I always thought that the title to a memoir is very important. After all, I want people to pick up the book, find the cover enticing and read the blurb or description with interest. Being an avid reader myself who has always enjoyed autobiographies, memoirs, and historical novels, I have read more than my share.
But as I have been writing, I have been reluctant to settle on a name or discuss it with those who have asked. So, I decided to do a little research and this is what I have learned. The good ones have a catchy title like “The Liars’ Club” by Mary Carr, “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt, or “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Others say it must have a colon. Either way, the title is the first writing to attract the prospective reader and encourage her/him to investigate further.
Many authors and readers see the title as a promise by the author to deliver a certain story and provide a sort of outline for the story. I, myself, often stop to contemplate the title if I feel a certain tension in the memoir or if I become really curious about the possible ending. Reading the end before you have finished the journey is not my thing though I know many who do it.
After so much time investment in my memoir, I decided it was time to come up with a working title – “Choices: War, Survival, Love.” The book is about the choices the three matriarchs in the family made as they tried to triumph through war and displacement. But, in some ways, it is also my love story.
Let me know what you think. Does it serve the purpose of peeking your interest?
Neither you nor I should get invested in the title, because if I am lucky enough to get it published, the common wisdom is that a publisher will likely chuck it anyway.