Of course, not every girl in my grade school class was named Amy. There’s only one in this photo of my third grade class, but out of a grade cohort of 30 girls, there were 4 Amies and 1 Aimee. The point is: names go in and out of fashion, and if you’re unlucky enough to be named after a trend, you’ll go through grade school with an initial tacked onto your name to differentiate you from all the other Amies. Or Jacobs or Emmas.
Book titles are a little like this. As this funny piece points out, some trends become so entrenched that book titles are formulaic. The Something’s Daughter. The Art of Something. I joke that if my current novel had been published a few years ago it might have been called The Drug Dealer’s Daughter.
You spend years writing a book, kicking around possible titles, and finally settle on one. Then you discover that another book is coming out before yours with the exact same title. When the title What Belongs to You was chosen for my book, there weren’t any published books with that title, but in January 2016, a novel with that exact title will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
After a brief confab with my wonderful agent and my lovely editor at Thomas Dunne, my book is officially being retitled as All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Now there are marketing and art meetings going on, out of which will come my cover. Currently it’s set for release in August 2016, so we’ve got a ways to go. Hopefully nobody steals my title before then. 😉 At least it’s not like accidentally naming a baby the most popular girl’s name of the decade. You can’t just rename a baby like you can a novel.
(Further notes on that class photo: notice the mishap of the two girls who came to school for class picture day wearing the same shirt, further compounded by the photographer who cruelly seated them next to each other. Also: why were all the girls made to sit, including the very tall girl who then had to hunch over to avoid blotting out the short kid behind her? If you can pick me out of this photo, you’ll also have the answer to why I prefer to wear all black. Seriously, if you’d had a childhood of unfortunate fashion missteps, wouldn’t you prefer the safety of monochrome?)