Why must all original ideas be sacrificed on the altars of commercialism?  My one published book, a biography of silent star Pola Negri had the original title of “Pola Negri:  A Creature of Flame and Desire.”   Man, I thought that was the greatest title since French bread.  My publisher, however, disagreed and their great idea was to call it, “Pola Negri: Temptress of Silent Hollywood.”  I disagreed, telling them that the theme of the book was that she wasn’t just the temptress that her Hollywood publicity made her out to be….she was more than that.  The response was that my title lacked commercial appeal–no one knew what it meant.  I had to concede that, but I thought the substitute title was weak and, well, predictable.  My publisher said they’d come up with something better, but they never did and it got to the point of their title or no book.  What could I do?  I wanted the book published so I capitulated.  It’s a very good book, but that title…

So, in writing this new novel, I have two titles:  “The Bureau of Lost Films” or “This One Will Kill you.”  I like the former because the book is intended as the first entry in a series, but I’m willing to agree to the latter as “more commercial” and easier to sell.  If that makes me a whore, so be it.  If I want to make a bit of a living writing books, I need to roll with the flow…although I hate it at the same time.

 

 

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