Great title, eh? I listened to Mary Higgins Clark speak one day and she said a title must invite the reader into the book. It seems so obvious now, but when I was a newbie writer, I didn’t know this, nor did I focus on it.
As my wife and psychologist will tell you, I have focus issues among some of my brain problems.
No one else told me about the importance of title either. Or, let’s be honest, perhaps they did and I was too obstinate to listen. Which has happened once or twice.
The second book I wrote, which was actually my first book published, was about Special Forces going into Colombia to interdict drug traffickers. Sound familiar? Remember I said that no idea is unique?
I wrote this book because I understood from the inside how such an operation might go down and also the inherent risks. One of the first things we did in Special Forces after we got a mission packet in Isolation, after all the briefers had left, was ask ourselves: What if this is a lie? What if the real mission is something else and we’re being used as a diversion? As a maneuvering piece in a larger geo-political game?
I was already into my third book when my agent finally got me my first book contract, which was, no surprisingly, a three book deal. It was with Presidio Press, a nonfiction military publisher which was now testing the fiction waters given the Naval Institute Press’ massive success with Tom Clancy’s first book, Hunt for Red October (another good title).
The first book I wrote was Dragon-Sim 13 (another terrible title) ended up being the second published. Think about that title: what does it mean? In fact, when it sold in paperback the editor said people would think it was a fantasy novel so let’s add Operation Dragon Sim-13.
Back to my first published book, which was very similar to Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger. Did I come up with a title to invited readers into the book? Sure. It’s Eyes of the Hammer.
I mean, WTF does that mean? Well, the Special Forces were the recon team (Eyes) for the airborne platforms with the firepower (the Hammer). You knew that right? Right?
Arggh. I can’t complain too much as the book has sold a lot over the years, but still.
So. Title is really, really, really important!
BTW, that book, Eyes of the Hammer, is free on every eBook platform as the lead in to my Green Beret series which has sold over a million copies over the years and continues forward. Nothing but good times and better titles ahead!
Originally published at bobmayer.com on January 31, 2019.