Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Considering Titles...Thoughts from Shirley Hickman

I’ve read several articles about how to create a title for a novel, but none of them prepared me for what I’ve experienced.
My first nonfiction book was titled “Don’t Be Give Up.” This is what my Grandma told me in broken English when I’d complain that a task was too hard. Unfortunately when a reader tried to get the book on, they corrected the grammar and sent the reader to books titled Don’t Give Up. I called and a representative fixed it for only a short time, but the only way a reader can find the book now is to type in my full name.
I had better luck with my latest book, Fall in Love with an Orange Tree or a Book. The title intrigues readers and they ask questions and gives me an opportunity to talk about the book. When one of my former students came to the United States from Mexico, her mother told her, “I brought you to the best country in the world. Make a choice. Fall in love with an orange tree or a book.” In other words, spend your life working in the fields or get an education. My former student chose to get an education and is now the Director of Migrant Education for our school district.

After my experience with “Don’t Be Give Up,” I’ll avoid ungrammatical titles, but I really want to write a book about my experiences teaching English and title it: Thank you for Learning me my English. This is what a student wrote in my yearbook the first year I taught. The title certainly gets the readers’ attention, but will they be able to find the book?

Post by Shirley Hickman, Author of 
Fall in Love with an Orange Tree Or a Book 


Anonymous said...

Great post--thanks for sharing. Your English book sounds interesting.

John M. Wills

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

This is the best cover--and since I heard the book page by page in our critique group, you already know that I love it.