Chelsey Emmelhainz


Senior editor at @crookedlanebks acquiring adult suspense. Intersectional feminist. CO native. Brunch enthusiast. Opinions: my own. Header art: @LoraZombie

New York City, NY

Crooked Lane Books

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · Jan 9

Emily Rodmell @EmilyRodmell

Sometimes one of the biggest barriers to entry in the publishing world is finishing the book. Opportunities for online pitches and potential requests abound these days, but they're only helpful if you eventually finish and submit a book.

This is so accurate and applies to conferences, as well. I can't tell you how often agents and editors request pages that never come.

I remember this AMAZING pitch I received about a cult of witches at @thrillerwriters last year. I requested, but it never came in. 😭 #pubtip

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

In summary, coming up with titles sucks, but your editor and agent and entire publishing team are in there with you. Hang in there! The right title is just a keystroke away.

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

Listen to outside suggestions and crowd-source titles that have promise. If you find something you like, be sure to Google it first--if another book in the same/similar genre has used it in the last year (or will in the next), let it go. The less competition, the better!

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

Some tips for strong titles: Check out other successful books in the genre & identify why the titles work/don't work. Consider idioms, *public domain* songs/poems, catchy phrases in your own project. Keep a running list of engaging verbs and strong nouns (mix 'n match).

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

Sometimes, you'll miraculously stumble upon the perfect title for a project on the first try.

More often than not, you and your team will swap bad titles like colds during flu season, each one spawning new and different takes on the same "nah".

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

"But what about what's IN the book?" you exclaim. "Isn't THAT what matters?"

Yes. We absolutely want the title to match the story & not mislead readers. But we also want your title to compel readers to want to know more. The perfect title is a balance btwn theme & marketability.

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

Thus, the title is ultimately a marketing tool that, along with strong packaging (jacket design and descriptive copy), ideally makes consumers more likely to pick up (or click on) your book. Good titles = good marketing = better sales.

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

When your book is signed with a publisher, you may have all sorts of people chiming in on whether or not a title is "good." It may seem like a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but it's important to remember that publisher's aim is to *sell* books.

Chelsey Emmelhainz @CKEmmelhainz · 11 Dec 2018

A good title is about more than just finding the perfect thematic phrase that sums up what's between the covers. A good title is one that is unique, commercial, easy to search (weird spelling is a no-go), and fits the genre you're aiming for.