Shows You How
In this space, Sarah Walker offers excellent and specific instructions for essential activities in your everyday life, such as bullfighting and performing tracheotomies. These lessons will improve your standard of living by one hundred percent. She accepts your thanks and says you’re welcome, it’s the least she can do for being blessed with such knowledge.
How to Title Your Novel.
BY SARAH WALKER
No matter what the subject of your book is, the title should have the word alchemy in it. I don’t care if your book is about making gold from crude metal; it still has to have the word “alchemy” in it. On second thought, that would actually work quite nicely. Regardless, you can use any derivation of the word − alchemist, alchemish, alcheming, whatever – just as long as people can look at your book and think, “Ooo, alchemy. I like that.” Who doesn’t like alchemy? Nobody.
Next, think of your favorite profession, specifically your favorite fantastical profession, like a time traveler. Sure, your favorite profession could really be a plumber, but do you want someone glancing at your book cover and being reminded of human waste or frickin’ time travel?
It’s a no-brainer.
Now, for the tricky part: we’re going to combine the word “alchemy” (or a derivation of it) with your favorite fantastical profession to form your title. And if your favorite fantastical profession is alchemy, then excellent: you’ve killed two birds with one stone.
It just so happens that my favorite profession is alchemy, as it is for all learned people with exquisite taste. However, this does pose a problem. You’re the type of person that challenges expectations and would never simply title your novel Alchemy. You could change it to Alchemist, and most people would be happy with that title. But you are not most people. You are better, so the title of your novel must be better. And here’s how: Insert either the word “daughter” or “wife” after Alchemist.
OK, so now your title is Alchemist Daughter/Wife. That doesn’t make sense. You should probably make Alchemist possessive and pop in an article before it, preferably The but it could also be something like An. Let’s say you choose An. Your title is now An Alchemist’s Daugher/Wife.
This is a very fine title indeed.
However, be sure to google your title before you settle on it. I just googled An Alchemist’s Daughter and it turns out there is already a novel − a bestseller, no less − called The Alchemist’s Daughter. It’s in the young adult historical fantasy genre, in case you were wondering. So it seems my advice has proven to be spot on.
Unfortunately, some sticklers might think that your title is a little too similar to The Alchemist’s Daughter. To avoid that hassle, let’s go a drastically different route and name your novel An Alchemist’s Wife.
OK, so just to be safe, let’s parse your title. An Alchemist suggests a specific alchemist who knows of magic and chemistry and gold. Tell me, which of those things aren’t awesome? None of them. Now the word “wife” suggests a woman, which suggests boobs and sex, which we know everyone loves, especially the 18-24 male demographic. Also, “wife” implies that it’s not some lonely woman forever complaining about how she’s single, but a happily realized woman who has found a mate, as nature intended. And not just any mate! A man who can make gold! And we know how much women like gold. They use it for jewelry and sometimes garnish their cakes and other baked goods with it.
Looks like you’ve found the perfect title, friend. I suggest keeping it a secret until you’ve procured a book deal, which should happen very quickly once the publishers hear about your title.
Now, if you’re feeling fancy, like you need an extra push to impress that big New York City publishing house, you could add one last finishing touch. I once knew a young lady author who had written a great book, but her title was terrible. It was simply Bees, which sounded like an encyclopedia entry about dangerous stinging insects. I felt like I needed an EpiPen just to pick it up. So I told her to place the phrase The Secret Life of in front of Bees. The rest, as they say, was history − or “hi$$$tory.” And if for some reason you haven’t read her book, perhaps you should check out the feature film of the same title, starring the one and only Dakota Fanning. She’s a delight!
So, if we apply this last touch to your title, your book will be called The Secret Life of An Alchemist’s Wife. Dear GOD I want to buy that book.
Get me to the bookstore!
by Tom Lombardi (7/16/2004)
Notes On the Video Game Version of My Next Novel
by John Rodzvilla (8/16/2011)
Another Example of the Illuminating Correspondence Between John Hodgman, Professional Literary Agent, and His Cousin, One ‘Josh,’ Who Aims to Be a Man of Letters
by John Hodgman (1/31/2000)
RECENTLYWilliam Blake, Color Analyst for the Atlanta Braves
by Walter Jones (9/17/2014)
A Story from John Warner’s New Collection, Tough Day for the Army
by John Warner (9/17/2014)
Testomania: Did You Go to One of the Best Schools in the World?
by Janet Manley (9/17/2014)
POPULARClassic Movies Changed to Not Be Sexist
by Blythe Roberson (8/14/2014)
Best Joke Ever: Mitch Hedberg: Hippie Martian Zen Genius
by Mark Peters (8/28/2014)
Hello Stranger On the Street, Could You Please Tell Me How to Take Care of My Baby?
by Wendy Molyneux (8/16/2012)