19 July, 2016

#GuestPost :: What’s In a Name? Why a good book title matters by Aarti V. Raman

About the Author:
Aarti V Raman is a romance writer from Mumbai, whose third romance “With You I Dance” (Fingerprint! Publishing) debuted in the Amazon India Bestseller (Romance) category when it released in April 2016. Her other two books are romantic thrillers called “White Knight” (Leadstart Publishing, 2013) and “Kingdom Come” (Harlequin MIRA, 2014). 
She also dabbles in content marketing, conducts creative writing workshops and holds a journalism degree that she puts to good use in her other career. She has appeared as a speaker at literature fests in India and is represented by RED INK Literary Agency. 
Happy ever after are her three favorite words, even when she is attempting to write Young Adult Urban Fantasy. 

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What’s In a Name? Why a good book title matters

One of my favorite authors of all time is a fantastic writer of romantic comedies, Jennifer Crusie. You can pick up any of her books for a good chuckle, some romping sex and unforgettable characters. And by characters, I don’t mean just the leads. If you don’t believe me, read Maybe This Time and meet a golden girl called Alice.
I was introduced to Crusie’s writing with THE romantic comedy of my time: Welcome to Temptation. It had everything a connoisseur of romances would want: A frumpy, bedraggled slightly bent heroine (I mean her thinking and not her spine) and a starched, perma-pressed Golden Boy type hero, who was…haha, the mayor of the small town of Temptation. Sparks obviously fly when the twain meet and what happens next makes for a most interesting story.
Now that I have talked Miz Crusie up let me get to my belabored point.
Welcome to Temptation was initially called Hot, Fleshy Thighs when it was agented for publishing. True story, y’all.
And I thought to myself as I was reading the dedication: would I read a book called Hot, Fleshy Thighs even if it had the blurb starring the bodacious Phin Tucker at the back? The brutal truth – no.
And it got me to thinking about the amount of time I spend naming my precious babies, my books. It was surprising, but I spend as much time thinking up really cool names for my stories as much as I do writing them. In fact, in the case of my most recent novel I have been titling it for EVER and it’s still not the most perfect name ever.
I am sure most of my writer friends would agree that the name of your book is almost as important as what goes inside it. Don’t y’all?
So how does naming, or ‘titling’, as the process is called, work?
The ancient Romany gypsies had a tradition when it came to naming their children. A public name, which is the name the whole world would know the kid by. A family name or nickname, that the friends and family of the kid would call it. And finally, a secret name which was whispered in the child’s ear as soon as it was born: the name of its soul.
I suppose, when it comes to naming our books, the process is quite the same.
We have a working title, or family name that we share with our friends (read critique partners/brainstorming buds/agents) which is the most common name of the book from draft to publishing contract. This is the most important title as it allows our imagination to take wing and fly. Allows our story to come to life.
Then we have a public name, or the title that finally appears on bookshelves and online stores and on GoodReads where it is proudly displayed against your author name. This name is dreamed up between you, the author, the editor and the marketing team of your publisher (if you possess one) – and it takes into account target demographics, reader-friendliness and a few other things that if I share with you will take the romance out of the process.
And a good writer never reveals all her secrets, does she?
But then…then we have the secret name we give to each of our books. My latest book’s secret name is LET’S FINISH ALREADY PLEASE OH MY GOD!
I have always had a peculiar fixation with names. They mean something to me. Be it the naming of a character, my hero/heroine or the book itself. Names matter.
When it came to With You I Dance this process was particularly easy, as some books and births are. In its working title form, WYID was called “The Last Time.” The publishing contract too was signed for TLT with Fingerprint! Publishing. In my head I called it, My Attempt At Writing Indian Romance…and can I please just say thank you to my lovely, lovely reader friends for taking Meera and Abeer into your hearts the way y’all have and given me some much-needed confidence that I can indeed write Indian Romance.
But when it came to titling the book during publishing we had some howlarious moments with titles like “I’ll Be Your Dancing Queen”, “Dance With Me” and “Ballerina Blues” and my personal unfavorite – Let Me Dance With You. All of these made it to the firm veto list. I can’t exactly remember whether it was me, my editor or both of us together who came up with With You I Dance...what I do remember is the sense of absolute rightness, of perfection as I thought of WYID appearing in bookshelves and online stories and GoodReads before my name.
It made sense.
I guess, Shakespeare had it wrong after all. There is plenty to be said for a name. And it’s better to have a unique, atypical name that will be forever associated with your book and your name than a terrible one like Hot, Fleshy Thighs. Or, worse still, LET’S FINISH ALREADY PLEASE OH MY GOD!
I hope y’all agree with me. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Till next time,
Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal  

(Author Note: I’d like to thank the lovely and ever-encouraging Debdutta Dasgupta Sahay for allowing me this opportunity to ramble on on one of my favorite topics: Books and the writing of them.)

About the Book:
Meera Sagar had everything—the perfect job as a principal ballerina (for a prestigious New York ballet company) and a man who loved her as much as she loved him. But tragedy struck on the night before her biggest performance, forcing her to do the one thing she never wanted to do—come back home. To Mumbai.

Now, a year later, Meera is still trying to pick up the pieces, while
fending off marriage proposals from her well-meaning but
traditional Gujarati family, and figure life out all over again. By
starting a ballet school in Mumbai. But she has two problems. One, she doesn’t know anything about running a business. And two, she can’t dance. Not anymore.

Enter . . .
Abeer Goswami. Hotshot junior partner at a South Bombay law
firm and a man nursing a broken heart. When he meets Meera
again, the woman who left him, he tries his hardest to be her friend, to help her . . . and not let the past get in the way.

And then . . .

There is the sexy Zoya Sehgal. Meera’s only friend in the city and the woman Abeer is currently seeing. They say triangles have pointy edges, for a reason. Will Meera find a new dream in her ballet school? Can Abeer and Meera find their way back to each other again? And, most important, has Meera danced for the last time?

With you I dance is a warm, funny, at times heart-rending, love story of second chances, true love, and finding yourself when your dearest dream has vanished. 

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