THE INSIDE STORY
Have you ever wondered how authors choose their titles? The process isn’t always what you’d expect. Running Blind versus The Visitor wasn’t the first tug-of-war over Jack Reacher titles.
Originally, the previous Jack Reacher novel Tripwire was intended to be called The Hook but Lee’s U.S. publisher rejected that title because it reminded them of Peter Pan. Interestingly enough, his U.K. publisher—the home of Peter Pan—had no problem with it, but they acquiesced when Putnam came up with their own title, Tripwire. Little did anyone suspect that following closely on the heels of Tripwire’s release, in a flurry of marketing and ad campaigns, there’d be two novels with that same title: Donald E. Westlake’s The Hook and C.J. Songer’s Hook. Excellent company, indeed.
You don’t need to be psychic to pick great titles; creativity is key but above all, you’ve got to have good instincts. We like to think of Lee as being way ahead of the pack, in advance of the learning curve, finger on the pulse, eye on the… oh, you get my drift. So anyway, he writes the next Jack Reacher novel and calls it The Visitor.
Was Putnam ready to take a chance on their author’s canny ability to choose catchy titles or did they recoil in horror claiming everybody would think The Visitor was a science fiction novel? Hmm. This time, Transworld in the U.K. stuck with Lee and published The Visitor while Putnam chose their own title, Running Blind.
So what do you think? Which title would you have chosen?