I sometimes find it a struggle to come up with a title for my work. Titles are not always that easy to come up with— good titles at least. The original title for my young adult novel was “Bittersweet” for several reasons that I can’t go into without giving away a key part to the story. I hadn’t been able to come up with a title until the very end and then it struck me in one of those “eureka moments” you hear about all the time. Just like that I knew what the title was!!
But then things got changed the way they sometimes do in the publishing business. Let’s face it publishing is a business and, when it comes right down to it it’s about book sales and marketing and making money— but, hopefully, a whole lot more. It’s also about producing the best book possible but at the same time keeping the author happy.
So you can believe me when I say “Bittersweet” really was the right title for the book. As a matter of fact, my editor told me that everyone at Nimbus really loved the original title but they were a bit worried because there were a ton of books out there with Bittersweet as the title or with Bittersweet in the title.(Try doing a search and see for yourself) But still, no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t come up with a title that fit the book better than “Bittersweet.” So as a compromise they came up with “Bitter, Sweet.”
But the final decision rested with me. Was I willing to go along with their suggestion? I thought about the title for a few days before I got back to my editor. To be honest I wasn’t sure what I thought about the comma. Now a comma is just a little bitty thing you might say but still it seemed to jump out at me as if it had a life of its own. Could I live with the comma? And if I couldn’t live with the comma could I live with a totally different title? These things weighed on my mind. It took me several days to be able to say yes I could live with the change and really mean it. For me it was more of a visual thing because realistically it’s pretty much the same title and I was actually surprised by the fact that it seemed like such a big deal at the time. I even tried writing it out to see what it would look like. It is a bit different from the original and as my editor pointed it out gives the book a really nice literary feel. After all, life is filled with compromise and to be perfectly honest, now that I’m used to it, I really like the title.