Judging a Book by its Title

Back in January, I debated changing the title of a recent story I’d written.

I consulted my followers and the feedback was generally mixed, with many readers saying they loved the current title. With that in mind, I metaphorically shelved the plans.  

As we venture into May, I’ve revisited the idea and decided to push ahead with the change. Titles have always been one of the more difficult elements of a story for me. I like them to be meaningful and relevant to the plot in more than one way. That was somewhat achieved through the current title of Office Affairs: combining office politics with an element of romance. Two members of staff work together to uncover the hidden agendas of higher management and win the respect of the company’s owner.

What concerned me about the title Office Affairs, though, is the potential of it being misleading. I, as the author, know it predominantly focuses on affairs in the business sense, but readers may assume it’s more centred around sexual encounters in the workplace, giving the impression of it being erotica. This would become clearer through reading the story, but I want to avoid having a plot that could disappoint readers who are expecting something else.

It’s not just readers who may jump to the wrong conclusion, either. Over time, I’ve started to become more open about my writing. Friends and family are now aware that I write fiction, and although they haven’t yet asked to read any of it, I know I’d be tempted to repeatedly explain the reasoning behind the title Office Affairs if they ever did. Similarly, as my involvement with the Wattpad Stars program grows, I need to make sure my profile remains professional and honest—and a misleading title is neither of these.

I’m not expecting it to be a flawless transition; Office Affairs currently has over a million reads and is growing by the day, so I’m anticipating a few readers becoming confused as to why a “new” story has suddenly appeared in their library. The current title will therefore remain in brackets for the time being until readers become accustomed to the new one, and there will then be a disclaimer in the summary/introduction so that any past readers know it’s the same story.

Thank you to everyone who’s already read the story and I hope you’ll grow to love the new title—Behind Glass Doors.

 

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2 comments

  1. I personally don’t mind if you change the title. I get what you’re trying to say and yes Office Affairs does give the impression of Erotica and I hate to say this but that’s what I thought of first when I read the title.

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