Choosing titles

While my Kindle Scout campaign for The Poison People moves forward (and, incidentally, if you haven’t nominated me, please do – if I get accepted you get a free copy!) I’ve set myself the goal of completing a novella, which should come in at about a third of the length of the average novel (at about 25,000 words, I’d say – I’m currently on around 18K).

I started writing the story as a short project while focusing on marketing The Poison People, and also because I was conscious that most Kindle authors have a number of books under their belts, which is how they develop their profiles and notch up sales. I, on the other hand, have just the one currently in play and am completely unknown. So it seemed like a good idea to put something out quite quickly after The Poison People. I also like the idea of a novella because it enables me to explore a particular subject – in this case, the Brexit and Trump votes – in a compact and timely fashion.

I blogged earlier about titles, but, as I reach the final stretch I’ve come to think about them again. As I said in that earlier post, a key theme is how unexpected political change can transform the lives of ordinary people. The original title was:

– An Outbreak of Democracy

I liked this because of the juxtaposition of “outbreak” and “democracy”, as if democracy is a disease and not necessarily the unambiguous good it is always sold as. Then, as part of my research, I stumbled on the term

– Ex Post Facto

which is an aspect of English law that impacts on my characters lives. I liked this mainly because I could run a marketing campaign along the lines of Post Trump, Post Brexit, Ex Post Facto. I still like it, but it remains a bit obscure, and it won’t mean anything on Amazon when it just comes up as a title. Then I decided upon

– Shared Values

Which I liked because it was a play on the name of a political party featured in the story but really spoke about the shared values my characters. Still, I’m not convinced it works – the title of a short story, perhaps, but I can’t see it on a book cover. Then, today, while one of my characters was speaking, he came out with this…

“It’s not that simple,” he said. “It’s not just about politics. It’s the temperature of our times . . . ”

and I thought: hello, what do we have here?

– The Temperature of Our Times

Although it does not express the precise theme of my story, it does sum up the today’s slightly feverish atmosphere and a modern world which sometimes feels stranger than fiction…

So, The Temperature of Our Times it is, at least for now.

And remember, you can nominate the Poison People here.

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