The Importance of a Title

The numbers don’t lie. When my thriller was called The Arranger: A Futuristic Thriller, I couldn’t give the book away. After three days on Amazon’s free list (through the Select program), The Arranger managed a mere 1535 downloads, despite a 4.5-start rating and rave reviews. I’d already given away two books that racked up 55,000 downloads between them ,so I understood just how pathetic that number was, and I instinctively knew the problem was the title.

I originally came up with the title because it fit the antagonist, Paul. When I bounced it off my husband, he loved it and pushed for it. I keep thinking about The Gauntlet and he kept saying, “No, it’s been done.” So I put the book out as The Arranger, and that was clearly a mistake, especially when you consider I spent more on promotion for that book than any I’d ever done. <Sigh>

But the giveaway taught me that I needed a new name. And with your help, we came up with one: The Gauntlet Assassin. I made the changes, waited for the ebook to be reformatted with the new cover, and reloaded it to Amazon. Fortunately, I’d saved two days of the five-day giveaway, so I was able to list The Gauntlet Assassin for free for two days. In that time, it had nearly 15,000 downloads, and is now selling well.

Same cover, same description, same great reviews. But clearly the new name appealed to people in a way the original had not. I purposely took “A Futuristic Thriller” out of the title. I think the word future turned a lot of people off and made them think sci-fi or dystopian novel. The book is neither and set only 13 years from now.

The lesson here is that being independent allows me to makes changes and correct my mistakes.

In other news, an established production company saw a review of The Arranger and contacted me about film/TV rights. They’re reading the manuscript now. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this strange little story were made into a blockbuster film? My husband is  counting on it. 🙂

Writers: Have you changed a story’s title or cover to make it marketable?
Readers: How do you feel when writers make such changes?

5 Comments
  1. Wow — I might even go to the theater for that movie! (Which is saying a lot. We averaged 1 movie a year before moving up here to the land of no nearby theaters.) We’re a Netflix family.

    Terry

  2. This is interesting. Thanks for posting this as it has me thinking about the titles of my books. They are for middle grade and teen so it is harder for me to have and instinct on the title. I might have to try it.

  3. Such great news to hear you are making success after success. I can’t wait to see movies developed from your books. Keep up the great work and thank you for the entertainment you provide your readers! I wish you the best in your career always!

  4. Thanks, Marilyn for your good wishes. I keep hoping they make a series based on my Jackson stories/characters. I picture Viggo Mortenson in the role. 🙂

  5. Congratulations for your new title ! So nice to see the book find the success it (and you of course) deserves. I must say that I also found it really “cinema-genic” and think it a good news if it can be adapted to film 😉

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