Somewhere in an alternate universe this Thursday, this book is coming out:
Here’s how it all began . . . The first title for Peeps was Carrier. This fit better with the original concept for the book, which focused on a character who, like Typhoid Mary, carried the disease of vampirism without actually having the “symptoms.” As that concept morphed into something else, I realized that “Carrier” wasn’t such a great title after all.
The second title was The V-Word, which had a vaguely chick-lit feel to it. Then the title above, Single White Parasite. My editor took me quietly aside to suggest a re-think.
In my last post, I mentioned how cover limbo is like band-name limbo. If you’ve ever been in a band, you’ll remember that moment when you’ve been trying to pick a name forever, so everyone sits around saying stuff like, “Why don’t we call ourselves The Chairs. Wouldn’t it be cool? ‘Cause we’re all sitting on chairs right now!”
Well, novel-title limbo is even worse. Writers must realize that if those few words in their title suck, there’s some sizeable number of people who won’t bother to read the other 70,000. And that means you starve and die.
Here are a few examples of my other books that went into title limbo:
Evolution’s Darling was called Economies of Measure forever. Although I still think that’s a classy title, my publisher took me aside and said, “Sounds like a textbook.” There were hundreds of intermediate stops before I came up with “Evolution’s Darling.” In the end, I actually added a paragraph in which the term “Evolution’s Darling” came up, just so I could use it as the title.
Risen Empire was originally called Succession, but Tor didn’t like that because they’d just had another book with a similiar title. But I got to keep “Succession” as the series title.
But back to the book that comes out this Thursday. Finally I realized that my word for vampires, “parasite positives,” was a perfect title. And Peeps was born. And I’m very happy with it.
Of course, in the alternate-alternate universe, I wound up with this title and cover combination: