All writers know the extreme pressure of having to choose a book title. No matter how epic your sci fi fantasy semi-autobiographical post-apocalyptic vampire romance novel may be, if you don’t name it something somewhat catchy, ain’t NOBODY gonna read it.
The issue is, choosing a good title is like going to buy a pair of jeans: you think it will be easy and only take thirty minutes, but instead you end up sobbing and berating yourself after hours of fruitless effort.
Don’t believe me? Well then, I present to you the 15 VERY REAL stages of choosing a book title:
Stage 1: Finish writing your book and editing your manuscript. Write down the first title that comes to mind – it’s perfect, and cute, and catchy, and everyone will like it! Now on to the query letter…
Stage 2: As you’re about to send out your polished query letter, decide to Google your chosen title just to make sure no one else (or very few others) have used it before. You’re sure that all will be well because you’re so clever and original and definitely the only person who’s ever thought of this adorable turn of phrase, but better safe than sorry!
Stage 3: FOUR MILLION OTHER BOOKS HAVE THIS TITLE OMFG ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME.
Stage 4: Cry.
Stage 5: Spend hours scribbling possible titles on scraps of paper, hate all of them.
Stage 6: Find a title you don’t completely hate and yell “MWAHAHAHAH TITLE GODS I DEFY YOU!” while shaking your fist in the air.
Stage 7: Send out queries with new title, get agent*. Agent reads MS and is like, “Overall pretty good; change these things, and also the title sucks.”
Stage 8: Cry.
Stage 9: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by meticulously addressing all of agent’s edits.
Stage 10: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by knitting.
Stage 11: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by cleaning out your closet.
Stage 12: Procrastinate trying to find a new title by drinking.
Stage 13: After fortifying yourself with alcohol, go back to your scribbles, scribble more title ideas. Cry.
Stage 14: After like 12 back and forth emails with agent, finally choose a new title. Agent submits MS to editors.
Stage 15: Wait and resign yourself to the likelihood that if your book is sold that the publisher will immediately want you to change the title. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
AND SO THE WAITING HAS BEGUN. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ALL MY WRITER PEEPS OUT THERE!
*Of course, getting an agent takes a while, but that’s an entirely different post. My agent is Sharon and she is great and despite the snark in this post I am very grateful that she told me to think up new titles because my original ones did, indeed, suck. ❤
As promised earlier this week, I’m back with my list of the Ten Worst Things about Europe. BE WARNED: THIS LIST CONTAINS PICTURES OF MY LEG AND ANKLE! (This warning is mostly relevant to any of my readers who have traveled in time from the nineteenth century. If you are reading this, sorry for lewd images, and also can I borrow your Tardis?).
10. Getting this bruise:
So I guess it’s kind of hard to see in that picture, but my first afternoon in Paris I was walking along the Rue Montorgueil (or as my non-French-speaking friends called it, the “Rue Mononmont…ugh, whatever”) and it was raining, like, SUPER hard, and I slipped in front of a bunch of skinny, smoking French people, and fell on my knee hard and it hurt like a motha, and the bruise is still there and going strong. MERDE!
9. Rain: This is a continuation of number 10, I guess, but it rained hard three days when I was in Europe and THIS WAS BULLSHIT. Didn’t Europe know that it was me, Jackie, who was coming to visit it? It couldn’t have held off on the rain for, like, one more week out of courtesy? THANKS A LOT, EUROPE. This would never have happened in California.* (On the plus side, I guess Europe does look pretty cool in the rain, see below).
8. Air France: Ok, this one isn’t funny and I don’t have a pic, but basically those assholes stole 216 bucks from me and I hate them and am never flying them again. It’s a long story but if you really care you can check out my Twitter from this morning lol.
7. Hangovers: When I was last in Europe, I was twenty years old and could literally club all night and drink endless wine without any repercussions. Now that I am thirty this is most definitely not the case. I paid dearly for this concoction, for instance (but, my God, was it delicious):
6. These shoes:
So this is also a result of #9 – the evil RAIN. My friend T and I were walking in the rain in Toms shoes to the Louvre, which was ill-advised on many levels, and we had no choice but to stop at a random shoe store and try to find waterproof shoes in our size. Sadly, the only shoes available in my size were these (though T picked up a decent blue/black glittery pair which she threw out – bad decision, T!). Apparently, the French have tiny feet. The worst part was that I had to wear the above shoes with these pants:
Not chic, guys.
5. The number on this scale:
Who am I kidding? I’ve been too afraid to get back on this old horse. No matter how much walking I did, no way it made up for this:
4. Bugs: The bugs in Europe are surprising vicious. I was attacked by one especially horrid one in the courtyard of the Florence Basilica, leaving me with these scars two whole weeks later:
What I’m really saying is, the bugs in Europe hate Jesus. Yeah, that’s it.
3. Smoking: Look, we Americans may be fat with big feet and cover all of our meals with melted cheese, but at least we’re not constantly inhaling poisonous fumes and blowing them all over other people. I swear, no one in Europe can go twenty seconds without lighting up. I’m kind of allergic, so this is genuinely awful for me.
2. Hot guys: Too many of them. There’s such a thing as an embarrassment of riches, Europe. Though they’re all skinnier than I am, so that helped matters.
1. Paper and Candle Stores: Ok, Europe, what the hell – do you want me to be INCREDIBLY BROKE? YOU HAVE STORES THAT SELL JUST PAPER AND JUST CANDLES EVERYWHERE. Just LOOK at this beautiful effing fan I bought:
I spent, like, twenty euros on this fan. When, you may ask, am I ever going to use this fan? NEVER, THAT’S WHEN. But it is so pretty and made of hand-painted paper!
Also, LOOK AT THIS CANDLE:
It looks like it’s made of glass, AND IT’S A WAX CANDLE. COME ON, ITALY. IS THIS A JOKE? I’M GOING TO LIVE IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER AFTER THIS TRIP.
Don’t get me started on the soap stores. I just didn’t go into them. I would have had to declare bankruptcy if I had.
So, yeah, these are my top ten complaints about Europe. As you might imagine, this was my face when I had to leave:
Love ya, Europe. Never change! xoxo Jackie
*I am aware that it is actually a bad thing that it never rains in California. I am not making light of the drought, which hopefully will be alleviated by El Niño. Chill out, guys. I care about the environment, GOD.
It was Mark Twain who said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” To which I say, “Really, Mark Twain? The coldest winter? Didn’t you live in Connecticut? That’s a tad hyperbolic, dude.”
Literary license aside (which is fine, he was only one of America’s finest authors, whatevs I’ll forgive him), he had a point: SF summers are distinctly un-summery, especially for an East Coast transplant who’s accustomed to sweltering ninety-degree beach days and sunny backyard grill-outs. To give you a concrete example, this was what the California Academy of Sciences looked like on my athletic run ambling walk through Golden Gate Park this very morning:
As any San Franciscan knows, we are now entering the foggy season, when temperatures occasionally dip into the forties and most days are spent navigating an ever-present haze of fog and trying desperately to un-frizz one’s hair. It can be rough, but after living here for years, I’m going to share with you my strategies to survive summer in San Francisco:
Schadenfreude (#1): Revel in the bewildered disappointment of tourists, all of whom came to SF thinking, oh, it’s California – it’s going to be so sunny and warm! I’m only going to pack shorts and tiny tank tops and look SO cute and hot! Hahah, mofos, you got OWNED! Shoulda gone to San Diego! You’ll have no problem identifying tourists – they all look cold and miserable and are wearing this sweatshirt that they bought for seventy-five dollars at Pier 39 before going on their Alcatraz tour:
Be a sweaty person (aka schadenfreude #2*): Some people are naturally overheated and sweaty (*cough* me). These people LOVE San Francisco summers – it is the perfect temperature to walk around town for hours and even run for the bus without breaking a sweat. Constantly chilly people are the losers, here, and are the ones wearing parkas in August. Hahahaha, you’re cold but I’m FOOTLOOSE AND PERSPIRATION-FREE! This schadenfreude also applies to all your friends on Facebook in the rest of the country complaining about how hot it is and how sweaty and gross they are.
Pretend you are in a murder mystery/London/it is Halloween: San Francisco in the fog looks SO cool and possibly haunted, so why not roll with it? Imagine you’re helping Sherlock Holmes catch Jack the Ripper or that a hot, sparkly, rich vampire who thrives in the fog is going to whisk you off your feet on your way to Whole Foods to stock up on organic kale.**
Layer up: Even the aforementioned Constantly Sweaty People get cold during SF summers, so make sure to invest in layers. You can still wear that cute sundress – just put heavy-duty winter tights on underneath and a giant cardigan on top. It’s resort wear meets Alaskan dog musher!
Eat food: I mean, you should be doing this daily anyways, but when it is foggy inside this is an extra-good excuse to blow your paycheck on dinner at Boulevard.
Drink alcohol: Self-explanatory.
Pretend it is real summer anyways, screw it: Jealous of friends/family in warmer climes? Fuck it, get ice cream for lunch and lie out in the park even though it’s only sixty degrees and laugh in the face of nature as your toes turn blue.
Get out (leave), right now***: At some point, no matter how sweaty you are or how much you enjoy foggy vistas, you are going to get fed up with San Francisco’s summer being a complete joke, so you’re going to have to leave. Luckily, you only have to drive ~30 minutes on any highway to be warm. Of course, this means you will have to leave San Francisco city limits (GAH!!), but it’s worth it.
You’re welcome. Good luck out there.
*I fully recognize I am a terrible person for enjoying the misery of others. #sorrynotsorry
**I apologize for the Twilight reference. I don’t know what I was thinking. He’s really not hot, anyways. Just insert whatever vampire you think is hot here. Probably a True Blood one (Skarsgard).
***On the other hand, I 100% stand by this JoJo reference, no shame.