Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Book by the Same Name

Google Alerts let me know that another writer has recently published a book entitled The Gift Horse. When I chose the title, I looked at Amazon and a few online used bookstores to see if the title was in print, and I noted that an autobiography by Hildegard Knef was the only use of the title in works intended for an adult audience, and even that had a subtitle, "A Report on a Life." The book had been in print for more than thirty years and was not fiction, so I decided to keep using it. Since its publication, I have had a few folks ask me if I chose the title because it had been used before, and that wasn't a reason to use it, but a reason to consider changing it. After some consideration, I realized that I really did not want to dump a good idea for a title, yet I certainly did not want to confuse readers, either. As I was pulling the manuscript together for publication, my cover artist suggested that I not picture a carousel horse, because that might make readers think the book was about a horse, or that it was intended for a young audience. The artist suggested the dark green cover, and I do like it, but I don't know if it helps people figure out that I am referring to the old saying, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

A couple of years ago, I created a YouTube video, A Brief History of Science Fiction, and that time I did play off Steven Hawking's famous title, A Brief History of Time. This video has served me well, garnering more than 1500 hits. Recently, someone posted a video with the same exact title, and I watched it a couple of times before deciding that mine really is better.

Back to that Google Alert. I had to surf a bit to see that a romance author, Jami Davenport, has used "my" title, The Gift Horse, for adult fiction— a romance. I wish her well with it. I might even read it sometime! When I began writing Angela Donalson's story, I had in mind to write a romance. Alas, it just wasn't in me. While I love and respect my hubby, I know that there are many pitfalls in life, and I threw a whole bunch of them at Angie, plus a few that I hope no one ever face, just to see what would happen. My version of The Gift Horse has plenty of suspense and conflict, but it certainly isn't a romance.

“Imitation is the sincerest flattery” according to Charles Caleb Colton, and rather than be miffed, I've decided to be glad that others thought my titles worthy enough to use them.

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At Aug 17, 2009, 1:02:00 AM, Blogger Jami Davenport said...


Thanks for the mention of my book, The Gift Horse. I think this is really a case of great minds think alike, as I wrote this book about four-five years ago and came up with the title at that time.

I wish you the best of luck on your book with the same title.



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