A Wave of Titles

We’ve been thinking hard these past few weeks about whether Trout Frying in America is the strongest title for our book. Choosing a title is an immeasurably important process—it’s arguably the single most important marketing device for the book, bar none. When someone walks into a bookstore not knowing exactly what they want but looking for something to buy, first impressions are paramount, and the title and the cover create that first impression. But a title’s role is not just to grab the attention of a potential reader, it’s to grab the attention of the right reader, one who might actually be interested in the book, and to signal to that person what they might find between the covers. That’s why books in the same genre often share similar conventions in titling and cover design—it allows audiences of that genre to pick the book out of a lineup based on what they’ve experienced before. That’s all well and good, but what if the book needs to speak to members of two separate audiences, which may not have much overlap? Then it gets trickier. Trout Frying in America has two distinct potential audiences. As a memoir, it has an audience in people who like reading memoirs generally, particularly about women’s issues, LGBT, road trips, and coming of age. As a book about one reader’s relationship with Richard Brautigan, it has an audience in other Richard Brautigan fans (as the man had, and still has, a bit of a cult following). In addition to attracting each of these (somewhat disparate) audiences without alienating the other one, the title also needs to accurately reflect the tone and the soul of the work, we need to like it, and Allison needs to like it. It’s a tall order. At this point we have a massive brainstorm going, but no real decisions made yet. So, stay tuned!

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