions would be much appreciated.

Josie: yeah, maybe we can all relate to those two traits, maybe we all have a bit of control freak and a bit (or a lot in my case) of the skeptic in us.
I haven't read any of the excerpts yet. Here's what I think:

"Control Freaks and Skeptics" makes me think there's a conflict between the two types and that it'll be resolved in the novel. Whether they're working for the common good of a project and can't seem to agree on the way to resolve it intrigues me.

"Living in the Dirt" may be a better choice; makes me think of setting or social class.

"Broken Social Contract" seems to limit your novel to one conflict, which could spell trouble for subplots.

"The Skeptical Nomads" has me wondering whether these type of folks wonder from place to place criticizing the way others live.

I'm not sure I like any of these titles; then again, I haven't read any of your chapters. Here's my suggestion: "The Broken Skeptics." This title doesn't limit your conflict or setting, and suggests faulty characters who are may be involved in several conflicts over the course of the novel. Just some thoughts. When I get some time, I'll come back and read your chapters. Good luck!
Hey JR,

Welcome here. and thanks for your comment. It's great to read your immediate reactions to the titles. I'm not sure I like any of them myself, but they do cover the themes dealt with in the novel. of course that alone does not a good title make, hence my gauging of immediate reactions (with little or no knowledge of content).

i like your broken skeptics suggestions - it also deals well with thematic issues. So, of the ones suggested so far, I've sort of narrowed it down to

Control Freaks and Other Skeptics;
Living in the Dirt;
Broken Skeptics.
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