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Original source of this awesome illustration: http://weheartit.com/entry/group/12356609

What’s in a name?

A lot, when it comes to books.

When my agent originally submitted my manuscript to editors, it had the title APPLE UNPLUGGED, and that’s the title it had when it was acquired by HarperCollins/Greenwillow.

It was so named because my main character is Filipino, and Filipinos are notorious for having funny/unusual/strange nicknames. In this case, her name is Apple. Apple is a bullied seventh-grade music prodigy who loves the Beatles and dreams of owning a certain Fender Starcaster acoustic guitar (hence the “Unplugged.”)

There’s just one problem: When people outside of my brain heard the title, they thought of Steve Jobs and computers. And neither of those have anything to do with my book.

It was back to the drawing board.

This was a difficult book to title because it’s a coming-of-age, character-driven middle-grade novel with raw moments tempered by big dreams. My editor and I tossed around more than two dozen possibilities. We tried some on for size. The titles were put on tentative book jackets. Nothing felt right. Meanwhile, months and months pass (because the publishing process is slow, y’all) and I still have no idea what my book will be called. My debut novel, the moment of truth, the apex of all that writing I’d been doing since age six, still had no title.

It was frustrating, but necessary. You don’t want to plaster the wrong title on your book, just like you don’t want to plaster the wrong name on your baby. Right?

Well, as of this week, the wait is over. The title has been chosen. And I love it. It incorporates Apple’s love for the Beatles with her big, ambitious dreams, and sets the right tone for her story. Are you ready?

[Cue drumroll].

Blackbird Fly

Inspired by this:

And coming to bookstores near you, about one year from now. (She still has to get in her Sunday best. Copyedits, covers, galleys, jackets).

So, mark your calendars!

 

8 thoughts on “In which I reveal the long-unknown title of my book”

  1. Awesome! Now I know I need to clear out a space between Anne of Green Gables and Cranford. I’ll have to get two copies; one for the bookshelf and one for the round-robin book club. Can’t wait!!

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