In this recurring feature, we’re sharing tips for editors from the desk of Douglas Gibson. Good for those starting out or old hands who need a reminder, these guidelines form an engaging guide for sharp-eyed wordsmiths.
One of the many hats that a book editor should wear is that of Title-spotter. Sometimes a manuscript with a bland, khaki title will reveal a blazing, technicolour title in its pages, one that will bring the book major attention. One example. Harry J. Boyle wrote a novel named “I Am Shane Donovan” about a successful Toronto advertising man who wanted to quit his job in order to write “The Great Canadian Novel.” Guess what we called the book.
Right on, Douglas! Before I comment on today’s tip, let me say I enjoyed “Tip # 20”, very much, as I do all of your tips. I am quite busy right now finishing up the second rough draft of my book with my editor who is the head of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Windsor. The name of my book is in there somewhere! For years, working on my manuscript, I used the name, “Teddy Bears and I.V. Therapy”. Now, I have added two more, maybe three, titles. Yesterday, I was at the hospital here in Windsor and ran, almost literally, into another mother of a CF child. We sat talking about my manuscript and I mentioned the two other possible names. So today, your tip is about what the book shall be called. I think I am getting the message. Thank you. Leslie