12 Days to Release: Rejected Titles

WAKE PW announcement

Here’s the announcement of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, aka WAKE, in Publisher’s Weekly.

For day 12 of #18DaystoMGDebut, the prompt is rejected titles for THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, and that means I have to make a confession: I’m terrible at coming up with titles.

The original title for this story had a spoiler, so I won’t share the whole thing, but it started with The Boy and the ________. Despite the spoiler, I loved the title because it had the comforting feel of some of my favorite books from when I was a kid. But when the manuscript was ready to send to agents, my critique partners said it needed a title that better represented the tone and style of the story.

I did some brainstorming and came up with a bunch of terrible titles, then my friend Bethany Hegedus suggested WAKE. I liked it; it worked on multiple levels (he wakes on a beach, the wake of the water off the beach…), but I did worry that it sounded too much like a young adult book. Indeed, there are some YA books on the market called WAKE. Still I queried with WAKE, and my agent loved it.

When my editor, Sarah Jane Abbott at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, bought the book, she loved the title too and that’s how it was announced in Publisher’s Weekly (check out the picture). But Sarah Jane and the rest of the Paula Wiseman Books editorial team agreed that the title could be confusing for readers.

So Sarah Jane, Paula Wiseman and Paula Wiseman Books editor Sylvie Frank did some brainstorming of their own. Putting their brilliant minds together, they came back to me with this suggestion: The Boy, The Beach, and The Beast. I loved it! The alliteration of the BBB and the similarities to the title of one of my favorite childhood books, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, pulled me in immediately. It just needed one thing…

Beach didn’t feel quite right to me, but I wanted to preserve that wonderful BBB rhythm. Then the other item in the story that’s so important to the Boy came to me, and it also started with B, Boat.

I really love THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST and I can’t thank Sarah Jane, Paula and Sylie for leading me to it.

Have you pre-ordered THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST yet?  All pre-orders are eligible for a Thank You Gift, and can be entered to win a special book-themed gift pack.

Personalized copies of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST are available for pre-order through my fantastic local independent bookstore, BookPeople. The novel is also available for pre-order on IndieBoundPowell’sBook DepositoryBooks-A-MillionBarnes & NobleAmazonTargetWalmart, as well as numerous other independent bookstores.

Check out all my #18DaystoMGDebut posts here.


What do you think?