Writing process

Naming your book

One of the more obscure movies Alan Rickman was in was a movie called Blow Dry.  Not just Alan Rickman, either.  It had Josh Hartnett, Natasha Richardson, Bill Nighy, Rachel Griffiths, Warren Clark and others.

It was a nice little comedy about a hairdressing competition. Funny in parts, moving in others.  I still stop and watch it every time it comes up on the television.

I almost didn’t watch it at all because of the title.  I mean.  Blow Dry.  What sort of movie does a name like Blow Dry evoke?  Not one that I want to see.

Names are important.

Before we sold Linesman we’d heard so much about how writers had no control over the name the publisher chose for your book.  Linesman was the working title, and it stayed the title all the way through.  I don’t even remember anyone suggesting anything different.

The working title for Alliance was Kari Wang.  We couldn’t think if anything that suited it, and by now we knew we wanted one-word titles for all the Linesman series books.  I can’t recall now if we sent it away with that name, or if we changed it just before we sent it away to Linesman#2.  We were asked if we had any ideas for names. We suggested a few, but it was someone at the publishing house who suggested Alliance.

The working title for Confluence was also named for the secondary point-of-view character.  Again the publishing house asked for some suggested names. We supplied a list of six. One of those was Confluence.

Right now, we’re thinking about names for the next book we are working on.  I’m not even going to name the working title, because it (and I quote)

Sounds too much like a women’s fiction novel about hairdressers and manicurists set in the 1950s.

Maybe that’s what made me think of Blow Dry in the first place.

3 replies on “Naming your book”

OOH a new book, same genre or trying for something different? I once asked another Author (who suggested Linesman in her blog – so you can thank her for my reading of your fab books) how they start new series or pitch a new arch in an existing series and I would like to know your view if you’re willing to share.

Do you have to pitch or your agent to publishing houses or does your current publisher get first dibs on any new ideas? Is it like starting from the beginning all over again?

Thanks and happy writing


First up, a big thank you to the author who recommended the books to you. 🙂

We’re happy to talk about the next book—inasmuch as we can, because right now there is no next book, but read on.

When we signed the initial three-book contract with Penguin there was a clause in the contract that said we had to offer them the next science fiction book we wrote. That said, they don’t have to take it. We’d love them to, of course, because we like our current editor. But there are no guarantees.

So we’ve delivered the first three books, and we’re effectively out-of-contract. We’re writing our next book.

Meantime, we sent some story ideas to our agent. Some of which are already early drafts (a Linesman novel, but not an Ean Lambert story). Some of which we want to write (like this new book). Our agent is looking over what we have and giving us some advice. Which of our ideas she thinks she can sell, which she likes best, and so on. Nothing concrete yet, so we just don’t know. We’re leaving the selling of the next book to her.

It’s sort of like starting from scratch again, except you have a sales history behind you. Which can be good or bad, depending on how your sales go. And an agent, which is lovely to have. We’re certainly enjoying writing this next book without the pressure of deadlines.

We plan that our next book will be a science fiction, a space opera in the same light-hearted vein as the Linesman books. We write the books we like to read.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for sharing, I’m just nosy and fascinated by publishing even though I’m not a writer.

Definitely have enjoyed the linesman series, and I usually find I stick to authors. If I can read one series of theirs I can usually read another so looking forward to you hopefully getting more books published. Actually takes a lot for me to try a new author (need to see lots of recommendations! :o) )

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