25 Sep Titles
When Dinty W. Moore selected my book as the Autumn House winner, he only had one suggestion: change the title. I’d sent the manuscript in as, A Sliver of Shade: Six Years in an African Village. Dinty suggested, So Many Africas: Six Years in a Zambian Village.
So, my first decision regarding the publication was the title itself.
Usually I’m very decisive about my writing. So, I don’t know what happened here, but I came to a complete standstill and couldn’t make up my mind. It felt too big. I sent an email out to some writer friends and took their suggestions. The answers came back split 50/50.
A Sliver of Shade: “This title is both evocative of hardship and relief.”
“This title is too soft. I don’t like it.”
So Many Africas: “This title reminds me of Out of Africa and I am immediately intrigued.”
I emailed Autumn House Press, feeling attached to ‘my’ title. “Let’s go with A Sliver of Shade.”
Okay. I was being silly and over thinking it all. I Googled the title. There were ten books with the title A Sliver of… A Sliver of Hope…of Redemption…of Truth…of Shadow…of Light.Wow. There were no books even close to So Many Africas.
I email Autumn House again, feeling stupid.
“So, can I change my mind and go back to Dinty’s choice of a title? Promise I won’t even think about it again after this email.”
AHP graciously wrote back, Sure. No problem. So here it is.
So Many Africas: Six Years in a Zambian Village.
Like it or not, the decision is made. If you don’t like it, well, you can write a book and I give you free rein to my unused, old, thrown away (I still like it but sorry, just had to decide) title.
PHOTO: Picture taken by my dad, Luangingwa River, Kalabo Zambia, 1986