Let’s Talk Book Titles.

A few months ago, I took an informal survey of fellow children’s book authors asking them if their original titles were the ones used on the published book. I was surprised that most were able to keep their titles at publication. Those that ended up with different titles decided they were better choices for the book. Only one hated the final title chosen for their book.

In my case, BOTH my middle grade historicals ended up with different titles than I’d started with. When I submitted the manuscript for WHEELS OF CHANGE, it had the title THE CARRIAGE MAKER’S DAUGHTER, which is what the story is about. But, the editor thought we would be in danger of excluding boys from reading this book with that title. Boys and girls love the book, so the editor was spot on for that choice.


My soon-to-be-published second historical had the working title of FISH, WISH AND OTHER FOUR LETTER WORDS.  This was the title I woke up from a dream with and it helped guide me through the poems that make up this novel-in-verse. Many of the entries were indeed four letter words.  But, we all know that kids would see that title and come up with all the WRONG four-letter words!  So, it was no surprise that the title was changed, and is now WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY.  (Cover reveal to come soon…)

For those of us who lament and wonder why our editors seem to want to change titles, take heart.  Be thankful that someone is looking out for you and wants your book to be well received. That isn’t always the case as you can see in these awful titles of actual children’s books:

book cover




Here is a link to the Worst Book Titles Ever.   


 WHAT’S THE WORST TITLE YOU’VE EVER SEEN? Share it here and enter to win a signed copy of WHEELS OF CHANGE.

I’ll let you decide which one is the worst. Makes me grateful that the changes editors have made for most of the children’s books out in the world are for the better.


3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Book Titles.

  1. I loved your original title for your first MG but agree the title change was a great idea and I think I’m going to agree with the second change of title, too. LOL I’m actually considering a title change for my corgi story.

  2. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe some of the titles of books in the link you provided. Are these really published books? I really can’t pick out the worst one – they are all pretty terrible. I need to see if any of these are on Amazon and use the “look inside” feature to see if the stories are as bad as the titles. How about Charlie Chokes his Chicken as a possible worst title? He looks like such a sweet boy. I can only imagine what the story is about – living in the country and having chickens when I was young, I can only think that he was the one who killed the chicken that was to be ate for Sunday dinner. :o)

    • I agree about it being hard to believe these are real books. Sort of like Jimmy Fallon’s “do not read” list. Let me know if you’re able to read the inside of one of these books. Thanks for commenting Janet.

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