Still ruminating on my post from two weeks back---
Because I just re-worked a R &R (writerly code for “revise & resubmit” request) which began with a suggestion for a change of title.
When querying agents or working with editors, some have asked if I was open to changing the title.
Goodness me. I am more than open. I welcome your suggestions.
Because, for me, the title is a working title and no more. It serves to remind me of the theme as I draft. Once done, it has performed its job.
A story’s title is its initial offering. It’s the bowstring center of a wrapped box. The title is not the wrapping paper, (that’s the cover design and the flap jacket text) or the present (the work) itself.
A good title is evocative without giving away the story. A great title is pithy and atmospheric at once. A working title is rarely that.
I know I am rather prosaic in my working title choices. This may explain why my first agent changed just about all my working titles. I still have the word documents of my offering alternative titles to these old submissions, and some are pages long.
The final title is the traditional publishing house's prerogative. Their job is to publish (i.e. make public) and to market. This is why in most cases writers have neither control nor the option to refuse a title change the publisher makes.
I’m not married to my working titles. Goodness, I couldn’t be if I wanted to. As titles can’t be copyrighted, it’s unhealthy to be wedded to them. No marriage license for us, Writer and Title.
So a revision request that includes a change of title is an automatic “absolutely yes” from me.