What’s in a Title?

Sep 03

My middle grade novel has officially been rejected by every New York literary agent that I’ve submitted to.¬† I am awaiting responses from several Canadian publishers, however, and perhaps one of them will recognize the “brilliance” of my writing.¬† Or, at least think that they can mould into something brilliant with enough editing.¬†

The longer I pursue my writing aspirations, the more I realize¬†just how perilous this path is.¬† I know, what could be hazardous about sitting in front a laptop and punching out word after word after word after word?¬† It’s the mental injuries, I’m talking about.¬†¬†The rejection¬†and forced optimism that must follow can be quite taxing.¬† Many nights I go to bed thinking: why am I still writing?¬† But, inevitably, I’ll wake up at 5:30 (that’s when my alarm goes off), force myself out of bed (within an hour of that buzz), and turn on my computer.¬† Then get to the task of writing my latest project.¬†

For me, one of the best things about writing in the morning is that it’s too damn early to consider why the heck I’m up at the crack of dawn to write a short story about a dejected woman who married a convicted killer.¬† Will anyone ever read this?¬† I mean, other than members of my writing group or the judge for the latest short story contest.¬† But I can’t help but think that if I keep writing and sending my stuff out, something’s going to finally stick.

And this brings me back to my children’s novel.¬† I am about to embark on another slew of queries to publishers and perhaps a few more agents – all American.¬† A writing colleague of mine has suggested that perhaps I should consider changing the title of my book.¬† I’ve given it some thought and have decided she’s onto something.¬† Here is a brief summary of my book for kids 6 to 10 years old:

When a button on Danny’s screen magically invites him to enter into his computer, he goes for it!¬† Drawn into a wild world where things are not as they appear, he explores freely – something he’s never been allowed to do online, thanks to the restrictions of his paranoid mom. He meets kind Jingo, who cautions him to beware of the tricks of this world and spunky Desmond, who dazzles ten-year-old Danny with his thrill-seeking ways.¬† Danny soon learns, however, that his freewheeling has led him into danger and the tough choices he must make will ultimately determine if he can ever return home.

Now – the three potential titles are:

  1. Danny in a Newfangled World

  2. Danny the Daring Computer Intruder

  3. The (mostly) True Tale of a Video Game Genius

Any thoughts?  My youngest two kids prefer #2, while my oldest son likes #3.  Which title would most likely pique the interest of a boy between the ages of 6 and 9 years old?


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  1. Kevin Bileski /

    Danny’s Finger. Danny and the Dazzling Desmond. Dazzling Desmond’s Disastrous World. Didn’t think about it too much, just wanted to throw it out there.

  2. Jen Herring /

    I like #3. It would grab my attention and I think my 8 year old son would be interested in it based on that title.

  3. Kelly /

    I like #3!
    Any updates? its been almost 3 weeks since this post-have you heard from the last publisher yet???

  4. Danielle /

    I haven’t written in this blog in too long! I’ve had other writing projects on the go. Just finished a short story and almost done a non-fiction piece. Both to be entered in contests. I picked a name. Danny Lenesky: Greatest Chore-Avoiding, Video-Gaming, Computer Explorer Ever. I’m still waiting on three Cdn publishers. All the agents have declined my book. Screw’em! Preparing queries for three more US publishers. See what happens.

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