Maybe This Blog Should Have a Name…
For years now, I’ve just had my name up at the top of this place. Figured this whole thing here is to notify people as to my doings and existence and writing projects and what-not, I may as well get top billing. But then I get to thinking. “Auston,” my brain says to me, “Auston, look at Scalzi, look at Wendig, look at myriad other mighty authors and their mighty web-platforms and their catchy titles! Mayhap you ought follow their example!”
Yes, my brain really talks like that. It says “mayhap” all the time.
What? It’s a cool word.
Anyway, let’s just indulge my inner voice for a minute or two and think about what I could possibly call this blog (with the subtitle being “The Musings of Author Auston Habershaw”). Hmmmm….
- Aimless Complaints
- Nothing Doing
- The Haber-shed
- Big Words, Placed in Order
- Will Yowl For Cash
- Bad Nerd Rising
- Ninja Space Clowns
- BAM! (No Affiliation With Emeril)
- The Woes of My Enemies
- Professor Habershaw’s Magical Emporium
- Explosions Are Cool and Other Obvious Statements
That’s all I got at the moment. I hate all of those in their own unique, special way. Man, titles are a bitch, ain’t they?
Any suggestions? Should I change the title? Does it even matter?
Book Titles We Will All See on Twitter Someday
The President’s Vampire
An Affair with Mr. Danger
The Time Woman
Deadly Street Damage: The Tough Man Files
The Legend of Various Elves
Learn to Do the Thing Quickly and for Free
The Secret of Stalin’s Moustache
This Place I Went on a Service Trip: Stuff I Did There
Nazis in the Panic Room
Dangerous Red Sunrise
The Iron Magic Sword Prophesy
Really Wet Rain
The Barbarian and the Bimbo
The Book of Satan’s Nephew
Gods and Werewolves
Curse of the Magic Pharaoh
The Boy with Multiple Talents
American Hero: The Story of an American Hero
The Collected Wisdom of Some Random Guy
Aliens and their Mailing Addresses
Why I Don’t Understand the Pyramids and How That is Upsetting
POLITICS AND OPINIONS IN EXCLUSIVELY CAPITAL LETTERS
The Sinister Paradox
Underground Crime Master 4
The Lotus Poison: An Erotic Fairytale
The History of the Civil War and Other Stuff You’re Wrong About Because I Said So
How To Make $$ on Twitter! (now available in print for $4)
Robot Love Erotica: Of Plugs and Sockets
A Vaguely Familiar Dystopia
On Titles and Originality
Before I start, just a publicity update: Go to Barren Island Books to read an interview with me just before I am banished to a desert island. Fun times, and many thanks to A.F.E. Smith for the opportunity!
Now, let’s to brass tacks.
You know what I find the hardest thing, ultimately, to do for a novel or story? Give it a title.
Seriously, what the hell do you call the whole thing? Me? I don’t know. It always seems like the best titles are already taken. Anytime I come up with a good title – a real zinger, you know? – I make the mistake of Googling it. When I finish, this is my face:
Yep – somebody else had used it. Sometimes numerous somebodies else. Super lame.
You know that book I’ve been telling you all to buy – The Iron Ring, remember? Well, even though it wasn’t my first choice for title, it was the one my editor liked best and, as it turns out, Lloyd Alexander liked it, too. Dammit!
So, anyway, after much hand-wringing and nonsense about the titles of the various books of The Saga of the Redeemed (that one’s original – take that ye gods of Google!), I came up with a system that I felt would create decent titles for my fantasy books. Namely, I’d take a common saying and chop it up. Books 1 and 2 (which are really the same story) were/are titled The Oldest Trick, for instance. As in “the oldest trick in the book.” Right? Get it? Huh, huh? Neat, right? Google that one and you come up with nothing – it’s all mine, baby!
Fast Forward to Book 3 (or Part 2, depending on how you look at it). The working title has always been All That Glitters, as in “all that glitters is not gold.” Pithy, clever, thematically appropriate – I love it. Google it, and all you get is a short-run sitcom in 1977. Ha!
Oh, but wait, it’s also:
- A VC Andrews novel from 1995.
- A Michael Anthony novel from 1981
- A memoir by Pearl Lowe in 2007
- Some kind of documentary/reality show set to air this year.
And about a million other titles. Bye-bye that title.
Turns out, though, that no matter what I pick, odds are I’m going to step on somebody’s toes. You have to ask, though, whether that’s such a big deal. Like, if the last time somebody used the title was in a different medium (movie, not book) for a different audience (crime thriller, not fantasy) a couple years ago, does it really matter? How much of a chance of confusion is there, really?
In bouncing potential titles back and forth with my editor, the one she liked best was No Good Deed. Yes, yes – it’s the title of an Idris Elba thriller released last year, I know. It isn’t as though anybody’s going to be confused, though. It would be one thing, I guess, if the movie were a big hit (nobody’s walking around titling their novel The Empire Strikes Back or Platoon, I suppose), but even then one has to wonder. What’s in a title, anyway? It’s just one of the umpteen billion handy devices by which we convince people to pick up our books and read. Perhaps the “perfect originality” standard is a bit too stiff for so modest an element.
Or maybe I’m just lazy. That’s also pretty likely.
Nevertheless, I’m going to stick with No Good Deed for now. I’m calling dibs, everyone, got it? It’s mine! Well, for now, anyway, and unless I can think of something better.
So, keen readers will have noted that over the last week or so I’ve made a few minor changes around here.
- Links to publications I’ve been featured in/contests I’ve placed in are listed under ‘Where to Find My Stuff’.
- A new ‘contact me’ page so that, should the mood ever strike someone, they could, you know, contact me.
Beyond that, I’ve been toying with the idea of giving the blog a new title. I’d keep my name as a subtitle, perhaps, but I feel I should have a title beyond simply my name. Perhaps I’ll go with “Hooray, What Fun, It’s Time We Flew”, but that seems long-ish and I don’t know if I like it.
I should mention that I’m terrible with titles. I can never decide and usually just give up after I come up with something halfway decent.
Anybody have any title suggestions? Thoughts on whether I should change the title at all? Feel free to let me know. In the meantime, I’ll keep poking and prodding this thing into…I dunno…something more ‘professional’.