TAKE A BOW: The Title Bout

Greetings from Dallas! Started my first events for Take a Bow today and have been having an absolute blast!

I first want to thank you all for the amazing responses to Take a Bow! I've gone from dancing around to being in tears of joy. It means so much to me that people have reacted so well to my book.

As those of you who followed me on Twitter or Facebook last year may remember, Take a Bow was referred to as "Untilted Book #3" for months. This was because it didn't have a confirmed title for the majority of the time I was writing it. This was unusual for me as I've always had the title first. In fact, Take a Bow was originally entitled All About Sophie when I first conceived of the story. But that was back when it was only being told in Emme's point of view, then I realized that not only did the readers need to hear from Sophie, but that Carter and Ethan had their own stories to tell. Suddenly, All About Sophie no longer fit.

So began the long journey to naming the book. My editor (the fabulous David Levithan) suggested Audition, which inspired the first line in the book from Carter: "My life has been one big audition." But then we realized another book called Audition was coming out the season before mine.

Since the Senior Showcase is a big moment in the book, I came up with Showcase Showdown (I was a huge Price is Right fan back in the Bob Barker days--I even went to a taping and met him. Yep, I'm cool like that.). There were some concerns over copyright, so I was back to the drawing board. I have a huge list of potential titles in my Take a Bow notebook, including Setting the Stage, Hitting the Mark, Taking Centerstage, Stealing the Spotlight, The Fame Game, etc. But none of these really worked. I then came up with Chasing Fame, which I really liked (and is used as one of the tag lines in the book), but we were worried about it drawing too many comparisons to the recent Fame remake (which I did not see and didn't do too well at the box office). 

This is when I started to worry. I began asking friends for suggestions. My friend Carolyn came up with Performance Anxiety, which is hilarious and pretty accurate to a lot of the book. But it also has another meaning, ahem. I did decide to mention this title to David (as a joke) and he just walked away from me. My friend TS (who is an editor) came up with a list for me and my favorite suggestion of his was Staged

But there wasn't a title that we could all agree on. So I decided to let it go, finish the book, and worry about the title later. It was really weird to be working on a book and having the file be called "TITLE TK." So I started to referring to it as "Untitled Book #3." 

Then I met David to go over the edit for the book. When we were done, he mentioned the small matter of getting a title for the book. He made two suggestions: Teenage Kicks (named after the band in the book, although we both agreed it was too obscure of a reference) and Time of Your Life (after the Green Day song, which I love, but I kept thinking of the Dirty Dancing song, and oddly enough, the Jennifer Love Hewitt short-lived Party of Five spin-off. And David's reaction was probably a lot like yours, "THE WHAT?").

David suggested that I go home and go through my iTunes and see if anything called out to me. "Take a Bow" came up three times in my iTunes, first as the Glee Rihanna cover, then Madonna, and finally Muse. I was taking this as a sign. But I also had Teenage Dream, All I Ever Wanted, Dream On, For Your Entertainment, but the overwhelming favorite in a poll of friends was Take a Bow. I sent it to David, he liked it, sales liked it and after MONTHS I finally had a title.

Phew! Bet you didn't realize how much agonizing there can be over a simple title!

Take a Bow perfectly captures the book, as does the cover. I'm so thankful we were able to come up with one because "Untitled Book #3" would've looked really silly on a book jacket.

XOXO, Elizabeth