I am delighted to welcome Sarah Angleton to Robbies Inspiration with her new book, SMOKE ROSE TO HEAVEN.
Today, Sarah is sharing her journey to finding the perfect title for her book.
The Perfect Title
I think one of the most difficult parts of writing a book is giving the thing a title. Not all authors struggle with this, and I’m sure not all projects are the same, but for me, titling a book is the last, and in many ways, the most difficult step.
It’s much like naming a child, which I also had a hard time doing. You don’t want there to be twelve of them in the same Kindergarten class or, in this case, Amazon category. It should be memorable, but not hard to pronounce or impossible to spell in the search bar.
A good title is intriguing enough to jump start the imagination and create anticipation for the story. It should be on point enough for its genre to attract attention from the people who will appreciate it most, but should also be unique enough to stand out to even the most skeptical of readers. The best title will draw attention to an important thematic element or moment in the story that will make a reader smile and think, Oh, I see what she did there.
It also has to look pretty snappy on a book cover.
When I completed my newest release, I had the perfect title in mind for it. The book is historical fiction, with some thriller elements, set primarily in nineteenth century Western New York State. American history enthusiasts may recognize this time and place as the Burned Over District, when revival swept through the area, resulting in the Second Great Awakening, the rise of communal living experiments, and the birth of religious movements, some of which are still going strong today.
The book tells the coming of age story of a woman who came to possess a manuscript that forms the center of a historical conspiracy theory known as the Spalding Enigma, which questions the divine origin of the Book of Mormon. It also plays with, and in many ways, pays homage to its setting.
For this reason, and because it contains a lot of fire and smoke imagery, I just knew the title should be Burned Over. What else could it possibly be, right?
Except that a small press wanted the book, and they didn’t like the title. At first, I was pretty upset. This book, MY creation, was crying out to me that it wanted to be called Burned Over. So, I did what any rational person would do. I argued. And then I polled potential readers about the title, and I learned that maybe I didn’t know everything there was to know about titling a book.
The publisher and I went back and forth for more than a month on title suggestions, arriving at last on Smoke Rose to Heaven, a compromise I have grown to love. In fact, when that contract fell through because publishing can sometimes be a messy business, and I had the opportunity to revert to the original title, I chose to keep the new one.
I’m hopeful readers will agree with me that this title is unique and memorable and on point for both genre and theme. I even think it looks pretty snappy on the book cover.
New York, 1872.
Diviner Ada Moses is a finder of hidden things and a keeper of secrets. In her possession is a lost manuscript with the power to destroy the faith of tens of thousands of believers.
When a man seeking the truth knocks at her door with a conspiracy theory on his lips and assassins at his heels, she must make a choice.
Spurred by news of a ritualistic murder and the arrival of a package containing the victim’s bloody shirt, Ada must either attempt to vanish with the truth or return the burden she has long borne to the prophet responsible for one of the most successful deceptions in US history.
Protecting someone else’s secret may save Ada’s life, but is that worth forcing her own demons into the light?
About Sarah Angleton
Sarah Angleton is the author of the historical novels Gentleman of Misfortune and Smoke Rose to Heaven as well as the humor collection Launching Sheep & Other Stories from the Intersection of History and Nonsense. She lives with her husband, two sons, and one loyal dog near St. Louis, where she loves rooting for the Cardinals but doesn’t care for the pizza.
Find Sarah Angleton
Barnes & Noble
Sarah is giving away 5 e-book copies of SMOKE ROSE TO HEAVEN and all you have to do for a chance to win a copy is to leave a comment below.
To follow along with the rest of her tour, please drop in on her 4WillsPub tour page.
Thank you for supporting this author’s tour and also the blogger of this post!