September 30th, 2008


So, my Monkey Man sequel is coming out in the spring and I’m still referring to it as “my Monkey Man sequel.” That’s because we still don’t have a definite title. I proposed two: T.J.’s Story and I’m Not Who You Think I Am (which coincidentally was the title I put on my first published short story…but the magazine changed it to "Outside Looking In" before the story was published). I will admit that neither title is great. My editor said we would “have a conversation" about the title "later.” We finally had that conversation today.

She is proposing a brand new title: Yes, I Know the Monkey Man.

I sort of hate it.

She said T.J.’s Story is too generic (who’s T.J.?), which is probably true. And I’m Not Who You Think I Am is too “angsty.” Yeah, it probably is. (One day I AM going to write a story or a book with the title I’m Not Who You Think I Am and it’s going to stick!!! (Unless that's the title of one of Peg Kehret's books...which I think it might be. In which case, I can probably forget about using it myself))

Like I said, I am certainly not married to either of those other titles, but Yes, I Know the Monkey Man??? I told Editor that I’ve heard from entirely too many kids who said something like, “Do You Know the Monkey Man is a really weird title, so I wasn’t going to read the book, but then So-and-so said I had to read it so I did and I liked it.” People didn’t like the first title…why would I want to use it again? Plus it’s just entirely TOO close to the first title.

Editor disagrees. She thinks the new titles makes it immediately recognizable as a companion novel (and the cover will look very similar to the first cover of Do You Know the Monkey Man…different color scheme, but still the same collage thing). She says it “answers the question asked in the title of the first book.” And it works on a deeper level, too, because Sam is the one asking, Do You Know the Monkey Man? in book one and now T.J. is answering “Yes, I Know the Monkey Man.” Which, I have to admit, sort of gave me chills when she said it. I like her explanation. But a title shouldn’t have to be explained.

Editor also reminded me that not everyone disliked the first title; some people actually liked it. It's mysterious sounding...and that will actually work in my favor the second time around. I don't know. Maybe.

I’ll think about it…and see if I can get used to it. I’m also welcome to propose something better…

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