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Controversy over a title

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Controversy over a title

Postby DanielAWillis » Mon March 26th, 2012, 7:26 pm

I am currently writing a genealogy about my mother's family whose name was Drane (pronounced like Drain).

The title I have using for years (it has been a long time getting this project done) has been Unclogging the Dranes. To me the title is fitting because the origin of Drane (living near a drain) and because the colonial period of the family has confounded researchers for the better part of 100 years now.

One of the descendants, who happens to maintain the leading website on the family, takes offense at the title and has used his extensive email list to urge others to take offense also.

My quandry: how much credence show I give this issue. As an author, I am loath to let anyone dictate what to call my own book, but as a family member I do not want to offend unnecessarily.

Suggestions?
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Divia
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Postby Divia » Mon March 26th, 2012, 8:21 pm

Is this just the working title or do you have an agent and a publisher lined up.

If you dont have an agent or publisher I wouldn't worry about it anyway. Things change so frequently. They may hate or love yoru title. If they love it they may keep it. If they hate it that scarp it.

Either way some family member dictating to you about a title really means nothing. THey don't have the power to get the book turned down if they dont like the title.

I'd lie and tell them I wasn't working on it and if it got published with that title just say thats what the pubilsher wanted. ;)
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Postby boswellbaxter » Mon March 26th, 2012, 8:22 pm

I think it's a clever title, but if your main market is going to be family members, you might want to err on the side of caution and find another title. Maybe you could find a more generic title and use the pun in a subtitle? (Something like "The Drane Family in America: A Genealogical Problem Unclogged"?)
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Postby DanielAWillis » Mon March 26th, 2012, 8:23 pm

"Divia" wrote:Is this just the working title or do you have an agent and a publisher lined up.

If you dont have an agent or publisher I wouldn't worry about it anyway. Things change so frequently. They may hate or love yoru title. If they love it they may keep it. If they hate it that scarp it.

Either way some family member dictating to you about a title really means nothing. THey don't have the power to get the book turned down if they dont like the title.

I'd lie and tell them I wasn't working on it and if it got published with that title just say thats what the pubilsher wanted. ;)


I should have pointed out that this is a self-published book (as are most genealogies.)
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Postby LoveHistory » Mon March 26th, 2012, 8:41 pm

Given that you're looking at genealogy, it is fair to consider what the rest of the family thinks. That said, the title is ultimately your decision.

Are you planning to release your book commercially, or is it a project that you will distribute at no charge? That might make a difference.

If you are in contact with a lot of others in the family you could offer to let people vote on the title, giving three to five options and go with the one that gets the most support. That takes it away from the realm of letting one person (who seems to me to lack a sense of humor) dictate anything.

I could think of plenty of other pun-tastic titles that would probably be even more offensive. Circling the Dranes. Down the Drane. Pipe Dreams: a history of the Drane family.

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Postby DanielAWillis » Mon March 26th, 2012, 9:09 pm

"LoveHistory" wrote:I could think of plenty of other pun-tastic titles that would probably be even more offensive. Circling the Dranes. Down the Drane. Pipe Dreams: a history of the Drane family.


The use of the drain pun is what everyone has their knickers in bunch over.

The humerous part about this is that this controversy is just over the title. Chapter one is going to give some of them heart failure. It proves that the collective myth of our family's origin in America was totally fabricated in the late 1800s.
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Postby annis » Mon March 26th, 2012, 11:10 pm

Posted by DanielAWillis
The humerous part about this is that this controversy is just over the title. Chapter one is going to give some of them heart failure. It proves that the collective myth of our family's origin in America was totally fabricated in the late 1800s


Sounds as if the Pipe Dreams: a History of the Drane Family option would be a perfect choice in that case, lol!

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Postby Divia » Tue March 27th, 2012, 12:12 am

"DanielAWillis" wrote:I should have pointed out that this is a self-published book (as are most genealogies.)


well then if your audience is the very people you are making angry then concessions need to be made, I fear.
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Postby bevgray » Tue March 27th, 2012, 11:30 am

The other thing to consider is the style of the genealogy. If it is going to be humorous, then you might consider a more placid main title with your working title as a sub-title.

If the piece is more serious in nature, you don't want a title that is too "precious" or clever.

I agree that if the family is your target audience and most seem upset about it, you may want to reconsider. If it's just a vocal minority and you think the rest of the book will upset or annoy them, you may be sunk with that bunch anyway.

Have you contacted other family members with whom you are close to sound them out about it? Might give you a better sense of whether this really is a tempest in the clan or just a tweaking of a handful.
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Postby Madeleine » Tue March 27th, 2012, 1:09 pm

It sounds a bit of a tricky issue, but personally I'd either put it to a family vote, and then, according to how that turns out, perhaps have a more serious title and use one of the other puns (Pipe Dreams is a good one) as a sub-title. Although as Bev says, if your work is going to be serious then perhaps a more subtle title might be a better idea.

Hope you get things resolved, and good luck.
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